After we wave goodbye to Swansong and Ian, we start the last stages of this year’s adventure.
With nobody to help us, and nobody to join with, we have to do the Wigan Flight on our own. Me on the tiller, Lawrance doing the locks.
The locks are as hard as four days ago, some of the ponds are again very low on water, and the locks didn’t suddenly change shape or size.
But going down with a 60 ft narrowboat is more difficult than going up steering two breasted up narrowboats. Did WRT get a clean nose in most of the locks? Well, that same amount of water falls just on the stern deck, when one is in the lock the opposite way around. And because we never bother to clean the drains under the stern deck, all that water goes straight into the bilge. After three locks I decide to stop. We have to pump out the boat now, or we’ll end up with a 60 ft indoor swimming pool.
Bilge empty, drains cleaned I manage to steer away from the worst waterfalls, while I’m in the lock. Trying not to let the Wigan Manneke Pis* pee straight into the engine vents.
At Lock 75 we get help from CRT. They have to. The lock door is in such a state that it needs three strong guys to open and close it. They also tell us that there is a boat behind us. With a volunteer! So we decide to wait for them, and we start our lunch. When, after an hour, there is still no boat in sight, we just go on on our own.
Once in Wigan we call it a (cruising) day. We still have to pump out the boat (again), and Crooke is another four locks away. Tomorrow is another day.
*Manneke Pis: a small bronze sculpturein Brussels, depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain’s basin.