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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Photo-a-Day Archive
Photo-a-Day Archive

Photo-a-Day  (Thursday, 28th February, 2013)

Narrow boats

Narrow boats
Narrow boats at Crooke.

Photo: Jeff Haydock  (Nikon D90 Tokina 12-24mm)
Views: 4,264

Comment by: Mick on 28th February 2013 at 00:03

The water looks very brown.

This spot was where people you do there kebbing.

Comment by: Janice on 28th February 2013 at 00:40

Great shot Jeff. Lovely composition and colouring. I have only been to Crooke once and went in the pub. Sorry to say it was less than impressive. Very grubby and drab. It could be made into a nice place and the surrounding canal bank a nice place for visitors to sit.

Comment by: Lizziedownunder on 28th February 2013 at 01:08

Jeff what a great picture.....I called them barges and got into trouble.....narrow boats they are.....wonderful.....cheers!!

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 28th February 2013 at 04:16

Very colourful, Jeff! The fenders are prominent, see:-
Definition of fender:-

Comment by: maggie on 28th February 2013 at 10:05

A barge is the cargo boat which was towed by the narrow boat. These were also where the boaters lived. In the Canal museum at Ellesmere Port, there is a complete interior of one, fascinating.

Comment by: Gary on 28th February 2013 at 11:52

The water is that colour because of the type of soil in the area. It isn't pollution or anything like that.
It may be hard to believe, but canal water is now of a very high grade. A different story to what it was in the 1960s!

Comment by: Loz on 28th February 2013 at 13:29

I remember an old guy who used to refer to the Leeds and Liverpool canal as the 'dog broth'.

Comment by: Janice on 28th February 2013 at 14:41

The Bridgewater Canal in Worsley is the same Gary. Apparently the orange colour comes from iron ore in the ground.

Comment by: Mick on 28th February 2013 at 17:05

Gary Im an expert on canals, tow paths, barges,and the colour of the canal water and I agree with you it is cleaner because there no factory mucky water flowing into it now.

And in the Crooke area thers no soil are clay that colour to change the colour of the water.

So Im thinking only way the water as changed to brown is because the photo as bee titilated.

Comment by: Dave Marsh on 28th February 2013 at 18:05

Taken from an excellent angle,Jeff.

Comment by: Rev David Long on 28th February 2013 at 18:13

maggie - 'barge' is normally used to describe a canal boat of 14' and wider. 'Narrow boat' is used to describe one of no more that 7' wide. The terms are used to describe the size of the boat, not its function. Some barges and narrow boats are cargo boats, but many barges, and most narrow boats in use on our canals nowadays, are pleasure craft.
The only narrow boats I know which regularly towed barges were the tugs owned by the Bridgewater Department of the Manchester Ship Canal Company.
I think what you make have seen at Ellesmere Port is a butty - the dumb, or engineless narrow boat pulled by another narrow boat with an engine. Both would have carried cargo, and have had accommodation for the boater and his family. Or you may have been inside Friendship, which was owned by Joe Skinner and was drawn by a mule.

Comment by: Jefff Haydock on 28th February 2013 at 18:40

Thank you for the comments. Mick I have checked the original of this shot and the water is this colour.

Comment by: dave johnson on 28th February 2013 at 19:18

So good to know that we have a Canal EXPERT on the boards?

Comment by: Rev David Long on 28th February 2013 at 20:24

30 years of narrow boating, chairman of a canal society for over 25 years.... Not an EXPERT, but I'm very interested in our canals.

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 28th February 2013 at 21:36

Rev David, I think that dave johnson is referring to Mick`s comment at 17:05.

Comment by: Mick on 28th February 2013 at 22:15

I walked to Wigan this morning and went past this location and the canal was a mucky grey colou just like it always is.

Only reason its brown on the photo is because the colour of the photo as been touched up.

I stick my photo og what the canal looked like this morning on Photos of Wigan section of the forum.

Comment by: Jean F (Wales) on 28th February 2013 at 22:37

Lovely picture , glorious colours,summer will soon be here!

Comment by: josie on 28th February 2013 at 22:48

lizzie, i too have allways called them barges i think its a thing you are brought up with iv' e just asked my hubby what do you call the boats on the canal and he said a barge ha , i told him about comments and he said yea they are long boats but we call um barges ha .

Comment by: Mick on 28th February 2013 at 23:15

If you have done all that Rev you should know as much as me.

Comment by: Ellen on 28th February 2013 at 23:29

This is all really interesting. Did this narrow boat culture exist when I lived in the area? I don't remember anything about it. (I left England in 1966, but had not lived in the Wigan area, except to visit, since 1957)

Comment by: Art on 1st March 2013 at 01:16

Both wide beam & narrow beam "keel-less" boats are classed as barges

Comment by: Art on 1st March 2013 at 01:21

Another definition of Fender...

De lights went out
De po was full
So I did it in de fender...;o)

Comment by: Gerald Pilkington Canada on 2nd March 2013 at 00:12

Looks like double parking

Comment by: Gerald Pilkington Canada on 2nd March 2013 at 00:19

lizzie downunder i call them a barge you can also , they are not coming to australia or canada to correct you, i hope not LOL

Comment by: Dave (Oy) on 2nd March 2013 at 21:22

Lovely shot that Jeff!

Comment by: Rev David Long on 2nd March 2013 at 22:04

Ellen - when you left in 1966 the canals were being closed (the Sankey in 1963), or just simply neglected. Most boats seen in the Wigan area at the time were barges, mainly carrying coal to local mills and power stations. Narrow boats from the rest of the system (i.e. south of Preston Brook, or the Ashton Canal) would find coal to load before they reached Wigan, so they would be infrequent visitors here. Art's right - all these craft are technically 'barges', but the term 'narrow boat' has long been used for those barges of 7' and under.
As for the 'narrow boat culture' - when you left the area most pleasure craft would have been converted ships' lifeboats - being readily available when ships were being broken up on the Mersey. Canal photos of this area from that period show lines of them moored up in places like Parbold and Lydiate. Some ex-working narrow boats were converted further south - often being cut in half to form two boats of about 40' length. Others added extra living space to small fibreglass cruisers originally built as sea-fishing boats. In the 1970s people began to commission purpose-built narrow boats as leisure craft. Canal boating is a contact sport - and steel craft are best able to cope with the inevitable minor collisions with other boats, lock entrances, bridges, etc.. This really took off in the 1980s, and there are now over 30,000 on the system. This has inevitably led to the canals being better maintained - and to abandoned canals being reopened - such as the Rochdale Canal and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in our region - and even new links being built, such as the one to make the isolated Lancaster Canal accessible via the River Ribble, and the Liverpool Pier Head link between the North and South Docks. Marinas to provide moorings have also proliferated - locally at Boothstown and on the site of Bickershaw Colliery.

Comment by: Whitty on 11th March 2013 at 22:36

I'm a volunteer at Ellesmere Port Boat Museum. I haven't seen any buttys' there but I have been on the Shard which is a 70 footer and has space at the stern for the familly o live in - its absolutely tiny - then there is the engine room which is bigger, then the cargo hull and then the bow at the front. I was going to have a steer of it last month but we felt the boat wasn't behaving well - and of course these old boats do not have a weed hatch where one can clear the propellor without having to take it out of the canal!

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