Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wigan Locks : plenty of pain - the pleasure was when we'd done it !

Here is The Dragon  - our new tiller pin.    Isn’t he magnificent.

This last week we finished the Leigh Branch at Wigan Junction and turned left towards Leeds and up Wigan Locks (ohmigod - it brings me out in a cold sweat just thinking about it - I need a glass of something!)  More about that later if I can bring myself to recall it!).   Tonight we are moored just outside Adlington in lovely countryside with the Pennines in the distance.

We had to wait at Plank Lane until Fri 4 March because of the stoppage I mentioned last week.   We saw them fill the canal and new marina and remove the two dams - see pictures below.  

At Abram I caught a bus to savour the delights of Wigan Town Centre.    Actually it was quite nice so I roamed around the shops and market and supplied up at Morrisons.   Dai had managed (with the aid of a couple of pints money) to get 3 of the bright yellow buoys you can see in the photos at the stoppage so I bought some chain and fastenings so we now have great “buffers” for between the boat and bank when we moor up.  

Ian and Sarah came to see us again on Sunday, this time with their two boys Aaron and Jack - it was lovely to see them playing with Foxxie.   You have two delightful sons Ian and Sarah - hopefully they are coming to have a day trip with us this coming weekend.

What else can I natter on about before I have to think about Wigan Locks?   Well, we’ve had some glorious sun this week (together with overnight frosts, wind and hail storms) - its so lovely to have such bright days again and really noticing it’s getter later and later before we have to switch on the lights.   Got stocked up with wood again as masses of trees being loped between here and the locks so Dai has been busy with the saw and axe again.

I finished making a fitted sheet for our bed today and, yes, it fits!     The bed is 6 ft by 4 ft so standard fitted sheets are a no-no.    Plus the fact that it is quite a fight to get the bottom sheet to stay put when we change the bed cos it is rammed in against two walls and the wardrobe at the bottom and I’m a devil for hospital corners (having been a nurse in a previous life you understand!).     So decided to cut down one of the sheets to see if fitted corners would work - now I know it does, then I’ll be cutting, hemming and making channels for elastic on the other sheets - all by hand so it does take some time!

Ok - Wigan Locks.     Well, we had planned on doing the two at top of Leigh Branch and then staying overnight at the Junction.    But it didn’t look very welcoming there so we decided to go for it - 21 broad locks which you really have to do in one go as they are so close together.     As usual Dai on the boat and me doing the locks (well, until he builds me a little platform on the deck I cannot see over the roof so don’t like steering with such a limited view!).    Let me say that I’m not afraid of locks and really quite enjoy them but don’t want to do them ones again for some time!    Met some “interesting” gear I’ve not come across before such as (1) gates with chains where you wind a big fixed windless to shut them - presumably cos they’re so big and heavy you can’t do it any other way (2) gates by bridges where you open/close by turning on gear with huge teeth that look positively dragonesque (3) ground paddles you open/close by turning on top rather than the normal at the side (4) metal spikes hanging from gate beams to the ground to keep the gate closed which you have to lift whilst pulling/pushing gates shut - and I only have short arms (no, not mega short but short enough so I could just about deal with the opening/shutting whilst holding the metal spike free of the ground!      Add to all this the fact that you can’t walk over any of the bottom gates so are walking backwards and forwards twice as much as normal.     And the gates are so very very heavy - Dai had to get off the boat to help me with closing gates twice and he could only just manage them!   I tell you, by the time we got to the Top Lock, I was ready to drop ---- was in bed by 9 pm, I was so knacked !!!   The next morning I felt like I'd been 12 rounds with Mike Tyson - I never realised I had so many muscles to ache!

Got stew for dinner tonight which has been bubbling away on top of the fire all day; will be watching “The Boat Take Guy Built” on telly tonight followed by the new foodie programme and then MasterChef.

Hope you are all ok and - trust me - only do the Wigan Locks with two of you if you are a masocist !!

Since last blog we have done …  10 miles and 23 locks
This makes total since Setting Off ….. 1026 miles and  911 locks

removing the temporary dam nearest Plank Lane

one man presses the button, one directs the water hose and one looks to make sure it's all happening - starting to fill the canal

takes a bit longer than filling the kid's paddling pool  - and gallons more water !

starting to dig out the mud dam at southern end

not much longer now !  (a day later)

gushing over

removing another heap of mud - obviously had to be done slowly else us and the other boat moored there would have been white water rafting !

last mud removal - almost there

1 comment:

  1. Rather you than me and don't let dad do any sowing unless it is seeds in the ground glad you are both fine chat soon take care lj