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Friday, 6 April 2018

Mines a pint.

Before setting off this morning we decided to go for a walk as we had never been to Crooke before, and it wasn't raining!

Our over night mooring didn't seem quite so bright this morning!

As with several other places along this length of the canal the River Douglas comes very close to the canal. It is hard to believe that it was navigable to boats from the Ribble estuary before the canal was built. Boats could get all the way to Wigan by 1741, and they loaded coal at Crooke, delivered from the many pits in the area.

There is a basin on the off side at Crooke and I believe it was a coal loading basin for the barges, but is now full of residential boats.

This coal tippler at Crooke was loading coal into about 20 barges a day at its peak. The coal was brought by railway from local pits, John's pit, Giant's Hall Colliery, Standish Drift Mine and others in the area. Other means were used to transport the coal to the canal and river and one of the first was a 600 yard long underground canal that was dug in 1807 by the Standish Coal Company. It was abandoned in 1850 as it could not reach lower seams.

Tram and plateways were also employed to bring the coal from the pit head to the loading point. At the village this old tub had been found buried at the site of the old John Pit that closed in the early 1960's. The outer rails give the scale to the dimensions of a 'fully grown' rail system.

I don't ever remember seeing this variety of daffodil before. It looks more like a chrysanthemum. (Thank heaven for spell chaecker, I could have looked foolish there). 

The 'Ambush', a motor boat, and 'Viktoria' a dumb barge, were built in the 1930's to carry American grain brought in to Liverpool to the Ainscough Mills at Burscough and Parbold. The are Leeds/Liverpool Long boats as they are 72' long. 

With all the mining in the area, and about 80' of coal was extracted, it was a problem as this caused subsidence for the canal. This meant that Crooke Lock was abandoned and the locks further up built and increased in height. Along this stretch there are all different heights to the towpath and this explains why.

At Hell Meadow Lock, the next one closer to Wigan it looks like a double lock was constructed. However it looks like the one not in use today was built at a much lower level than the present one. Another result of subsidence. I loved this bollard on the lock with the years of wear on it from turns rope round it to check the heavy boats. I suppose the steel wouldn't be a hardened as today as well.

The wind was blowing quite strongly straight down the cut. We decided to go head first through the bridge and moor by the Trencherfield Mill. After lunch I walked to the B&Q Warehouse to get a few bits and bobs to complete a couple of jobs.

As I walked there I was quite taken with this little feature on a little shed like building that was obviously a garage, and still is today. I think that the BP font is the same as the British Petroleum. I love this type of thing and hope that it stays a long time.

Once I got back I put up some hooks for Helen and then replaced the flag pole on the swans neck. I have told Helen that we will go for a Weatherspoon's tea as she had nothing planned. Or at least that is my excuse.


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