Sunday, May 23, 2010

The last leg…

Apart from the odd emergency vehicle sirening it’s way across the bridge in front of us, we had an undisturbed night last night. I admit to having had some misgivings; there were a lot of folk around here yesterday, some till quite late. But it was a warm Saturday evening so that’s to be expected.

There’s an area of yet-to-be developed scrub and woodland between the road and Aintree Racecourse, and Meg and I had a walk around there, and alongside the famous track, this morning.

Not a lot happening at 07:30 on a Sunday morning….

We got back, had breakfast and I was just checking out engine fluid levels ready for today’s trip when a convoy of boats appeared in the distance. It turned out we were not to be travelling solo today after all. In fact there were seven of us heading to the docks.

Waiting to get away.
The arrivals are all members of the Mersey Motor Boat Club, based in Lydiate, and had left at 7 this morning to get here on time.BW were keen to get us going, so we were through the bridge and away at just before 09:00.

On our way, we’re on point.
The route takes you through Aintree, Litherland and Bootle, and there’s a lot of greenery along the banks.
There’s also quite a bit between the banks, with water lilies and reeds extending out into the channel.Still, the growth gives good cover for the water fowl, there’s a lot of chicks around.

Poor picture of Mum carrying cygnets. Not enough room for the last two…

The bright sunshine was playing havoc with my camera settings, hence the very high contrast.

BW are responsible for opening the last swing bridge at Netherton, and then it was a clear run to Stanley Locks, with a brief stop at the BW depot at Litherland to empty a loo and get rid of rubbish.

Netherton Swing Bridge
BW Litherland.

Coming into Bootle most of the green stuff is left behind, and the canal runs through a typical post-industrial area, with empty canalside warehouses, and small units in those that are occupied.

Through Bootle
Just above the Stanley Lock flight though, redevelopment has taken place, and there are smart new houses and open spaces either side of the canal.
The basin, at the end of a short arm, has secure moorings. When the link was first opened the trip in took 2 days, with an overnight stop here. But it was more difficult to manage, so now it’s all done in one.

Eldonian VillageAlthough we were the second boat to arrive at the locks, we had to wait for the next locking down. There was room in the broad locks for all three of the cruisers at once and they went down first.

Stanley Locks. The Tobacco Warehouse is in the background
We were out of the flight and in the dock complex by about 1 o’clock.

Crossing Stanley Dock
The Victoria Clock Tower at the end of Collingwood Dock. We turn left here, parallel to the river.You can just make out a line of orange bouys. These are the channel markers you follow through the docks. They don’t want you to get lost…

There’s a new channel been cut through the in-filled Trafalgar Dock….

Central Docks Channel

Taking boats into West Trafalgar Dock, then through to Princes Half-Tide Dock.

Princes Half-Tide Dock
You catch the first view of the Liver Building here. The new Princes Dock Lock is through the next gap, across Princes Dock.

Princes Lock in the distance.
Out of Princes Lock there’s a series of new channels through tunnels under the developments around Pier Head, and the new Museum of Liverpool.

The Liver Building from the canal.
Cunard Tunnel
Museum Basin

Port of Liverpool Building
The second of the 2 new locks is at Mann Island, and the flotilla had to congregate here to wait for the all-clear from the Harbour Master before locking through into Canning Dock.

Waiting for Mann Island Lock.
The new channels are left behind as the route swings round through Canning Dock…

Canning Half-Tide Dock….

And into Albert Dock
Then finally under the last bridge into Salthouse Dock

Mooring Pontoons at Salthouse Dock
We got ourselves berthed, and I took Meg for a walk around the dock. There are 3 ex WWII amphibious vehicles carrying passengers around the docks, and they use the slipway behind our mooring. On such a glorious day they were well patronised, and the customers (and I suspect, the crews) were enjoying the spray from the entry into the water.

One of the “Quacker Whackers” going in. We’re moored on the right.
The guides encourage the passengers to sing as they climb back out up the slip. The song? Not entirely appropriately – Yellow Submarine!

We really enjoyed the run through the docks. Something entirely different from our usual cruising.
We’re here now till Thursday morning. A bit of exploring to do, I reckon.

A very long post, this. Sorry about that. But a lot to see around here….

Locks 6, miles 11½


Anonymous said...

Wow, that looks fantastic. It'll definitely be on our crusing 'must-do' list (which is already quite long but Liverpool looks spectacular!).


Sue, Indigo Dream

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi Sue
Not finished exploring the docks yet, museums tomorrow I reckon. We'll have to come again to do justice to the city itself!