Sunday, 29 May 2016

Gecko on the Move - Plank Lane to Crooke

Another bright and dry morning. Away at 6.30 heading for Wigan. Not to climb the daunting flight of locks towards Leeds but to turn left towards Liverpool. This is new territory for us.

The first lock we encounter after our left turn has a fairly new road bridge over it. There is no footbridge on the lock so to get from one side to the other Margaret has to climb up to the road, cross this bridge and descend the other side. I can't imagine it would have added much to the cost of the road bridge to add a footbridge to the lock, but who cares about canal users?

As we descend the three locks in Wigan we pass Kennet, an original Liverpool Short Boat which worked the canal in its commercial days. It now belongs to the L&L Canal Society and is used as a floating classroom. As 2016 is the 200th anniversary of the canal opening it will be busy this year. The locks between Wigan and Leeds are 60ft long and Kennet was built to operate this route.

Immortalised by George Orwell, the legendary Wigan  Pier occupies a tight turn for us and we head westward out of the town, descending more rural locks.

Here and there the May blossom is pink

In this fine weather and lack of boat traffic we are making good progress so decide to moor up early enough to explore our locale.
As we approach Crooke we pass this extraordinary construction. It appears to be a communal area for three houses providing a sheltered quayside retreat. Notice there are doors in the back wall - beach huts?

Cruising through the village, we find a lovely peaceful spot just out of sight round this bend and tie up before noon.
There is no traffic in this area o f the village and the whole atmosphere is somnolent which, after our early start, is tempting.

Our exploratory walk reveals that, away from the main road, it is indeed a charming village with a small marina and a substantial pub - The Crooke Hall Inn. We decide to treat ourselves to Sunday dinner here later.

When driving on roads we have learned that it is pointless asking directions from service station staff as they are all clueless. Being unsure of our actual location, we asked in a local shop which village we were in and the shopkeeper did not know! He printed off a till receipt with the address of the shop for us but this, I think, was the registered office address.
The meal and service at The Crooke Hall Inn was excellent. I was immediately impressed by the bar staff who recognised the intention of another customer to jump the queue and deftly ignored him until his allotted turn. Margaret had the roast sirloin whilst I had liver and bacon. Both meals were generous and perfectly prepared, as was the selection of vegetables. The rich gravy on my dish had whole mustard seed in addition to the traditional onion. Very tasty.
Out in the pub garden the Liverpool Long Boat Ambush was moored. This operated between Liverpool and Wigan but is too long to take the route to Leeds. It is now owned by Derek who plies his trade of fuel supplier along this section of the canal. The sister boat, Victoria, is permanently moored on his wharf at Bursgough.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be removed if considered inappropriate