Friday 1 March 2013

Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Adlington to Whittle-le-Woods.

The saga continues. After several phone calls, Genpower agreed that we should send the Hyundai back for either a refund or a replacement. Dave & Kate obliged us by letting us use their address for the collection so on Sunday we went over there for the afternoon and left a big box in their hallway. UPS duly arrived on Monday morning and took it away and their on-line tracking says it was Returned to Supplier on Wednesday. We’re now back to waiting for Genpower to return our phone calls, a situation that we know from experience calls for endless patience and dogged determination.

We’ve moved on again; after a week at Adlington we fancied a change of scenery so we went about five miles up the cut to Whittle-le-Woods,
at the bottom of the Johnsons Hillock flight. The weather has certainly been on our side and we’ve been taking advantage of it. The West Pennine Moors are just the other side of the motorway so we’ve been out walking at every possible opportunity. We’ve been round reservoirs; there are eight which feed into the Rivington treatment works and we’ve walked round most of them.
We’ve climbed up hills; at the top of Rivington Pike you can see for miles,
and there are acres of terraced gardens in the woods below.
We’ve ambled through wooded valleys and pretty villages and reminded ourselves just how beautiful this country of ours is.
We had a day walking round Chorley, the nearest town, and we think it’s a lovely place. There are three country parks surrounding it and we managed to join them together in an 11 mile loop,
and just happened to go past the world famous Fredrick’s Ice-Cream Parlour on the way back to the boat.
Well it would have been rude not to.

We also went for a walk along the Walton Summit Branch; a mile or so of un-navigable waterway which leaves the Leeds & Liverpool where we’re moored and ends at a bridge in Whittle-le-Woods.
It doesn’t look much now but this was the route to Preston and Lancaster and, together with the nine miles from Wigan top lock, the main line of the Lancaster Canal which was incorporated into the L&L. There’s a monument at the end made of locally produced mill-stones, and a plaque describing how they were sent around the world, the journey starting with a canal boat.
Lancashire in the early spring is full of promise of things to come with little packages of bright green shoots ready to burst out everywhere you look. There are snowdrops and crocuses and daffodils and lambs and we feel very good about life. The last couple of days we’ve started off with ice on the canal, but after a full day of sunshine it’s been warm enough to sit out in the well deck with a cup of tea, before coming back inside and lighting the fire as the sun goes down.

We can’t really say that it’s been difficult this winter, or that it has presented us with much in the way of hardship. Just recently we have found ourselves bereft of free firewood and having to use coal, but only because we didn’t bother to stop and collect it when the opportunity arose. If that is the extent of our difficulties you won’t hear us complaining.

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