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Timx

Wigan locks, Leeds and Liverpool canal

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Hi, our plan this year is to go to Liverpool then up the Leeds and Liverpool canal to towards Leeds and back(. I would like to go to York and down the river Trent, but not that confident yet, and the dimensions seem a squeeze).

Our boat is 60' with fenders and rudder it comes to 61.75. So we can go up and down Wigan flight, technically, but looking at some of those leaky gates, it looks a bit scary. Is it worth doing? Will I be risking the boat coming down if the locks are that bad? I know the trip to Liverpool is fine , it's the Wigan and beyond that worries me, any advice greatfully recieved ?

The boat is a semi trad, so another question is, if going through very leaky gates, would it be better to cover the stern in some sort of angular tent to stop water finding its way into engine bay ?i want to have fun, not stress, so it's not a thing I have to do, but would like to me to. Cheers

 

Edited by Timx
Forgot things

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Hire boats with cruiser sterns do it all the time, its not as bad as it looks.

It used to be the fore end that was bad but the gates have had wash plates on for years now. 

  • Happy 1

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There used to be a 64' boat local to here that did Wigan fairly often, but obviously could not share with another 57' boat.  We shared Johnson's Hillock with him a few times on our 45'.

 

You need to ride the tailgate going downhill, and you only get really wet when backing up to allow the gates to open.  Waterproofing the engine bay is a good idea, and decent foul weather gear for the steerer is a must - you will get wet coming down many of the L&L locks - you will get much wetter doing Bingley 5 & 3 rises than on Wigan.

 

We regularly boat the northern canals in company with a 60' boat, and there are no problem locks at that length.  Don't forget that if necessary you can use a lock on your own and place the boat diagonally across the lock to gain an extra foot or so. 

 

In short, it's a great trip and you will enjoy it.  As long as you keep an eye on cills that will be closer than you are used to you will be fine in the locks.

 

  • Happy 1

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I can't claim any experience of doing those locks in a longer boat, but on the specific question of 'is it worth doing'?: yes, IMHO much of that stretch (especially around Skipton) is about as good as it gets in terms of scenic cruising. So don't be too quick to talk yourself out of it.

  • Happy 1

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We came down the flight once in our boat that was 58'6", sharing with another boat so we breasted up and turned our engine off. The water from the top gates shot up the exhaust pipe and filled one cylinder with water. When we tried to restart, it wouldn't turn over but luckily being an old Lister engine we were able to open the decompressor and it turned over while spraying water out of the top. Moral, leave the engine running!

  • Happy 1

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5 hours ago, Timx said:

Thanks for those answers, most reassuring

Just to add another bit of info for you. Last time I did the entire L and L including Wigan I did it in a 57 foot boat in company of a 60 footer. We did every lock together without problems so you will find it a doddle. Those locks used to leak like hell last time I did them but yer boat wont sink unless you do it wrong.

  • Happy 1

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Piece of cake. And the trip to York is well worth the adventure! We carried on to Ripon, not sure of maximum length though.

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56 minutes ago, Nightwatch said:

Piece of cake. And the trip to York is well worth the adventure! We carried on to Ripon, not sure of maximum length though.

Excellent advice. I think Ripon is about 57 footish, we did it in about 90 in a 56 footer but havnt been further than York a few times since then. As you say a lovely trip on the aire, a and c, the selby and Ouse. I also reckon doing a right at Castleford junction and nipping down the calder to Wakey etc as a nice trip.

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1 hour ago, mrsmelly said:

I also reckon doing a right at Castleford junction and nipping down the calder to Wakey etc as a nice trip.

You might as well carry on up the C&H and do either the Hudd or the Rochdale from there though.

 

Although if you go up the Rochdale there are sharks, wolves, pirates, @dmr and @JimRiley!

  • Greenie 1

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I have a had 60 foot boat on the leeds and liverpool for the last 2 years  (y can add 2 feet  if you count the fenders) I ve never been west o Barrowford so I can'tcomment,  but from Barrowford to Leeds I know length is not  a problem for a 60 foot boat .The canal was designed for 62 foot boats. Theres places where I expect to get a bit damp going down in the locks (everywhere but it won't sink y boat)  and if you have an open front deck its gonna get wet going up. I think the shortest lock on that stretch is Lock 39 at Bank Newton but the middle Lock of 3 rise is also a good candidate. Its not like a massive drenching but plan for getting a tad wet . Its easily doable in a  60 foot boat,   By the way The LeedsLliverpool is the nicest canal in the country 

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