Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Canal Walk: Crooke to Wigan

Last time we came to Crooke the hailstones sent us running back to the car after 5 minutes. Today it was windy and grey but there was no sign of rain. We parked on the street close to where a railway once came down the hillside to canalside. The only sign of this railway now is a gap in the houses where it once ran. Presumably this railway brought coal from the pits at Crooke down to be loaded onto barges.site of the railway

We crossed Crooke Bride #47 and set off towards Wigan.
There is now a marina at Crooke where there was once an arm of the canal which went into the coal mines in the hillside. Opposite this arm there was a bridge of some sort from the canal towpath over the River Douglas. All that can be seen now is a raised bit of towpath.
Not far after the marina is the old Crooke lock. This lock was replaced by Pagefield lock after mining subsidence changed the levels of the canal. You can still see where the lock gates once were, the remains of their hinges and recesses they went into when open.
After Martland Mill Bridge #49 I took the opportunity to take a better photograph of a very sad looking milepost, it is still just about possible to see the plaque marking 33 miles to Liverpool.
Two more sets of locks follow, Hell Meadow and Pagefield, both were once duel locks and both now have only one chamber with gates still intact.

There weren’t many people about when we arrived at Wigan pier. The museum and shop looked shut but both were open. We had a look around the shop which always brings back memories of the IWA rally when this site was first redeveloped.
I bought a tin of Uncle Joes Mint Balls. Nice to see sweets with only three ingredients!
The wind was against us. On the return trip the wind was against us but I still managed to find a quarter milepost; one I must have walked past many times before. It marks 33.75 miles to Liverpool. It was so windy there were even waves on the canal, breaking ones at that!

For Sunday lunch we went to the Farmers Arms near Burscough by New Lane Swing Bridge #31. The pub and the carpark were both full of Sunday diners. A reminder not to take a place in a carpark if you are not going to use the pub. Roast lamb for £5.99 and Sherry Triffle (sic) for £2.50.

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