Sunday 16 June 2019


Today's Canal - Leeds and Liverpool

At six o'clock, a brief glimpse through the curtains showed a very bright blue sky. Sleep returned but it was a disappointment later to re-awake and find that grey clouds had now arrived! As planned, we set off up the main hill in good time to find the 10:15 service at the village church.

The present building, together with a school and parsonage, were built in the 1980's. In 1897 a small school and mission hall were built close to the canal but by the latter part of the 20th century were becoming in need of extensive renovation. The location is a little odd but was probably dictated by the availability of land - controversial we heard as the then locals did not want an incursion into 'their green belt'! As a result there are but a few houses nearby and quite a gap from the rest of the village. Were it not for the school, the church would perhaps been even less visible to the present generation!

Inside, the building is modern and light - although the ceiling is rather low! On the walls there are a few items that came from the former mission hall. We received a very warm welcome and there was a congregation of nearly fifty including a number of young children. The service was conducted by a Reader and a retired priest that helps with the parish. The words were all shown on a screen.

We were really impressed (even if the chairs gave Christine backache!) and surprised by just how much they are able to achieve. The parish of Appley Bridge is now linked with the nearby parish of Parbold. One thing we did learn was how to pronounce Maghull, the place on the canal just outside Liverpool. We had been putting the stress on the first syllable but, wrong, it should be on the second (making it sound a bit like Magoo)

After the service when we were chatting some other members one kindly offered to give us a lift back down to the canal - how could we refuse! (Even if we had been looking forward to it being downhill after the climb earlier) She pointed out to us where the old school and church had been. Looking at the old maps, the building which is now a private residence was the school and the mission hall has now completely disappeared.

By the time we returned to the boat, sunshine had broken through and we felt in no hurry to move immediately. After a cup of coffee we deemed it almost lunch time anyway!

The only lock of the day was Appley Lock, only a short distance from our overnight mooring. A family with three young children were eager to watch and were quickly recruited to helpers. It turned out that they had arrived on a hire day boat from Burscough but were about to turn around below the lock. Alas, as we were about half way through emptying the lock a very heavy shower arrived. Hence we managed no photos of the lock itself.

As quickly as it arrived, the rain disappeared as we left the lock and so we did manage a shot of the lower of the two newer locks which were built to duplicate the older single, but very deep, lock. However, it is the older lock that remains in use today.

Around a bend, just as we had passed under a bridge we were 'Ambushed' - or at least we had to manoeuvre around one of the old Liverpool short boats that are still kept in working order. Although looking large and cumbersome, it did seem to be surprisingly able to navigate around restricted spaces.

This stretch of canal, through the Douglas Valley, is very green and remarkably pretty. Just after we passed through Parbold we slowed down for a long line of fishermen, although most were in the process of packing up as their competition had now ended.

A little later we saw this escapee of cultivated lilies - very different from the more common wild ones. Another shower threatened after a few drops of rain so We moored up before the first of the swing bridges into Burscough having made sure that we were facing a gap in the trees that could 'see' the tv satellite. Of course, now the sun came out.

3.7 Miles - 1 Lock

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