Tuesday, 23 May 2017
The Wigan flight
It’s D-day although I should probably call it W-day for our descent down The Wigan flight of 23 locks although we are going to moor before the bottom one so it will be 22. It seems that this flight is known for being the most gruelling set of locks in the country. As well as the big heavy gates each lock has 6 sets of paddles and every one has a handcuff lock on it to prevent vandalism. Also you can see that the gates have these massive beams in front to ease the pressure on them.
We were so lucky that friends Jack and Tina turned up to help us down the flight. Jack and Tina have a boat called narrowboat Sandoy and it was built by the same builders that built Inca which was Sabre narrowboats ,who were renowned for building quality boats .. If you put our two boats together they look nearly identical and they look the same inside as well.
We had planned to set off at 09.00 but it seems one of the pounds had somehow emptied so the lockie on duty had to run water down from the top which made us half an hour late starting. With Tina feeling a bit under the weather she left us to get on with it.
Jack and Carolyn soon formed a good team and had a great system going to get us down the flight.
We also had a bit of extra help from the lockie and a fellow boater and blog follower who cycled ahead and set some locks for us . Sorry I didn’t catch your name but many thanks for your help.
Over half way down and we are making very good time.
We had been warned about this lock and told to get well inside the boat and stay at the front of the lock to avoid filling Inca with water .
There was also a few good leaks from the side walls . Luckily we had remembered to close all the windows after learning our lesson the hard way on other lock flights we have done.
On this lock because the bridge is so close to the gate you have to use a windlass to wind the gate open.
The last lock before mooring and what a great job done to get all the way down here.
We finally moored up after three hours and forty minutes which was a great time as the guide book says anything up to six hours, and if it wasn’t for Jack’s help it would have been twice as long . A massive thanks to you Jack, we so appreciate all the help you gave us and we will catch up with you both again soon.
Yes the locks are heavy and it is hard work ,but from what we had heard we expected a rough area with Graffiti as well as unsavoury characters everywhere . But in fact it’s a well kept set of the locks with grass cut, locks painted and all in all not a bad flight. I know the lockies and the Volunteers work hard on the flight ,so it’s all credit to them, well done !.
After a night here we will drop down the final lock on the flight and pass the famous Wigan pier as we continue our journey towards Liverpool.