Evening Ride Out

24th April 2024

After my bike had sat in the shed for the best part of 2023 this year I've made a conscious effort to get out more so during the week after work which is also a great way to unwind. Trouble is the weather has been so dismal I've not been able to so I used the downtime to upgrade my bike with a new set of forks, beefier Maxxis tyres and other accessories that I won't bore you about.

The fork upgrade from the old Suntour XCM's to the Rockshox wasn't straight forward as the bottom headset had to be changed and the fork steerer tube cut to length, tools that I don't own so I let my local bike shop do it and with the transformation completed last weekend I came home from work tonight with a few hours of evening sunshine and despite the crapiest of days, I hit the pedals for the first time in over a year.


Ascent: 630 Feet - 192 Metres
Wainwrights: N/A
Weather: Bright Sunshine To End The Day. Highs of 11°C Lows of 9°C
Parking: N/A
Area: Wigan
Miles: 11
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: Explorer 27
Time Taken: 1 Hours 10 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

Views up the Wigan Flight 13°C 6:55pm
It had started off a grey and damp day but true to word the forecast changed around mid afternoon leaving a couple of hours of late evening light that you only get at this time of day. Despite this morning's rain the towpath was virtually dry while there's me looking for puddles of mud to christen the new tyres in.


The newly reopened Kirkless Inn.
I remember years ago stopping here with my mate Ste during our weekly bike rides (or booze cruise) whereby we'd stop at every pub we passed for a pint as we cycled by. The Kirkless Inn, right on the towpath of the Leeds and Liverpool canal was the first pub we passed which closed well over ten year ago. Since then the pub had laid dormant but has been refurbished and reopened a couple of months ago. Sadly no pint for me tonight

I arrive at Top Lock.
Top Lock marks the top of Wigan Flight and where the majority of this evenings 630ft of ascent ends. It's mostly flat with just the one hill left to climb as I pass through woodland at Haigh Hall but that's another quarter of an hour away yet.

Top Lock.
Complete with Lock Keepers cabin.

Lock Keepers Cottage.
Top Lock.

Top Lock, Aspull.
The canal takes a change of direction here, as the planned line of the Lancaster Canal went straight on, through Monk Hall Bridge. Only a short, partly dried-up section exists beyond the bridge in the distance.

Heading into Haigh Hall now.
From Top Lock I followed the Leeds and Liverpool canal into Haigh Hall towards Bridge 60 found just around the bend ahead. It's surprisingly quiet out tonight.

Mile Marker, Leeds and Liverpool canal, Haigh Hall.
I won't be travelling that far tonight.

The view along the Leeds & Liverpool canal from Bridge 60, Haigh Hall.
Spot the Grade II listed bridge over on the left which was built in the 1780's on a site called Basin Quay.

Loving the light ...
As I drop it down a gear over a long continuous incline through woodland.

Gorgeous views of the grounds during the golden hour.
I'm sure you already know but the golden hour is the last hour of light before sunset.

Haigh Hall 'The Master Plan'
Wigan Council are planning to restore Haigh Hall to its former glory in a 37.5 million restoration project which will see an art gallery to display £200 million of artworks from the Major family estate. a fine-dining restaurant. an underground cinema and a revamp of the derelict gateway lodges. Good stuff.

Cherry Blossom, Haigh Hall grounds.
I stopped for a quick breather and squirt from my water bottle while taking in the views over Haigh Hall Golf Course as the sun dipped into the treeline on the opposite side. With about half an hour until sunset I left the grounds as I peddled towards two viewing spots that I love along this route.

Here's one.
Looking across this field towards the village of Haigh beyond the woodland.

Well and truly christened now.
Along with my shorts.

And here's the second...
Those familiar with the website may remember this view from previous bike rides, it was taken looking towards Standish and from a place my late dad called his childhood playground. Sadly the gate has lost its post since I was last here but I still love the view.

Bridge 62 Haigh.
With just twenty minutes left before sunset the light intensifies.


Time to head home.

With the sun setting behind me the temperature is already starting to drop and as a precaution I'd packed a pair of gloves but I'd found good pace and didn't want to stop despite my cold hands.

I was umming and erring whether to head out tonight after another long day in work when my body just wanted to put my feet up and end the day on the sofa, but you know what, the tiredness edged away when I found myself on the tips of the pedals enjoying the miles.


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