This section was originally intended to be part of the Lancaster Canal and to run to Westhoughton or even, in one plan, to Worsley where it would have joined up with the Bridgewater Canal and this is the way you go (for 100 metres or so) if you don't turn right for the locks.
Nicholson's Guide says that the locks are now "not as daunting as they once where." I'm not sure what they've done to take the "daunt" out of them though as two broken paddles and one left slightly open by a previous boater meant that it took us over 20 minutes to get through the top lock and a quick calculation showed that as this rate we still be going through after dark.
Things did improve after that although many of the gates were leaking badly
as were some of the lock walls
The top half of the flight has a veneer of rurality about it, although one suspects that behind the trees the semi-industrial landscape of south Lancashire is never far away.The surroundings become more urban as you descend and approach the town centre, although even here things are not as gloomy as you might expect. Expectations (or is it experience?) of security issues have presumably lead the inhabitants of this former lock cottage to take quite heavy-duty precautions although the owners of these more modern dwellings a few metres away don't share their concerns (or, again, perhaps their experience?)
Being banned from lock work I had to concentrate on the steering - and making the occasional cup of tea for Kristine and Bernard. I also had plenty of time to observe the locks at close quarters and to see that they are actually numbered in two seperate series - the present-day system, under which the locks are numbered from the Leeds end and an older system ( OK, I know its not that old) under which the numbers run uphill from Wigan!
The photo was taken the following morning, after which we had to be on our way as these obviously desireable moorings (with a noisy recycling depot behind the wall) have a 24 hour limit!