Dilly Dallying On The Leeds To Liverpool Canal

We spent the weekend (5th/6th August) moored by Fredrick’s ice cream shop (Giles Bridge #73), not necessarily because we loved the delicious ice cream, but because it’s such a nice place to moor.

Monday (7th August) was abysmal, it rained most of the day, and it didn’t take much to convince ourselves to remain put.

We did make a phone call to CRT though. We wanted information regarding assisted passage through the 21 Wigan locks. John’s arthritic knees are playing up, possibly through the damp weather, and I didn’t think I’d fair too well working Cyan down all the 21 locks myself (worse scenario). There is a place to moor halfway down the locks, allowing boaters to tackle the locks over two days, but that didn’t appeal.

We find CRT are always very helpful, and we were told that Tuesday is the day lockies assist boaters down the locks, but unfortunately tomorrow (8th August) was fully booked. There was nothing left for it but to book Cyan to go down the locks next Tuesday (15th August). This means we’ve to ‘hang around’ for a week. John also asked if they have two plastic ‘license holders’ to stick in Cyan’s windows, as the ones we have at the moment, have disintegrated. Lynne from CRT told John to call into the CRT office at the bottom of Wigan locks, to pick up a set.

Tuesday morning looked to be a day of sun and rain, though the clouds were stubborn enough to mostly hang around all day without letting the sunshine through. Nevertheless, we thought we’d make a ‘move’. We were in need of Services, Elsan, water, and the diesel tank was now only a third full. John likes to keep the diesel tank topped up as much as possible, something to do with ‘diesel bugs’! We should have topped up when we were in the marina, but we were remiss.

Our plan today was to aim for White Bear Services, top up with diesel, exchange a bottle of gas, top up with water, and to use their Elsan services. Then we’d moor up under the bridge, while I scoot to the Adlington CoOp for fresh provisions.

Now this is serious silting up of the canal.

Cruising on the way to White Bear Marina, we passed Ellerbeck Narrowboats Wharf, they had a notice on the wharf advertising diesel for 75p a litre. Not bad we thought, and we kept the price in mind. Shortly afterwards we arrived at White Bear Marina. As there were no notice outside for what they were charging for diesel, John popped into the marina office. He returned looking disappointed, and miffed that we hadn’t stopped at Ellerbeck Narrowboats, as White Bear Marina wanted to charge us 90p a litre. We jumped back on Cyan for a short 100m trip under the bridge, where we temporarily moored while I sought out the CoOp.

So now we’ve ‘Plan B’. We’ll cruise to the top of the Wigan locks, just to see what’s ahead of us next Tuesday, then we’ll turn or wind Cyan around, call at Ellerbeck  for diesel, and continue back to our mooring near Fredrick’s ice cream again.

After winding Cyan by Wigan top lock, two lock keepers hailed us; they had a fearful look about them, thinking we wanted to go down the locks there and then. Probably they were tired as they’d just returned from locking a pair of boats down the 21 locks. They quickly looked relieved when we said we had booked their help for next Tuesday, and that we were only casing out the locks.

Cruising back, the heavens opened, and we were pretty much forced into stopping on Adlington visitor moorings, just opposite where we’d temporarily stopped for the CoOp. These moorings proved to be great as they backed straight onto a playing field, which Rusty thought was marvellous. We stayed on that mooring for a couple of days.

At Ellerbeck we took on 150 litres of diesel (£22.50 cheaper than White Bear Marina), changed an empty gas bottle for a new one, bought a can of oil for the next oil change, filled up with water, and used the Elsan service.

We pootled back to our previous mooring by Fredrick’s Ice Cream shop for a few days, killing time until Tuesday morning.

We discovered a great wood walk, where Rusty turned into a ‘demon dog’!

We also reacquainted with the 5 heifers on a patch of land on the opposite side of the canal. Though there was a scary moment as we watched two of them try to ‘eat’ a plastic bag!

On Friday we cast off our mooring, cruising down the canal until the first winding hole, about turned Cyan, and set off to the Adlington Visitor Moorings which has Rusty’s playing field, and where a visit to the CoOp was once again in order.

This morning we made for the Wigan locks again, ready for our transition down the flights tomorrow.

Just love the amazing bridges!

Passing a very quaint, yet small bridge, where the canal flowed into a beautiful ‘lake’.

When we arrived at Wigan Top Lock, we met a single handed boater who we’ve been ‘paired’ with to descend the locks.

Early to bed, the lockies unlock the lock’s padlocks at 7:30 a.m., and we’ve to be ready for 8:30 a.m.!

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