The weather forecast last night didn’t give us much confidence about the possibility of a dry cruise today and we also needed to make a decision about where to be for the next four days. We try not to move on weekends and the thought of going up the Wigan Flight on a rainy Friday wasn’t appealing. We had decided to turn around and go back to the quiet offside moorings beside Aldi at Leigh when a passing local told us it was a bad plan as there is a nightclub beside the mooring which is open to 5.00am Fri to Sun nights. Change of plan! We’ll go to Wigan.
We moved up to the water point at Plank Lane which also doubles as the bridge mooring. Whilst the tank filled (good water pressure) Jan checked out the bridge controls.
Initially Jan thought the bridge controls were the same as the lift bridge at Aldermaston on the K&A. However they weren’t quite as automated and additional button presses were required. Something she couldn’t see in the bright sunlight (what happened to the rain <shsh>).
We stopped for lunch on the straight between Scotsman’s and Pearson’s Flash’s on the outskirts of Wigan. A church tower could be seen in the distance (top left in the following photo). I’ve tried to identify the church and think it might be St Marks of Wigan.
Poolstock Bottom Lock leaked like a sieve. Poor Jan appeared to be winding the windlass for ages to raise the paddles. Six adult males were at the lock and Jan did comment that they appeared rather interested in watching her do all the work!
The next lock leaked just as badly (Poolstock Top Lock) and the pound above looked to be 12” down. We couldn’t get against the bank before the junction and turned right before making another unsuccessful attempt to get against the bank. In the end we reversed back past the junction and moored on the 48 hour moorings above Wigan Henhurst Lock which was being manned by two CRT lock keepers. We managed to just get against the bank and once moored I went over to ask the lock keepers if the pound would drop any further. I was assured it wouldn’t and so i went off to visit the CRT offices in Wigan which are located below the lock only to discover their customer office hours are 10.00 – 12.00 Monday to Friday. I wonder if they have any vacancies… I could work those hours!
An hour later whilst sitting inside Waiouru I noticed I was drooling out of one corner of my mouth. Obviously I wasn’t on the level! It was fairly obvious that despite what we had been told by the lock keepers the water was steadily draining out of the pound and Waiouru had developed quite a list. Just to compound the problem two boats appeared from the direction we had come. Obviously they had already taken one lock of water from the pound and were about to take another. We needed to move and decided to go in the same direction as them and moor below Henhurst Lock. It’s the opposite direction to the way we want to go but at least there was water in the pound below the lock.
Whilst Jan filled the lock I managed to get Waiouru off the bottom by firstly getting the bow away from the bank using the electric pole. A bit of forward and reverse loosened the suction grip under the baseplate followed by some serious pushing with my quad’s got the stern off. Waiouru was then reversed into the lock and then back onto one of the moorings below.
It will be interesting to see how much water is in the pound tomorrow morning.