We set off and got as far as Dean lock at Gathurst and filled up with water. It took a while as we haven't filled up for over a week and we had just put some washing on. Eventually we were off again with Chris, our quest earning his keep with swinging a windlass and pushing gates at the two locks before Wigan.
Our guest Chris at Hell Meadow Lock.
We quickly went round the bend just after the Wigan Pier and then it was my turn at the dry dock and Haverstock Bridge lock. At the Dry dock we managed to get rid of more than a weeks worth of garbage which made a bit more room. The gate paddles on the dry dock lock had jammed so I think it would have been difficult to go down them. It looked like fertiliser bags jammed in them. I reported it to the Wigan C&RT regional offices whilst the others were being bin men.
We turned again into the Leigh Arm of the Leeds Liverpool and it was still my turn for the locks. It is nice to get to do the locks and hopefully Helen will gain confidence in the driving into locks etc and we will then be able to take it in turns.
Tony enjoying his unaccustomed task.
Then it was the run down to Leigh with only the Plank Lane Lift Bridge to slow us down. As we approached the bridge was lowering after two boats had come through towards us. They had great trouble getting the cycle to complete and the barriers to lift. There was a huge queue when they finally managed it. We then waited for it to clear and then got through with no trouble. One of the blokes on a moored boat was telling me there is always trouble with it and said we should report it. As it turned out Chris and Helen managed perfectly between them with a minimum of fuss.
Plank Lane Lift Bridge.
We then went on past Pennington Flash where there were folk on the water, through Leigh, and consequently left the Leeds Liverpool and back onto the Bridgewater Canal, And past Astley Green Colliery and onwards to Worsley. On the way to Liverpool we passed through but thought we would stop and explore a little this time.
The Packet House was built in 1760 as where the Packet Boat steps to the left. This was where the fast passenger boats left for Manchester. The half timbering was added around 1850 by the Ist Earl of Ellesmere who tried very hard to gentrify the village by adding buildings and generally raising the profile. The Packet House is currently for sale for about £369,000.
Worsley Green is now a park but was an industrial area that complemented the mines and canal here. The 1st Earl of Ellesmere cleared the site as part of the gentrification but you could see in the very dry grass the crop marks of buildings and railway lines. The monument is the base of a chimnet that was on the site. It was originally a fountain and is dedicated to the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater who built the mines and th canal to move the coal.
The white building was used as a nail makers shop and is actually the oldest building in Worsley. The tunnel goes through to the delp which was a sandstone quarry and also the entrance to the over forty miles of tunnels where the coal was mined from.
This building was originally built as a granary but was never used as such. It was used as an oil store for the steam plant that was used and the building was constructed without timber. It has been converted to apartments and is called Dukes Wharf.
The 1st Earl of Ellesmere had this boathouse constructed to house the Royal Barge that he had made when Queen Victoria came to visit and take a trip on the canals.
This is the oldest dry dock on the inland waterways and is where the boats for the mines and the Bridgewater canal where constructed and maintained.