Although you only go up through one 12’ deep lock at Appley locks, it’s referred to in the plural because there are actually 3 locks here. A shallower pair was built alongside the original to speed traffic up, but these are now derelict. The good bit is that you can moor in the approach to the top of the disused locks and that’s where we are. This is about as good as it gets; we’re on the far side of a little island that’s only accessible by a footbridge, there’s a lovely view, plenty of wildlife and it’s like having our own private bit of towpath.
We did the trip from Burscough in one go between Ann-Marie’s shifts, so she slept through most of it, just emerging to open the swing bridges. The day before we moved, Dave had been along the towpath with the bow saw, making stashes of dead-fall firewood ready to be picked up as we went by. He got a bit carried away, as he does, and we arrived at the lock with every inch of the roof covered in big bits of tree. There has to be a limit to how much weight you can put on top of a narrowboat before it simply falls over, and we were noticeably tippy. He’s since spent a good few hours every day cutting it into stove sized lengths and now it’s stacked everywhere - on the bank, on the roof, in the front locker – everywhere you look there are more logs.
As it’s nice and safe here, we’ve taken the opportunity to take the slide hatch off the back end and tidy it up. At the moment we’ve got a bit of Land-Rover canvas covering our exposed rear while the slide resides on the workmate. The plan is to line it in ply, repaint it and put coloured diamonds on the raised bit.
The Squirrel log burner is on pretty much all the time now so our staple diet will be casseroles, curries and chilli till Easter. Yum! The copper kettle we bought in Glasson is proving its worth as well; it holds about 4 litres and we keep it on top of the fire and full. This has meant that our last gas bottle lasted 9 weeks instead if 6, and at £20 a refill that’s not to be sniffed at.
We can’t go much further along the canal at the moment as there’s a maintenance stoppage 2 locks further on at Ell Meadow. They are replacing the gates and it’s scheduled to finish on Dec 20, so in a couple of weeks we’ll go and have a chat with the CRT guys doing the work and see if they’re going to be on time. If so we can go through and be in Wigan outside the North-West Waterways office for Christmas.
This is the L&L in all its Autumn Glory