Wednesday 29 October

We woke earlier than usual this morning and a quick peek through the blind confirmed there had been a heavy frost overnight and we were shrouded in mist which meant that the internal temperature of the boat had dropped slightly overnight.

The winter duvet is called for.

After a bowl of warming porridge we set off; Max and I on foot and Storm at the helm, for the first couple of miles before Max and I hopped back on board at a bridge portal.

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The Autumnal colours along the Bridgewater Canal looked fantastic under clear blue skies.

We made it to Preston Brook by 10 am where we filled up with diesel at Claymore Narrowboats.   We missed the ten minute tunnel entry window at 10.30 am by just ten minutes and so had a 50 minute wait. We followed another single hander through the tunnel and assisted him through Dutton Stop Lock before working the lock for ourselves.

This lock is probably one of the most important stop locks on the system as it controls great stretches of lock free pounds from Middlewhich to the south, and to Manchester and Wigan in the North. Both the Bridgewater and Trent & Mersey canals have both experienced breaches in recent times where the canals have burst their banks and this lock prevented the loss of water being so much worse.

We arrived in Anderton where we will be staying  until we move into the marina on Friday afternoon as we’re going home on Saturday for a couple of weeks or so.

Our adventures will continue sometime after 14 November.

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Tuesday 28 October

Our next foray is a trip back to Beverley at the beginning of November to do more work on the house.   As its both Mischief and Bonfire Night while we’re away, we’ve secured a place in Uplands Marine on the outskirts of Northwich from Friday afternoon. With a distance of 27.5 miles and 1 lock to cover before then we left Worsley this morning and began our leisurely return along the Bridgewater Canal.

We’d hoped to moor overnight in Lymm but this was not possible as the boats already moored boats there had annoyingly failed to share mooring rings, which meant that they’d left 4ft gaps between each boat.   Had they shared rings then at least two further boats of our length could have joined them.

By this time it was raining and so we were not too pleased but motored on to the outskirts of Grappenhall before finding somewhere suitable to stop.

 

Monday 27 October

We made it back to the boat after our weekend away.   We came back a few pounds lighter.  This is usual but these are usually of the monetary kind, but Summer had picked up a bug at nursery which she kindly shared with us and so on this occasion we were cheap to keep.   Nevertheless we had a lovely time with her.

Wednesday 22 October

We left Plank Lane in sunshine and calm waters and headed back to Leigh where we stopped briefly at Aldi for more gin and some dog food.

By early afternoon we’d arrived at our intended destination of Worsley, where we filled up with water and moored up opposite the village shop.

We spent the rest of the afternoon on a reconnaissance mission on foot to locate Patricroft Station and to find out how to acquire tickets for our journey to Chester as our babysitting services are needed this weekend.

Having discovered that we could walk to the station or catch a bus that would drop us off relatively close by, and that we’d need to buy tickets on the train as there was neither ticket office nor machine at this delightful, tumble weed strewn station, and we’d need to travel back on Monday as there was no Sunday service, we returned to the positively posh village of Worsley and packed our bags ready for the morning.

 

Tuesday 21 October

Gonzalo – I am glad this is just the aftermath and not the real thing.   Not a day for venturing far, in fact we just battened down the hatches, stoked up the stove and experienced being knocked hard against the concrete edge of our mooring in the strong gusts from time to time, unable to see out of the steamed up and rain spattered windows.   We got round to doing all those inside jobs that we haven’t done while the weather has been nice… oh and lots of knitting.

Boiling water

Boiling water

Even Max wasn’t keen to venture out. He did stick his nose out of the side hatch to look at the waves on the canal and to feel the wind through his ears, in between the hailstones, but soon resigned himself to a short walk and a long sleep in front of the fire.

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Monday 20 October

Another day at Plank Lane and plenty of time to explore the Pennington Flash Country Park, its sculptures and the views …

 

An idea of the size of the lock gates on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.  Here several have been used to make a sculptural book

       An idea of the size of the lock gates on the   Leeds & Liverpool Canal. 

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We hadn’t realised before today that when viewed from the other side the lock gates form a book

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Pennington Flash

This evening we called in at the nearby Nevison public house. The Nicholson’s Canal Guide describes is an ‘original old fashioned pub’. I asked about the unusual name and was told that the notorious highwayman, John Nevison, came from this area.

The pub’s walls were adorned with many photographs and we were amazed to learn that the area now known as Pennington Wharf with its planned marina, was the site of the large and very busy Bickershaw Pit Head until the 1990’s.   It is amazing how quickly the area has reverted to countryside.

Sunday 19 October

A breezy morning with lots of leaves …

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We left Crooke and headed for Wigan.   We were relieved to see plenty of water in the pound near the stadium and passed through Wigan locks on our own.   We met a boat coming up at the last lock which meant that I didn’t have to fill it before we could enter.   The last two locks on the Leigh Branch leak quite a bit and the gates are heavy and hard to open.   Thankfully there were plenty of walkers and bikers around who lent their weight to opening them.

Leaving Wigan behind

Leaving Wigan behind

We made it to Plank Lane, filled up with water, and moored up to take advantage of the breeze to dry the washing, before the rain arrived.

Plank Lane Bridge

     Plank Lane Bridge

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Rainbow warning of rain to come at Plank Lane Marina