I’m at the tiller, and Lawrance is windlassie. Not that there are any locks. But there is Park Lane Swing Bridge. This time I stay with the boat, while Lawrance opens the bridge. Once the bridge is up, I push the boat off the bank, jump on the stern, and steer her through the bridge. I park up nicely, just after the bridge, so Lawrance can jump back on.
We’re on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, and bridges have numbers again. After Dover Lock Inn we are in unfamiliar terrain. Dover was the furthest point we got to last year, not willing to do the locks at Wigan.
Just before the Poolstock Lock 2 there is a guy walking on the towpath. He’s dressed in a blue shirt, with a red life vest over it. I think: Canal & River Trust. When he motions me to slow down, I think: Did I cruise too fast? Will I get a speeding ticket? But no, we have the biggest problem a boater can face: no water in the canal. We know we are on a steep learning curve, but it is getting steeper and steeper.
Overnight someone drained the canal in the Douglas Valley. The someone either being kids, and angry boater or maybe an angry former C&RT employee. The result: not a lot of water left in the canal between Poolstock Lock 1 and Pagefield Lock. We have to moor at Poolstock Lock 2, and might be stuck here for a couple of days. Luckily there is a pub nearby, unfortunately though they don’t do meals. But the landlady provides us with addresses of restaurants in Wigan. A taxi (£3) takes us to Franco’s Italian Restaurant, where we have a absolute delicious three-course meal for only £11.95. I can almost ‘drink’ my salmon in white wine sauce.