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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Blowing into Liverpool.

It was blowing a gale when we got up and it was raining too! I made the tea at 0630 and we were off by 0750 as we had a little way to go to be at the starting point for our descent into Liverpool. We thought we would have breakfast when we got there. Just before we set off the rain stopped luckily. We had just finished our breakfast when the Canal and River Trust men knocked on the roof and asked for our papers. What papers? I only had the verification on the email on the laptop. That was soon sorted and off we started just before 0900.

We set off through the first bridge. We are third in the convoy of five. Not the new tub off flowers on the deck.

The weather was dry but very cold in the wind. Helen was wearing her entire wardrobe to ward off the hypothermia.

The canal wends its way round Aintree, (we could see the grandstand from our overnight mooring but when we passed we couldn't see anything over the fence, Litherland, and Bootle. At first there were the suburbs and Rimrose Valley Country Park that was a large green open wild park land. You eventually run into industry and the above shows one of the covered berths and a warehouse, sadly unused now.

Passing under Boundary Bridge with Leigh Bride in the distance. It seems that these lovely bridges were provided by the Liverpool Council Health committee for some reason.

Information Badge on the bridges by the Health Committee.

The canal takes a 90 deg turn at Eldonian Village and then there is a flight of four locks. We were now No.2 in the convoy as another had stopped to empty their cassette loo at Litherland. That meant we slipped into the first pen of the locks. The C&RT workers worked the locks so it was just a case of not colliding with the other boat and Helen taking pictures and helping with the gates. Once down the locks we were in 'Pneumonia Alley'. This was the name given to this dock as it is nearly always in shade and the warehouses act as a wind tunnel.

'Pneumonia Alley'. On the left is the Tobacco Warehouse and the right the North Stanley Dock Warehouse. The North Warehouse was built in 1846. It is currently being converted into a large 4* hotel. The whole of the Stanley Dock area is a conservation area and business enterprise area.

The Tobacco Warehouse was built by the Mersey Dock Estate, started in 1900 and completed in 1901. At that time it was the largest building in the world, by area, and is still thought to be the largest brick built building in the world. It took 27 million bricks to build and covers 36 acres. Luckily it is a Grade II listed building. It fell out of it's original use in the 1980's. For a long time the only use found was for a weekly heritage market to be run in the ground floor. Plans have been passed for the building to be converted into 335 apartments. As the ceiling heights are not great each will be given a mezzanine floor. There are plans to 'hollow out' the middle of the building to add light and give a courtyard area. It is a very awe inspiring sight as you just come across it.

Under the Stanley Dock lift bridge with the Tobacco Warehouse in the background and enjoying the challenge in going almost sideways in the 35kt wind blowing across the dock.

Victoria Tower on the river wall between the Salisbury Dock Locks. The Tower is actually a Gothic Clock Tower built between 1847 and 1848 and built at the same time as the locks. It was originally built to give an accurate time for the ships passing in the river to set their chronometers and also display meteorological warnings and fog signals. It was also called the 'Dockers Clock'. It is Grade II listed and is currently under refurbishment.

The new Liverpool skyline from West Waterloo Dock.

Approaching the penultimate lock in Princes Dock.

After the lock you pass through a tunnel and then when you are clear you are going past the Pier Head Museums. As the weather was so bad luckily we didn't have too many spectators to watch to see if I made a mistake in the wind.

Just as we pass the Mersey Ferry Terminal we were welcomed to Liverpool by a fly past of the Red Arrows. They were on their way to the Whitehaven Festival. It is so windy I doubt that they would be able to carryout too much of a display. Later I think a Spitfire or Hurricane flew over. I was a little busy missing a dock wall as I was entering the last lock.

The last lock has two sets of gates, the first is canal gate and the second is for the levels in the big docks. This goes up and down a bit with the tides.

Once out of the lock you are in Canning Dock. The Liverpool Bar Light Vessel is preserved here as well as an old pilot cutter. You now have to go hard a st'bd to approach Albert Dock. The wind was very strong here.

Albert Dock is the tourist hot spot of the dock area. The level in Albert Dock and the dock complex to the south is maintained by the single revolving gate that can be seen under the bridge. We had to wait until it was flat to the sea bed and the traffic light changed.

Here we go through into Albert Dock. The job isn't over yet as we had to pass through into Salthouse Dock. Then there was the small matter of reversing on to a finger pier up into the wind. All was accomplished with no loss of life of equipment!

Our berth is next to the green/cream boat just to the right of the bow. Liverpool 1 Shopping Centre is just over the road.

We were finally tied up at 1345 so nearly five hours from start to finish, plus the first little bit to get to the start! After a quick bite to eat we filled up the water tank and headed into Liverpool to buy a paper and some milk. We will now have to plan our next five days here to get the most out of our time.


  1. Oh Helen you look frozen! And a 6.30 start! I thought you were on holiday?! The planter looks good though, pleased you found some plants. Enjoy Liverpool.

    1. Hi Ann?,
      It wasn't a 0630 start for Helen as I got up then to make her tea and she didn't surface until 0700. It wasn't actually that cold unless you were in the wind. Unfortunately there was a lot of wind!