As we pulled away from our mooring spot Richard saw some lovely blackberries so stopped and picked them. We had had the foresight yesterday to buy a couple of cooking apples just in case though I could have done with a couple more apples. The first lock we came to had a garden growing out of it which was rather amusing. We did the first four locks with another boat - it didn’t appear to have a name but was purple and had its sides psychedelically painted! We joined the Leeds and Liverpool again and approached lock 86 where we were met by a C&RT man who told us that one of the down paddles was stuck and we would have to go through with that paddle open. Richard got Mary H into the lock with no problem but as the water level went down “Psychedelic” got stuck on the side and it took quite a while to get her off meanwhile the water was still rushing from the upper pound into the pound below! They will have to drain the lower pound at some stage and mend the paddle but there were two shut up boats moored in there so until the owners return and move them there is nothing that can be done.
After the fourth lock we left the crew of “Psychedelic” to go shopping and we pressed on to Wigan Pier. I have long been fascinated by the idea of a pier in Wigan and was disappointed, years ago, when I discovered that the name Wigan Pier was possibly invented and brought to popular attention by George Formby Senior. in the Music Halls of the early twentieth century and later by George Formby Junior. who incorporated it into his songs. The pier was, in fact, the end of a narrow gauge tramway from a colliery. The wagons would be brought right to the edge of the canal to be tippled so that their contents went straight into the waiting barges. The original wooden pier is believed to have been demolished in 1929, with the iron from the tippler being sold as scrap. Because of the more recent pride in the area's heritage, a replica tippler, consisting of two curved rails, has been erected at the original location.
Two other buildings of interest are the former Wigan Terminus Warehouse and Gibson’s Warehouse. The Terminus was built in the 18th century and refurbished in the 1980s. Boats could moor inside the building and off-load directly into the warehouse. Gibson's is a Victorian cotton warehouse, originally built in 1777, re-built in 1984 as The Orwell at Wigan Pier.
Alongside Lock 88 is the DW Stadium which is home to Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors. Athletic were playing Southampton today and the place looked absolutely deserted. Wigan won 2 - 0!
There used to be two locks at Dean but there is only one still in operation today. Also there you can still see evidence of where the canal was once linked with the River Douglas. We pulled over for the night just after the lock as there was a nasty black sky up ahead and it was just as well that we did stop when we did as it poured shortly afterwards and all evening!