Soon after setting off we passed the entrance to the Rufford Arm which links the L&L main line to the River Ribble. This has become popular since the millennium link near Preston made it possible to cross the River and travel up the Lancaster Canal.
At Glovers swing bridge a C&RT working boat was hogging the bridge landing so M had to cross their boat to get to the tow path.
|The old lock at Appley Bridge|
Long before the L&L was built the Wigan coalfields were already using water transport to move their product.
The Little River Douglas was partly canalised through to the River Ribble at Preston .
Along this stretch we passed three of the old locks dating from the early 17th century
|The Little River Douglas flows to the right of the L&L lock|
From Preston, coal was taken along the coast to Fleetwood, Lancaster and Liverpool .
When the L&L was finally finished over a hundred years later the Douglas link became redundant.
|Pillbox near Parbold|
During the second World War the strategic importance of the L&L was recognised as was its vulnerability. Along its route pillboxes were built and manned by the Home Guard (aka Dad's Army) much as the Kennet & Avon Canal was defended
And we must not forget that coal was not the only commodity carried along this canal.
Grain, and, of course, flour were regularly moved.
This old windmill near Parbold is right alongside the canal.
On arriving at Wigan we made two attempts to moor. Our first choice was too shallow and so we moved over to the ex BW bollards. Here we were more successful until a pair of boats went down the lock we developed a significant list.
So we left Wigan centre and found a lovely spot alongside Scotman's Flash.
13.5miles / 8 locks / 2 swing bridges