Evening Ride Out

18th April 2023

I've had little time over the winter to get out on the mountain bike, which has been gathering dust in the shed. Last weekend I gave it a little service and a wash, and it came up looking like new again. 

We've been lucky enough to have some bright weather over the last few days, and after work I'd planned to hit the towpath and cycle to Haigh Hall and back, which would take me just over an hour or so. Considering that this is my first ride out in months, I might need to add on a few extra minutes.


Ascent: 630 Feet - 192 Metres
Wainwrights: N/A
Weather: Bright End To The Day, Feeling Brisk In The Wind. Highs of 14°C Lows of 9°C
Parking: N/A
Area: Wigan
Miles: 11
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: Explorer 287
Time Taken: 1 Hour 20 Minutes
Route: Leeds & Liverpool Canal - Britannia Bridge - Rose Bridge - Top Lock - Haigh Hall Plantations - Haigh Hall - Pendlebury Lane - Leeds & Liverpool Canal - Haigh Hall Plantations - Whelley Loop Line - Leeds & Liverpool Canal

Map and Photo Gallery

The site of the old Westwood Power Station now Nice-Pak 18:50pm 14°C
It's a lovely sunny Spring evening, but don't be fooled by the sunshine; the temperature is already starting to creep down, helped on by a brisk wind. Found on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal is this modern looking food processing factory, which sits on the site of the old Westwood Power Station, which was demolished in January 1989.

Next I pass over Britannia Bridge.
It's time to let off the gas, ready for the zebra crossing where the canal passes below the A573. I have since learned that Britannia Bridge formed the meeting point where the two ends of the Leeds & Liverpool canal joined up. They had started excavations from both ends, and it was the final connection here that completed it in 1816.

Canal Terrace.
I pass over the zebra crossing where the tow path begins to rise slightly and I drop down a gear not before passing these lovely terraced houses that overlook the canal. What a nice spot!

Climbing the Wigan Flight.
Which is the name given to the 23 locks along this section of the canal that raises, or lowers (depending on your direction of travel) the canal by 50m

The view towards Top Lock.

Former Old Commercial pub.
Which is now being converted into flats with a hint of Wigan's industrial heritage painted onto the side by art teacher Robert Tedaldi, which only took him five days. Locals are loving it.

Top Lock, Leeds & Liverpool canal.
Soon after I arrive at Top Lock, which is one of the places that should have rows of benches because it's so scenic.

Top lock.
Broad Beam locks.

Looking back on Top Lock.
What a stunning evening.

Following the canal towards Haigh Hall.
It's only been a week or so without rain, but the milder midday temperatures are drying this section of towpath just nicely.

As I look back along the canal.

Haigh Plantations.
The uphill sections of the tow path primed me for this section of hilly trail that passes through the plantations. Admittedly, I did stop, but that was only to look at the grey squirrels as they darted between the undergrowth, and trees.

Still plenty of time left before sunset.
Well, about forty minutes which should be enough to get me home before dark.

Haigh Hall Golf Course.
I left the plantations behind and peddled towards Haigh Hall from where I took in the grand views over the golf course towards Wigan.

Rear view of Haigh Hall.
Notice the sun light reflecting in the windows.


Winter Hill and Rivington Pike from School Lane, Haigh Hall.
Brilliant clear views from around ten miles away.

Almost sunset.

Sunset from Pendlebury Lane, Haigh.

All of this was my late father's playground. He grew up on the opposite side of the Haigh Plantations many years ago, and when he was alive, he would bring his two collies down here because 'nothing had changed that much'

It was cooler now, and if I could have gotten away with it, I would have somehow pulled my sleeves down over my hands as the evening temperature prepared for dusk.  Forgetting that it's still Spring and not summer, I was almost benighted as I peddled the six miles home, my front L.E.D. lighting up a spiral section of towpath whilst the decreasing chill clipped at my ears.


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