14th November 2019
We leave our mooring at the top of the Wigan Flight and make our way down the 21 locks, a trip of 2 miles and turn left onto the Leigh Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. A right turn here would take us to Liverpool. We are joined by a couple of friends who have volunteered to help us down the locks. Ted is another Bickerstaffe Boat owner and Paul is a soon to be Bickerstaffe owner. We also posted an entry on the Wigan Flight Crews Facebook page to inform them that we will be descending the flight, and we were very lucky that a volunteer lockie read the post and came along to help out. If you are going to use the flight it is well worth joining their Facebook page. We were very grateful for their help.
We descend through the two further locks and enter a lock free pound that eventually takes us onto the Bridgewater Canal to Preston Brook over 40 miles away. As we left Ted and Paul the sun was just starting to go down and there was the beginning of a beautiful sunset as we cruised the Leigh Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
The Leigh Branch is seven miles long and has suffered over the years from subsidence caused by coal mining. This resulted in large flashes or lakes developing in what was previously farmland but has now been restored as parkland. The canal has been built up with pit waste while the land on either side has sunk considerably. However there are some great views on this section of the canal and we experienced a mix of different weather conditions which only enhanced the experience.
Watch out for the Plank Lane Swing Bridge which is sited where there was once a lock and for the views of Pennington Flash on a frosty winter morning.