Monday, 13 August 2012

The Leaving of Liverpool

After 10 days seeing the sights of Liverpool and the surrounding area, we finally left the city on Thursday with our friends William and Daphne on board with us for a few days.  As we came out we saw another huge liner, the Caribbean Princess moored at the Pier Head:
Caribbean Princess - seen from the Liverpool Canal Link

Ian, William and Daphne - new cut through docks

Once out of Liverpool, we retraced our steps and then we turned left onto the Rufford Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool.  
Rufford Branch goes left through the arched bridge
This is the branch that canal boats now use to access the Ribble Link as a means of connecting with the Lancaster Canal.  Unfortunately we have been unable to book the Ribble Link so we are saving this for a future year.  Nevertheless we enjoyed journeying down the Branch which has 7 locks down to Rufford  where we spent the night and then visited a National Trust property at Rufford Old Hall.  This is an interesting old house, originally built in 1530 but considerably altered in the 1720’s and the 1820’s.
Rufford Old Hall
After looking around the Old Hall we carried on down to the end of the Branch at Tarleton.  This is a lovely winding and narrow section among the reeds along what was an old course of the River Douglas. 
Rufford Branch
At Tarleton there were seagoing vessels and the lock out onto the tidal River Douglas which is the route to the River Ribble and the North.
Boats at Tarleton

River Douglas to the left and lock to Rufford Branch on the right

Our last night with William and Daphne we spent on a backwater by Appley Locks.  We managed a barbecue despite occasional light rain and this made a fitting end to a good few days with our friends. 
Barbecue at Appley Locks
Today we carried on through Wigan stopping for lunch at a pub called the Orwell at Wigan Pier.  After lunch we said goodbye to William and Daphne and soon turned right on new waters on the Leigh Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool.  We are moored tonight near Dover Locks where there used to be two locks.  Because of mining subsidence the scenery round here has changed dramatically.  Where there were fields there are now lakes and the two locks were moved to more secure ground at Wigan so there are no locks here any more.

Here to finish is a picture of our flowers and of a wild garden on a lock gate we passed earlier today.
Petunias, Fuschia and variegated plant we rescued from the canal

Wild Garden in a lock gate at Wigan

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