Water levels on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal through Wigan are recovering very slowly as BW struggles to find enough water, following acts of vandalism that drained several pounds last weekend.
The Wigan lock flight is currently closed for the fitting of additional lock ladders. An attempt to let water down from the top of the flight had to be stopped when it was causing levels to drop too far on that pound. BW would normally be able to top up the Wigan levels from the Scholes feeder, but this currently has problems and cannot be used.
BW says that, although water levels have increased slightly, the canal is still un-navigable for any craft. They say they are doing everything they can to restore the water levels as soon as possible and that the ground paddles remain locked to allow water levels to restore and prevent further incidents.
There are reports that men were seen removing trolleys and other scrap objects from the drained canal onto a lorry, presumably to sell for scrap. It is not known whether they were just taking advantage of the empty pounds or whether they were involved in draining them in order to do this. The police are investigating the matter.
Even though not many boaters are using the canal at the moment, with the stoppage on the Wigan flight still in operation, the empty pounds are having a major effect on local waterway businesses. Kittywake Canal Cruises, who operate a trip boat from Wigan Pier, are having to turn away disappointed parties who have booked trips. The working boats Ambush and Viktoria, based opposite Trencherfield Mill, are unable to travel to supply to supply solid fuel, diesel and calor gas to boats along the canal.
BW will issue a further update on Monday 22nd March. Enquiries about this stoppage should be made to BW on 01942 405700.
Photo: Richard Carpenter