Friday, 2 September 2011

Onto the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

It’s been another beautiful day, warm and sunny but a bit windy at times.  We left Bridgewater Marina late morning and headed off towards Leigh. We’ve walked this canal before but have never been here by boat so it’s all new for us.

It’s brought back lots of memories. As we cruised through Astley Green we could see the Colliery Museum which is next door to the Ross’s Pub which we used to visit quite often when our kids were young. It was a family favourite as they had good food and an excellent children’s playground but we didn’t stop today.

Back before we built boats we used to run a building company and we built this office & laboratory building at Astley Green. That must have been around 20 years ago and it still looks good.

Instead of the usual wooden stop planks, which are used in case of a breach in the canal, every couple of miles we came across these metal stop planks.

What a good idea. They won’t rot, don’t need to be stored in a weather proof hut and should last for years.

After passing underneath the busy East Lancs Road,

the canal passes right through the centre of Leigh and it’s very industrial with several mills looming above us.

We stopped for lunch overlooking Pennington Flash. I used to race sailing dinghies here in the early 70’s. The colliery was still running then but it’s since been demolished and the whole area is now a Country Park and nature reserve.

Pennington Flash

A new marina has been dug out just before Plank Lane road bridge. There are no pontoons and the fence is so tight up against the bank that you wouldn’t be able to get off your boat. Talking to a passer-by we were told that the marina is available for rent, but whoever took it on would have to install pontoons at great cost and so far there have been no takers. It seems like a really big waste of money to me.

new empty marina

We once came out to a boat break-down near Plank Lane bridge and I can’t believe how much it’s changed round here. All the surrounding houses and shops have been demolished and now it’s just a waste-land with the empty marina in the middle.

Plank Lane lift bridge, operated by a very nice man from B.W.

We’re now moored beside Ince Moss Shale Pits which are full of waterfowl.

This is the view from our dinette window. Isn’t it beautiful!

Ince Moss Shale Pits

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