After a good night at Parbold we woke up to find this Kestrel hunting in the field opposite our mooring.He dived down a couple of times but we didn’t see him catch anything . Which was probably good for the voles and small mice .
Before leaving Parbold we popped down to the shops for a few essentials. For some bizarre reason every time we get any where near a level crossing there is a train coming and we have to wait ,it happens everywhere we go . After waiting for three trains to pass we noticed that a new butchers had opened in the village. We always try and use local butchers as their meats always seem to be far more tastier than Supermarket meat ,although a bit more expensive it is usually well worth it. We ended up buying a Pork chop with loads of delicious fat on it and 6 Pork Sausages. At nearly £6 the bangers were the most expensive Sausages we have ever bought and Carolyn was in two minds or not about buying them ,Hopefully they will be worth the money.
Eventually we pulled pins at 10.00 with the intention of getting through Wigan and then hopefully picking up a mooring at Plank Lane which is on The Leigh Branch of The Leeds and Liverpool canal. The first lock of the day was the one at Appley and at 12 feet deep is one of the deeper ones on the canal network.
The original pier at Wigan was a coal loading staithe, probably a wooden jetty, where wagons from a nearby colliery were unloaded into waiting barges on the canal. The original wooden pier is believed to have been demolished in 1929, with the iron from the tippler (a mechanism for tipping coal into the barges) being sold as scrap. What you can see now is just a modern day reconstruction.
The last lock up before the junction to The Leigh branch and the bottom gates here have to be wound shut using a rack and pinion system. Carolyn said it was “bloody hard work” .If only I could have got off to help !.
Onto The Leigh branch and there are only two locks before we have a 45 mile lock free cruise towards Preston Brook. Here on the second lock down you have to wind a chain around a drum to close the gate ,yet another new one for us.
It was then a good cruise to Plank Lane Swing bridge which turned out to be a lift bridge . You need to time your arrival for getting through this bridge as it is closed at peak travel times in the morning and evening.
We are through and the bridge is down and the barriers are up . Carolyn said she got a few funny looks from a few of the cars. We then picked up a mooring a couple of hundred yards along the towpath where we will spend sometime before a long days cruising when we aim to get through the outskirts of Manchester which will take at least 7 or 8 hours.
PS …Just to report that the Sausages were very good ,but at nearly a pound each I ate them very slowly to get my moneys worth out of them.