Monday, 18 May 2015

Leeds & Liverpool,Leigh Branch.

Hi all,
This week we are moored just a few yards short of a place we moored at over a week ago,Astley,where the Mining Museum is.We've come back here to avoid the loud music from the pub opposite the moorings at Leigh and tomorrow we will head back again,Lisa's waiting for some new glasses to arrive and a delivery at one of the shops so we don't want to be too far away.
Tuesday evening moored by Scotsman's Flash,we went for a circular walk along the Towpath and then back along the footpath on the opposite side of the canal.
 We left Scotsman's Flash last Tuesday and traveled about five miles to Pennington Flash,another flooded area of mining subsidence,mainly,it's believed,from the underground workings of Bickershaw Colliery.On the way there we had to pass under the Lift Bridge at Plank Lane again but this time we were less apprehensive,having done it only last week.A boat that was ahead of us as we approached the bridge let us past so Lisa didn't have to hold the cars this time and we just sailed through
Lisa filling our water tank from the water point at Plank Lane lift Bridge.In the background beyond the parked cars is the landscaped spoil heap of Bickershaw Colliery.
Coal was first mined here at the colliery,beside the canal,in 1872 and it was closed a hundred and twenty years later in 1992.Just off the picture to the right is what is going to be a new marina and housing,it's hard to imagine now how it must have looked when the mine was working.All along the Bridgewater Canal there were coal mines but apart from the subsidence there is little left to show where they were,occasionally there are bits of what may have been loading staithes,but it's hard to be sure,old mines were being shut down and new ones opened quite frequently over the Centuries.

Part of some old mine workings maybe? a loading staith perhaps? there's little way of knowing now.

A sculpture of some old lock gates as you approach Pennington Flash from Plank Lane and the West.There used to be a lock where Plank Lane Lift Bridge is now but I would think it highly unlikely the gates are from there.There's a lock shown on a map of around 1850 but I can find no other reference to the lock or what may have happened to it.I can only guess that,like Dover Locks,Plank Lane Lock was effected by mining subsidence and had to be removed.
This pic' is for anyone coming up,or down,the Bridgewater and wonders where the Water Point at Leigh Bridge 11 is,I can tell you,there isn't one.The Nicholson's Guide is wrong,there's a Water Point and Elsan on the offside to the East of Butts Bridge 9.Which is about a mile to the East of Leigh Bridge..Here's Lisa doing her usual at said Water Point.
There are still a number of Mills around Leigh and this is Leigh Mill.
Leigh Mill,or Leigh Spinners Mill is a double mill that is still in use,though for something different to what it was built for.It was built for spinning Cotton and was built in two stages,the East site and chimney first and the West site ten years later in the first quarter of the 20th Century.It's still used by Leigh Spinners for manufacturing carpets and synthetic turf.
As you get closer to Leigh there's another lovely old mill,even though it is a bit tatty.This one is Mather Lane Mill,built in 1882 and is being converted to apartments as I type this.
It's not all old mills,collieries and steam engines on here you know.Here's what I think is part of a Canada Geese Nursery,there always seems to be a lot of Goslings together with a lot of adults that I think are female,the ones I think are male are nearby,it's not easy to tell the gender of Canada geese,though I guess they don't have any problems.

A common sight on all our waterways,the Heron,they don't seem to be as nervous anymore and often stand on the bank as we cruise by but they never take their eyes off us.
Well that's the lot again for this week folks.Since our last blog we have done no Locks and only 10 Miles which gives us a Grand Total of 1,154 Locks and 1,847 Miles since we set off on our travels in October 2012.Take care everyone.

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