We have been lucky today as once we started off we came across another boat that was just setting off. As there were to be lots of bridges today it meant that we would be sharing them. It was lucky that we were a bit late setting off this morning. Most of the bridges are through Maghull the last suburb of Liverpool so once clear we would have completed our breakout. It was good to be underway even if it was overcast and cold. It had been raining a lot of the night but stopped just before we set off.
One of our luck bridges as the other boat stopped to open it. We traveled on and had the next one open for them. This one is a fully automatic one where you just insert a key and press the button. Some you have to push across your self and some are half automated.
The Leeds Liverpool Canal has become nice and wide. Even down to Liverpool the water was nice and clear but there was a lot of drifting rubbish on the water. The tow paths were relatively clear but there was loads of floating garbage in the water. There were also lots of irises and lilies just coming out. Clear of the suburbs the rubbish disappears ans reeds and rushes appear more and restrict the width of the canal in places. Above you can see we have just past a widening of the canal. These are called winding holes (as in a breeze, not what you do to a clock). It is where you are able to turn round as for a lot of boats the canal is not wide enough to turn. I think the name comes from using the wind to help to turn. In the distance you can see a vertical white stripe painted on the bridge. This seems to be done where there are wide beam charity boats using the canal. There are many charities set up that have adapted to take people for a trip on the canal. On the Leeds Liverpool, at this end, There are at least two. They are wide beam vessels that have been adapted to take wheel chairs and do a great job. The bridge holes are quite narrow for them and as they have vulnerable passengers they have to make sure that they don't cause them to fall over by hitting the sides of the bridge holes. As it is a wide beam from the central steering position they can not see down either side of the boat so hey seem to paint the line on each bridge to make the centre of the gap under the bridge.
In a previous blog I told that this section of the canal was where the first sod was broken in its construction. Close to the actual spot a sculpture has been sited, at the bridge at Halsall. It is very striking and is called the Halsall Navvy and is dedicated to the largely Irish workforce who dug the canal manually. It was completed in 2004. The sculpture was crafted by Thompson Dagnall who has made many items of public art. he was born in Liverpool in 1956 and so is a local. He has also been commissioned two other pieces for the Ripple Link at Preston.
Just a little further on we actually came across one of the Charity trip boats 'The Pride of Sefton'. I'm not sure what was going on as there were two hardy soles togged up against the elements on the bow whilst everybody else was inside tucking in to a lunch! We decided to stop near Scarisbrick Marina again, and again our luck held as no sooner where we tied up and with the kettle on than the rain started.