Wigan Top Lock to Chorley by – John Fay

Wigan Top Lock to Chorley by – John Fay

Haigh Hall, Fredericks Ice Cream parlour and the Boatyard (double decker) Bus Cafe were a couple of the sites we enjoyed on our 15.5 mile return journey from the Wigan top lock to Chorley.

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This part of the Leeds/Liverpool canal was one section we hadn’t done before but apparently it was ten miles lock free.

Julie Brookes and myself met at a respectful 10:30am and unloaded kayaks. I had decided to take Penny the Jug so was on a sit-on-top kayak whilst Julie has her trusty Flex. As most members know Penny has a dislike of anything of the bird variety and it was this that led to her first swim. Barking at the ducks, before we had even launched, we heard a plop. Looking into the canal we could just make out Penny’s head covered in green algae and brown leaves. She looked like a soldier with a camouflage helmet on.

After rescue one we were off. This was a really nice stretch of canal. On one of our recent Weaver paddles I posted a photo of us paddling through thick green duckweed which just looked like a carpet covering the water. This time the water in places was covered in brown leaves so thick that they almost stopped our kayaks dead.

The canal towpath was quite busy with cyclists and walkers and one lady dismounted her bike to take photos of us. She said that she wanted a hobby that both her and her husband could do together and like the look of our kayaks. Well, you never know, we might have inspired a couple of new kayak members.

By the time we arrived in Chorley we knew that we would be making the return journey in the dark. The old “let’s just see what’s around the next bend” mentality has it’s consequences!!

Anyway, we arrived safely back and we didn’t experience any disasters apart from another swim by Penny. A mistimed jump ended in her scraping down the side of the canal bank and into the water again much like those cartoon characters who gouge marks as they fall helplessly to their fate.

This was another relaxing paddle in great company.

Report by – John Fay

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