Stranded Again?

Yesterday’s weather was poor at the start of the day, but before lunch time it was good enough to tempt us to move on to the water point and send a raiding party to the local supermarket.  We then moved further in to territory that none of us had explored before in the direction of Liverpool.  We went a few miles until we were in open countryside and moored for the night.

Sunset Over Open Countryside
Sunset Over Open Countryside

After dinner I noticed an alert telling us that one of the swing bridges we had come through earlier in the day had suffered a mechanical failure.  So “until further notice” we would be unable to return towards Wigan.  In the morning Roland decided to set off to look at the bridge while the rest of us went for a walk in the other direction.  We found commemorative artwork at the site where work had first started on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Statue of "Navvie"
Statue of “Navvie”

Roland phoned to say he was at the bridge and it was now fixed – hoorah!  We walked back to the boat just in time to receive the official email that the bridge was open, and set off to the winding hole clearly marked at the pub just past the statue.  I turned the boat thinking it looked very tight.  With the nose of the boat resting on the wall of the pub it was clear that we were several feet short of the required width.

We were resigned to continue another two and a half mile to the next winding hole.  However just before the next bridge we found a much larger winding hole and easily turned the boat.  On the way back Mugs took a turn at driving, and did very well, especially in the strong winds which made driving tricky.

Mugs and Clare on Bartimaeus
Mugs and Clare on Bartimaeus

We went through a number of swing bridges without incident and arrived at Deep Lock.  This lock is 12′ deep so I was disconcerted when the gate paddles (several feet above the boat) started to open.  It turned out that one of the ground paddles was broken and the other was locked with the anti-vandal key and didn’t want to be open.  We settled on opening the gate paddles slowly, and Clare did manage to open the ground paddle.

Deep Lock replaces a pair of locks, now disused, on a parallel track.  On our way through in the other direction we had seen a boat come out of the top of Deep Lock and reverse in to the Outside Track to moor.  So this time we did just that!

Sunset Over the Outside Track
Sunset Over the Outside Track
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