As we all know the English summer can be unpredictable, and this year is no different, the forecast has been wet, dull and windy. Not great cruising weather, but we make the most of a bad job on days like this.
We stopped at Leigh for the night and took a walk to The Bobbin micro pub which was great, with a good selection of ales on and very friendly staff.
We also tried one in the White Lion, a dark on for the Captain so a happy bunny, the regulars were watching the football which gave it a friendly atmosphere. But when I tried paying with my Tesco club card I don’t think the barman knew what to make of it. So he and the Captain had a laugh at my expense.
Leigh has a brilliant indoor market which doesn’t seem to have suffered as badly as some others we have visited, we really enjoyed walking round and picking up some great bargains, including Bury Black Pudding and Henderson’s Relish.
We are planning to stay in Wigan for a couple of days before heading to Liverpool, however this has caused a problem with our pump out schedule. There is a serious lack of pump out locations in this area, and no matter how the Captain tried to work it out we ended up with being a couple of days early on the next one, or a couple of days late on the one after that, which is not really doable, early yes late no. Its still all in the air, he will make a decision eventually.
On the way to Wigan is Plank Lane lift bridge which is electrically operated, all I need is my BW key. This is where I love to say ’I have the power’ as I stop the traffic with the push of a button. There are quite a few of these bridges on the way into Liverpool, so I will be power mad by the time we reach there.
I must admit I have had a quiet time recently with no locks for me to do, but going into Wigan there are 3. At the first a single hander turned up when we were already in the lock, it appeared he was going to turn (it was only a short boat), but he couldn’t manage it and moored on the lock landing. As I let the Captain out he asked me for help. As he had vertigo and couldn’t climb the ladders to do the lock. I of course agreed and sent the Captain on his way. I am not sure how long he had had NB Hecate, but he didn’t seem to have much experience. Whilst waiting for him to enter the lock I was joined by the crew of a boat coming down which made life easier. As the Captain of Hecate took so long to enter the lock another crew member came down to see what the hold up was. Eventually he was in and I walked up to the next lock with the lady who had come to see what was occurring. We had a nice chat, then we waited and waited for the little boat to appear, but it didn’t, instead the crew we had left behind came up to tell us he had decided to try and turn above the lock. My Captain didn’t think this was a good idea as the pound was quite shallow. So up we went and left NB Typhon and crew to deal with whatever situation Hecate was in.
We moored up in Wigan just before the rain came and were joined shortly by NB Ebony. I went to help them moor and had a quick chat with the Captain, Steve and crew Ann. Of course in the conversation beer came up and Steve turned out to be a real ale lover, so of course I told him about the Wigan Central micropub which we would be visiting later.
As usual we headed to the pub around teatime, and just as we stepped off the boat Steve and Ann were taking their 2 dogs Sharkey and Milo for a walk. We walked together to Trencherfield Mill before going our separate ways and they said they might join us later.
The Captain was very happy in the Wigan Central, they had Porter O’Call by Bank Top Brewery, and before we left they put an Oatmeal stout on too. We had 3 pints and were just thinking about heading home when Steve and Ann turned up. We had a lovely night (and another pint) with them. They are reasonably new liveaboard boaters and seem to be loving the life.
I managed to say goodbye to them as they left next day. We will keep in touch through Facebook and hopefully meet up again.
We tried another real ale pub next day, The Swan and Railway, it has recently undergone a major refurbishment and is beautiful inside, with wonderful tiles and woodwork. They usually have at least 6 hand pulls on, and to make the Captain even happier London Stout on tap. The Porteresque, salted caramel porter from Hophurst Brewery was lovely. The staff were very friendly and the landlady had just found out they had won CAMRA’s Historic England Conservation Award, and well deserved too.
Next day we caught the train and headed for Bolton to meet up with his sister Sheila and her husband William.
But before we did we had a quick chat with Barbara and her family on NB Wild Ishie in the pouring rain.
We were visiting his Auntie Rita, a lovely independent lady in her late 90’s. We were meant to be taking her out for a meal, but she had had a fall the previous night and didn’t feel up to it. So we called at the Southfields, a Sizzling pub, for a bite before heading off to see her. She seemed a little out of sorts, obviously, but brushed off our concerns about her fall whilst we were there. It was great to catch up with her. Unfortunately we found out next day that her neighbour had called the doctor and she was in hospital with fractured ribs and bruising. A very brave lady.
Wigan to Liverpool, but that’s for next time folks