Wigan Flight

turning right up the Wigan flightThe first two locks of the day were a sign of things to come. Crazy slow filling and impossible to open without nose nudging.Wigan flight lock cottage

Turning right, the few remaining boats disappeared left – all booked in for Liverpool. The first thing that struck us was how gigantic the lock gear is on the Wigan flight, everything on an industrial scale… gates on chain low pound on Wigan flightpulleys, ground paddles/gate paddles all round, massive reinforcement bars and deep unforgiving locks that take a mile if they’re given an inch oWigan flightf bad roping. Locals passed by – on both foot and motorbike – with shout outs generally emphasising how many locks still lay ahead. Exhausted crew on the only other boat we passed called ‘Enjoy the flight!’ with sadistic glints in their eyes. Thinking our luck was in and the locks would be for us, was, for thWigan flighte most part wrong as they are all very good at leaking full.

It was soon clear that there were no short cuts, no skipping over front gates, no dropping paddles, no one paddle operating system – it looked as though it was going to be a long haul, and it was.

Aside from getting used to scraping along the ground, jamming legs into the metal work in order to budge gates, we also experienced low pounds, two near sinkings (one when I openeWigan Top Lockd the gate paddles too early and filled the bow, second when the button fender caught in the front gate) and a general trashing of the inside of the boat (cupboards open, button fender menderremote controls flying, stove fan catapulted into the air, salt and pepper scattered …the usuals) All in all a bit of a rough riWigan Top Lock elsande.

A water fill at the top lock when, in search of the bins, we stumbled on a harsh reminder as to why we are so glad to have a pump out. Uuurghh.

The last hour of the day involved a thorough soaking. As the lightning flashed and the thunder cracked it was hard not to think about all that metal and water. A scungy bridge served as a welcome retreat, we took shelter with dog walkers and cyclists and talked for a while with a whole bunch of people we should never have met.


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