With only another 5 miles to Wigan, we were almost upon pastures new for us. We had last cruised this way 10 months ago in September 2019, travelling westward intending to enjoy just one week in Liverpool. Little did we know what was to come. The day promised some sunshine, but we’ve heard that before. So we set off in a spirit of adventure. Passing the Baby Elephant, an Indian Restaurant which closed down some time ago.
It’s sad to see so many canalside venues closed down especially when we see so many people walking the Towpath.
But this area is coal mining country, so although there’s lots of new development there’s also a lot of run down property. One thing that has made us
grimmace chuckle is CRT’s love of signs, including portage notices advising canoes to be taken out of the water at swing bridges and carried through. There might be logic if the bridges were closed but so many swing bridges are permenantly open and completely inoperable. It just strikes us as a complete and utter waste of money and lack of any intelligence.
However not to spend too long being grumpy, we passed the impressive Wigan pier
We wondered what George Orwell would have made of the fancy redevelopment opposite around the wharfs, warehouses and mills.
After a stop to fill up with water we rounded the corner and there it was, the Leigh Branch. It’s still technically part of the Leeds and Liverpool canal, but for us, we’re breaking new ground and it feels good.
During this section of our journey, we passed by two historic boats, Ambush and Viktoria. Most canals have a specific style to maximise the efficiency and profit of their specific routes. Above Wigan the Liverpool Shortboats, dominated. Ambush and Viktoria were built for the H &R Ainscough Mill in Burscough, they are Liverpool Longboats to carry grain and flour. They are 60’long and 14’wide. nowadays Ambush is still a working boat delivering fuel to boaters between Burscough and Leigh. Canal Junction writes and intersting article about these boats