We had a bit of a lie in this morning – Sarah was tired from the locks yesterday, and I’d had the start of a migraine in the night so we both welcomed a bit of rest. Luckily the pills did their job so we eventually cast off for the short hop up to Astley Green.
We pulled over 30 minutes later to do a pump out at Brigewater Marina. The owner was great, and did a very thorough job for £12, one of the cheapest we’ve seen. We also got to see the “Floatiest” installation, knitted with 150 hours of volunteer time. The symbols on some of the squares are the old stone masons’ marks from the stonework in the locks and bridges.
After a little more motoring we reached Astley Green, and moored up on pins – any official visitor moorings have been removed, at least temporarily, and a new tarmac towpath has been laid very recently by the looks of things. It was raining and a little chilly, so we escaped to the nearby pub for lunch.
Bodies refuelled, we then went to check out the local colliery museum where they have one of the largest surviving steam winding engines. The sheer scale of it is staggering. The engine was installed in 1912 and ran until the mine was shutdown in 1970, but a team of volunteers have been working on restoring and maintaining it since 1983. In t’s hey day, it would winch up 9 tonnes of coal at nearly 60mph from a depth of 800m every two minutes.
The site was used for some filming of Peaky Blinders, and one of the set designers helped them create a replica miner’s cottage from the early 1900s, which really helped give a feel for what their homes would have been like.
The rain was really coming down by now, so we made our way back to Oliver for some hot drinks and got the stove going to warm us up.
Tomorrow will be another relatively short hop to Leigh for the supermarkets and then probably on to Pennington Flash Country Park.