Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Arrival in Liverpool

Having obtained a cancellation to enable us to visit Liverpool along the new Liverpool Canal Link (opened in 2009), we are now moored in Salthouse Dock in Liverpool’s Dockland and will be here until we leave on Thursday 9 August.  This posting mostly gives our impressions of this new route for narrow boaters.

Last Friday we had a day away from Leo and cycled to the coast at Southport.  Although only 5 or 6 miles away we had to battle the wind to get there.  Here we are on the beach looking North to Blackpool:
Arriving at the sea near Southport

Distant views of Blackpool Tower and Big Dipper

Southport is a real Northern seaside resort with trains along the front, a carousel and small motor boats available to hire in the lagoon behind the sea wall.
Southport Attractions
Later that afternoon, back on Leo, we were passed by this group of rather merry, but very good natured revellers.  The chap on the tiller seemed somewhat more sober and we saw the boat the following day safely moored.

On Sunday morning we set off with five other boats on the journey into Liverpool.  This has to be booked because two chaps from Canals and Rivers Trust have to accompany the boats in order to open two swing bridges and to operate the four Stanley Locks and the two locks in the docks.

Here is the convoy starting out through the first swing bridge at Aintree.
Convoy Liverpool Bound in the rain
The journey is first through Aintree, Litherland and Bootle, areas where litter in the canal is a problem.  We did have to dive down the weed hatch a few times, but did not have the serious problems we had in Manchester or Birmingham.  After around 9 miles you come to the top of the four Stanley Locks.  These were used historically for canal craft to drop down to the docks and for the brave ones to go out onto the Mersey.
Stanley Locks, Birkenhead in the distance on the other side of the Mersey
At the bottom of what are very ordinary canal locks you go under a low bridge and then come out into the huge Stanley Dock.
Stanley Dock
At first you follow a buoyed channel towards the Mersey and then turn left crossing another dock and along a new Central Docks Channel into more wide docks.  By this point the wind was blowing vigorously, making manoeuvring through the bridges a bit tricky. 
Central Docks Channel

Princes Dock - the Liver Building is straight ahead

From here you come into Princes Dock Lock dropping down into a brand new channel that passes through three tunnels one of them under the new Museum of Liverpool.
Heading under the new Museum of Liverpool

Looking back along the new channel - Liver Building to the right

At the end of this new passage which goes right in front of the Liver Building a final lock drops the boat just a foot or so into Canning Dock. 

Canning Dock - the Lightship is in fact a pub, though closed at the moment

From this point the route lies through the Canning Docks, the Albert Dock (full of tourists) and finally into Salthouse Dock where there are narrowboat moorings on some floating pontoons.  Through here we passed a number of fine sailing and other sea going vessels, very different to normal canal cruising.
Albert Dock
A  Viking ship in Albert Dock

Coming into moorings in Salthouse Dock

So here we are right in the centre of Liverpool.  We even have water, a daily rubbish collection and electricity supplied.  Views from the boat are excellent and during the day a loud horn and raucous screams every 20 minutes gives warning that a DUKW is racing down the slipway into our dock and Leo rocks vigorously.
View from Leo

DUKW full of tourists splashing into our dock

This was an excellent and a most unusual day on a canal boat.  We do strongly recommend anyone else to try this.  It is a shame that only 6 boats a day can travel this way: there are plenty of empty berths at the moment.  We have arranged for our friends William and Daphne to join us for our exit from Liverpool next week.  We are enjoying our stay in Liverpool.  Others have told us there is so much to do and we are finding this.  Today we’ve had an open top bus tour, visited the Anglican Cathedral (absolutely huge) and had lunch in a pub where the Gents is Grade 1 listed.  This pub, the Philharmonic Dining Room and one of John Lennon's favourites, was originally a Gentlemens’ Club so the Ladies is not so noteworthy.

1 comment:

  1. South port is an actual North seaside route with trains laterally the front, a merry-go-round and Small Motor Boat Services to employ in the pond ahead the sea barrier.


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