I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Tuesday 21st August

Lock or boat wash?
We were up bright and early and left our mooring at 8.30am.  We got to the top of the Wigan flight at 8.45am and set off down the 21 locks.  I met the Lock Keeper at the top lock and he said that he was just about to walk down the flight and would open the first few paddles for us – this was a great help as overnight most of the locks had drained.  The flight was fairly uneventful as far as the locks are concerned – most paddles worked but the gates were stiff and most leaked like mad.  Richard and I shared the work which was great.  We did the first 13 and then pulled over for a coffee as there was a longish pound.  Just as we were finishing our coffee another boat came up the 14th lock (only the second boat we had seen) so we set off again.  The bottom locks weren’t in such a nice location as the top ones and the local Wigan youth were out and about - they didn’t bother us just made things more interesting!  The eventful part of the trip goes to dogs!  The first dog that deserves a mention was a very red looking border collie type dog.  I got chatting to the owner who told me that she was half red fox (the dog not the owner!).  Apparently he had bought her in Wales and the farmer said that he had no idea who the father was.  A local vet took an interest in the dog and sent some samples away to be tested by two different laboratories and they were amazed to find not only dog DNA but red fox too!  He promised the story is true but who knows??!!  The clip_image002second dog was a chocolate labrador who was very well behaved but I could see in her eyes that she really wanted to say hello.  It didn’t take much encouragement from me for her to bound up and almost knock me over!  She was really lovely.  The third dog was also a border collie – one of three a man was walking.  I passed one of the dogs and it cowed a bit and I thought it looked a bit nervous but then a cyclist came passed and the dog went for him biting him on the foot several times!  There was a real slanging match between the cyclist and the dog owner and I thought that it could come to blows but they ended up apologizing to each other!  Thank goodness the dog only bit the cyclist’s shoe!

Just like yesterday the rain started at the bottom lock but I didn’t care – the ordeal was almost over!  By the time I got back on the boat it was pouring.  The canal splits just after the bottom lock, either continuing to Liverpool or off on the Leigh Branch to join the Bridgewater Canal.  Though we are going to Liverpool - albeit via Lancaster – we have quite a bit of spare time so headed off down the Leigh Branch for a few days.  We pulled over just after the junction for lunch and the heavens opened for a good hour.

There were two more locks to do before having 17½ miles of lock-free canal to Waters Meeting in Manchester where we will turn round.  Richard kept finding nice places to moor for the night but couldn’t get next to the bank and he eventually found somewhere though I’m not too sure where we are exactly!  However after all the rain it turned into a lovely evening.

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