Friday, 22 April 2016

Burscough to Wigan

The long walks appear to have resulted in me discarding my ‘man cold’ but poor Jan has now come down with bronchitis and is coughing like a tiger with a hernia.  The poor girl had a very restless night.

Sunset looked good (red sky at night, shepherd’s delight) so I took a quick snap before heading to bed.

IMG_9661After a quick trip to Tesco for lemons and honey (Jan’s medication) we pulled the pins and headed east passing Burscough Junction and the Rufford Branch.

IMG_9663That way to the Ribble Link and the Lancaster Canal.  But we are heading back to Wigan.  Three swing bridges today.  We were fortunate at the first as another boater opened it for us.  I repaid the favour at the second bridge.  The Leeds & Liverpool Canal is known (notorious?) for swing bridges.

IMG_9658We’ve been playing leap-frog with the Blacksmith Boat since leaving Liverpool.  Today we passed him before Parbold.

IMG_9659Parbold is an attractive looking location when viewed from the canal.  There’s a hard right turn here which suggests at some time there might have been an arm going into the town.

IMG_9666IMG_9668Dean’s Lock used to be paired but the northern lock has been abandoned and the former local approach was being used as temporary moorings by two boats.  A wide beam trip boat was moored below the lock.

IMG_9670It was here we paired up with another boat completing the remaining locks into Wigan together.  They were in a hurry to get to Manchester whilst we need to stop in Wigan and collect some items from the Post Office.

This is likely to be our final look at Wigan Pier.

IMG_9671

Not that there is much of a pier to look at!

With mills regularly seen all along the route of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal it doesn’t take much effort to realise the canal was integral to their success.  Even as a lad in NZ I’d heard of Lancashire Cotton.  This is Trencherfield Mill in Wigan.  Opened in 1907, it had a steam engine that produced 2500hp to provide power to the adjacent cotton mill.  The primary purpose of the canal was to deliver coal to the mill .By 1912 it was producing 8 million yards of cotton annually.  However WW1 disrupted the supply of raw cotton and then the government encouraged the colonies to build mills and produce their own cotton.  This was the beginning of the end for the Lancashire cotton industry.

IMG_9673

1 comment :

Laurie Williams said...

Hi Tom. The apparent canal junction stub at Parbold was originally proposed as a junction to Leyland but when that didn't eventuate it became a quite substantial graving dock. Remarkably, this was in use until 1943. It is shown as Parbold Graving Dock on the oldest (1845) OS sheet on the National Library of Scotland site, and Googling "Parbold Graving Dock" brings up links to photos and an interesting history by NB Epiphany. Many thanks for your indefatigable blogging - it helps with my canal cravings over here in Central Western New South Wales. Hope Jan is soon over the lurgi.