At ten o’clock we are allowed to start cruising again, as long as we try to conserve water. This means sharing the locks. With two long narrowboats and one small narrowboat ready to move, the two long ones, 5G and WRT, will share the locks. Did I say: steep learning curve? When we passed nb 5G, down at Park Lane Swing Bridge, Terry was painting the boat, so I’m a bit afraid of damaging his fresh paintwork when entering the lock. But I don’t have to worry, he only painted the hand rails.

The first part of the journey, between the last lock in Wigan and Pagefield Lock, the water level in the canal is still a bit low. I scrape the bottom many a time. But I make sure I follow Terry exactly, with my foot on the brake, so to speak. If he makes it, I will make it. If he get’s stuck, I’ll slam on the anchors.

Appley Lock is the last lock; after that, and after lunch in Parbold, it’s only swing bridges. Lawrance is at the tiller, I’m doing the swing bridges (How I love to stop those b****y cars…!).

We stop at Heaton’s Bridge for the night. There is mooring space and, even more important, a pub. Nicholson tells us: a friendly, unspoilt canalside pub. Real ales, together with inexpensive, traditional pub food served all day, every day. Terry and Lynne from 5G must have the same guide, because they moor here shortly after us.

But unfortunately the every day is not correct; no food on a Tuesday. So we end up drinking, and all the results of it.

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