Sunday, 1 March 2015

A Different Direction

This weekend we had actually planned to empty the waste tank but, with having a weekend away and Mr F being away a couple of nights with work, it wasn't full. So as we had been looking forward to getting out overnight somewhere, we decided to go in a different direction. If we head away from Wigan the canal quickly becomes beautiful, tree lined, picturesque. It is as nice a stretch of canal as you could find anywhere on the network in our opinion. There are only two locks and a swing bridge to navigate between Crooke and Parbold and it takes about three hours so that was where decided to go for an overnight stop, a different pub and a different view.

However, first off we needed to solve a mystery... what exactly was it that had been staring at me all week every time I opened the side hatch? I posted the photo below onto the Narrowboat Users Group page that I follow on Facebook and the suggestions ranged from a giant polo to a UFO to the plug that keeps the water in the cut!

I volunteered Mr F to retrieve the giant polo and it in fact turned out to be......


  A water cooler, no wonder the canal has been so cold haha

So, mystery solved we could now head off on our travels, first stop Gathurst

The M6 motorway passes high overhead on a viaduct

The lock keepers cottage at Gathurst has been recently renovated and there is the remains of a lock which took boats onto the river Douglas to the right of the house above. 
There are two locks here named Dean locks, but one is now disused
There is a water point here, this is where we usually go for water as it's only about half an hour from our mooring and we can fill up without going down the lock as there is room to wind the boat above it (see previous blog entry 'Chores, Chores, Chores')

This sign in Appley Bridge always makes me smile

Well at least someone is getting some use out of this canoe

Just above Appley Bridge deep lock which has a fall of about 12 feet. 
There is a parallel channel with two locks of around 6 feet drop that are now disused.
The deep lock was the original lock and the others were opened to speed up traffic and to save water as the water from the first lock going down could be used to fill the second lock coming up and the boats cross in the pound in between. There is supposed to have been a house on the little island between the two channels although there is no evidence of this today. This is the last lock until Liverpool

Going down

It really is a big lock although it's fairly quick going down it seems to take forever to fill going up, but that's not until tomorrow. We usually use one gate as Mr F is pretty handy on the tiller and it saves walking back and forth across the lock when there's only one crew member!

Nice waterfall effect from the top gates, hope you haven't got wet feet

One from Mr F's phone demonstrating his prowess on the tiller. 
He's used to long vehicles being a low loader driver

Er, don't forget to stop for your crew......

Heading towards Parbold the canal winds it's way through the valley with Parbold Hill and the railway line to the right, Ashurst Beacon in the distance to the left and Hand Lane bridge up ahead

The familiar windmill, now an art gallery. 
This is one of our favourite places to stay during the year. 
This side of the bridge is a radio, telephone and internet black hole, the other side is fine!

Mr F paddling the tiller to wind the boat. We decided to go up to the winding hole a bit further up the canal to turn round to save us doing it in the morning. It's the first time turning here in Mervyn so at least we know now that it's wide enough. It had been a dull but dry day right up to mooring up and then it started raining so there was nothing else for it.... we went inside and opened some beer

Sunday morning, praise the dawning, it's just a restless feeling, by my side quote the Velvet Underground
There's nothing like the feeling of travelling, moving, changing, being on a journey

Mr F was due in work Sunday afternoon so fairly bright and early we set off back to Crooke. It was pretty windy but a beautiful clear blue sky. 
There isn't anything in the world better than pottering along the cut with a hot coffee and the chug of the Gardner beating in your ears

Coming up Appley deep lock, we always open the paddles on the same side of the boat first as the theory is that the water will enter the lock and go across to the other side, hit the wall and then on it's way back help to keep the boat against the wall. Mostly this works but sometimes the flow of water will take the bow across with it as above.

The familiar sight of Crooke Village welcoming us home for a little while yet

No comments:

Post a Comment