From Crabtree Swing Bridge No 32 to Astley Bridge No 58, a distance of 22 miles, 3¾ flg and 8 locks.

It was another quiet morning when we set off, the start of the Easter weekend so probably a little early to expect a lot of boats on the move, but we saw a couple at Burscough and when we got back to Glover’s Swing Bridge No 33  the broken down boat was not there which was probably a good thing as there was a single handed boat coming down the canal.  Parbold was pretty quiet and we got through Appley lock with no real problems but we got stuck in a queue at Dean Locks No 90, where if the second lock had still been in working order we could have gone through it and got past the boat that was being really slow. We worked through Dean and through Hell Meadow Lock No 89  and  Pagefield Lock No 88 with another boat and then we had to wait round at Wigan Bottom Lock No 87  for a couple of boats to come down. I walked ahead to the next lock but had to come back because we’d run aground on something and in the rocking and tilting to get off what ever it was the engine decided to stop. Nick and I dug out the spanners and found that the fuel lines and fuel filter were full of a mix of water and sludge. Mintball had fallen foul of the dreaded diesel bug, that and obviously some dodgy diesel somewhere in the past few years and when we’d tipped over it had put the intake line into the gloopy mess.

So we emptied the fuel filters, and manually primed the pump to get any sludge out of the lines and then we opened up the lines to the injectors and manually bled those out before cranking the engine and closing each injector in turn. The engine started with a lot of smoke and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the battery ammeter read that sort of charge for that length of time for quite a while.

The weather had turned pretty dismal by now and it was a wet and miserable Wigan we said farewell to as we dropped down onto the Leigh Branch.

We met quite a lot of boats heading towards Wigan, It looked like most of Sale Cruising Club were out for the Easter weekend and it actually made a nice change to see people on the move. The wind on the section past Dover Lock  was as bad as it had been a couple of days earlier and with the rain adding to the mix it wasn’t really the most enjoyable of afternoons.  We met another convoy of boats just after we had passed through Plank Lane Bridge No 8, again from Sale Cruising Club.

There was a large group of teenage (just) kids hanging out under Leigh Bypass Road Bridge No 9A , not sure what they were doing or going to do, and I think we’ll leave that at that.

We stopped for the night just before Astley Bridge No 58  where there are no official moorings but the canal is deep and the bank is good. There are two pubs in Astley Green, both quite near the canal, we went to the one furthest from the canal and nearest to the mining museum. The pub had a good range of Real Ale and a pretty impressive food menu too. It was lively and had an “irish duo” in who actually played a lot of non irish stuff including Green Day.

So why Rickrolled for the title of this entry? Well we did stop at Rick Astley Green didn’t we ?

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