Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Road to Wigan Pier

Up early today.  Filled up with water and emptied the toilet and set off on the dot of 7am.

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

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