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
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|
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.
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.
|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
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