Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Wigan Locks

We descended the Wigan flight of 21 locks today.  This is our sixth passage in as many years but the first time completely alone: no boat to share locks with and no additional labour.  We anticipated this taking seven hours  but we completed it in 5 hours 40 mins.  We set off at 7am and did not meet another boat until about three locks from the bottom. The locks on this canal are 60ft long and 14ft wide. 

Gecko is 58ft long without the fenders front and rear, so is about the maximum length possible. In order to open the bottom gates to exit the lock, Gecko has to be backed right up to the top gates. 

Wigan locks are so neglected that this manoeuvre takes me into a cataract which crashes onto the counter and sometimes down the steps. There is, however, one lock which has no leaks and all its paddle gear working: it is by Kirklees Hall Inn where non-boaters sit outside to spectate on the idyllic canal life.  Is this a co-incidence or am I a cynic?

With this contemptuous attitude by the authorities it is hardly surprising that the local population treat the canal as a rubbish tip.
This was just part of the rubbish retrieved from this lock.

Presumably it has been left on the side so that it can be thrown back in.

The original location of Dover Locks, now moved to Wigan
After lunch and a brief shopping trip we decided to press on along the Leigh branch towards Manchester.  We first encounter two more locks!  These are by way of a bonus as they were moved four miles from Dover Bridge when the canal subsided so much due to coal mining that they were redundant in their original location.

1 comment:

  1. Seeing your itinerary don't forget that the Wolverhampton 21 are closed. Graham


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