|All the pies you could wish for and no Greggs in sight|
That's the legend. The fact is that the town abounds in quality independent pie shops. You don't need to buy a greasy Greggs offering here.
We took a day off from boating after coming up the flight and went back into the town by bus. Wigan is a rough and ready northern industrial town that has struggled back from losing its historical employment props of mining and milling. Today it still doesn't look a wealthy place but major employers like HJ Heinz and Girobank in the town. And plenty of pies.
|Wigan is also known for its traditional sweets|
|And you can get a decent range of traditional bangers too|
I did steer well clear of another market delicacy - tripe. Cow's stomach linings (apparently green before being cooked pre-sale into a watery white) don't really appeal to my stomach linings. Apparently it's the stall's best seller to those with stronger stomachs than mine.
|Or tripe, if your stomach can handle stomach linings|
Away from foodstuffs we found a remarkable charity bookshop in one of the shopping arcades. Wigan Book-Cycle lets customers choose up to three books a day and pay whatever they wish to donate for them. Funds raised have allowed them to send over 350,000 free books to schools and orphanages round the world and help plant trees in the local area. It's a local charity, devised by one person and run entirely by volunteers, but is slowly spreading out with mini book cycles bookshelves in bars and shops as well as bigger shops.
|Book-Cycle: a terrific local charity venture|
|So that's cheers to Wigan from me|
PS I didn't take The Road to Wigan Pier: the area surrounding the long vanished coal loading staithe of George Orwell's book is being redeveloped.