Friday, 30 September 2022

Melling to Liverpool and back to Haskayne. Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Liverpool's Albert Dock looking fantastic.

Litherland is just over an hour’s boating from the top of the Stanley Dock lock flight...


... so like most boats heading for Liverpool we stopped there for the night before our booking on the link. The moorings are on the off side, behind a locked gate and have full services...


...so we took advantage of the bins, had a good clear out and made room in one of the well-deck lockers for the paddleboards. After that we had a wander down to the docks and back up to the big Tesco that is right behind the moorings.

At eight o’clock the next morning we set off into the city along with Nick and Lynn on Nb Rockyn. Although our booking was for two in the afternoon, Sid, the chief lock keeper, had rung us the previous day and asked if we could be there for ten in the morning. That way the volunteers could work all the in- and out-bound boats through the locks together. We got to the top of the locks just after nine, so we had time for a quick coffee before we were off down the flight. We passed a wide beam in the first pound...


 ...but after that Rockyn and us had the flight, and the rest of the link to ourselves.


Sid gave us the lowdown on the trip along the link and although it was nine years since we’d been, apart from a lot of new buildings going up around it, the link itself hadn’t changed and we remembered most of it. Nick and Lynn hadn’t been before, so we went first, through Stanley Dock and past the fabulous Tobacco warehouse...




... down to the six-sided clock tower that the ships used to set their clocks by as they left the port...


... left into “Sid’s Ditch”, the new channel running parallel to the river...



.... through Prince's dock and the lock at the end...




... under the tunnels with glimpses of the Three Graces on the left and the Pier Head ferry terminal on the right...


... past the Museum of Liverpool and through Mann Island lock into Canning dock.


Then a big u-turn and diagonally across Albert dock, before arriving in Salthouse dock where our mooring pontoon was waiting for us.




Only it wasn’t. There was a big river boat on our designated pontoon in the corner. So, we hovered for a bit (luckily it wasn’t windy) while Ann-Marie had a chat with the skipper and then went to moor up on his pontoon. Apparently, he was on our mooring because he was waiting for a diesel delivery, but we didn’t care because we were now moored on S1 - side-on with a view. Best mooring in the dock. Result.


There was free electric in Salthouse, so we plugged everything in, had a good hoover through and put the washing machine on for the first of numerous hot washes before locking up and taking the train to Ormskirk to pick up Ann-Marie’s new glasses. Yes, Dear Reader, it would have been more sensible to either; a) have them sent to Specsavers in Liverpool, or b) driven over to Ormskirk from Haskayne when we were there, but life is not sensible sometimes, and we had a nice afternoon.


We had a fabulous week in Liverpool, lots of paddle-boarding round the docks...


... a ferry cross the Mersey to Birkenhead...





... visits to the Tate gallery and the Maritime museum...

We saw this picture in the maritime museum of George's Dock in Liverpool's heyday. Just look at all those masts!

... a hop-on hop-off open top bus tour, a cycle ride out to Princes Park for parkrun on Saturday morning... 



... an unexpected visit from Jon, Jo, Sienna and Layla who just happened to be in Liverpool that weekend, and that was all before David and Kate turned up to stay for a couple of nights.

Once our mates were with us we upped the anté. The boys hired a couple of electric scooters and zoomed around the city for a bit while the girls hopped on the tour bus, then we all met up at Paddy’s Wigwam for a look round, followed by starters in the Philharmonic Dining Rooms. Lush. The main course turned out to be an all-you-can-eat Rodizio grill called Fogo Brazil in the Ropewalks.




 Somehow we managed to stagger back to Legend and crashed out for the rest of the afternoon. We had a go at Espresso Martinis in the evening, but quickly realised that the lack of ice, a cocktail shaker and proper glasses did nothing to enhance the experience, so we just settled for Tia Maria and Baileys instead. What’s not to like?

In the morning David had a go on a paddle-board in the dock. He did really well, managing to stand up without too much wobbling, but he did get a dunking before the end. After he’d showered and dried off we went back up to the ropewalks for coffee and cake.


Yes, we know it looks like a sausage with mayo and onion sauce, bit it's actually an eclair.

Then, sadly, it was time for our mates to leave. We waved them off and wandered through the city, around the Cavern Quarter...




 and back to the boat along the riverbank wall. In the evening we had
 a last paddle through the docks before deflating the boards and packing them away.




Early the next morning we were back across the link with Nick and Lynn...


...back up the locks and on to Litherland.

 


They stopped there, but we just used the services then carried on.


Unfortunately we got to Aintree at ten past two, ten minutes after the swing bridge closed for tea-time traffic. If we hadn’t stopped to pick up some fire wood on the way we’d have been fine. Nuts. Never mind, it was a perfect excuse for a granny nap and some IPlayer binging till
the bridge opened again four hours later. We tied up again in Melling and had some delicious Salthouse dock mussels for tea.

Back at Haskayne the next day Dave reunited boat and car then collected some of the plums and hazelnuts that we’d spotted on the way in. The paddle-boards got inflated again; we wanted to get as much use out of them as possible before the weather turned, so we were out on them every morning and evening whenever we could. Rather than pumping them up from scratch each time, we deflated them a bit and kept them on top of the big box when they weren’t being used.


It made navigating a bit interesting, but with all the plants and our usual roof-tat, we’re quite used to peering down the side of the boat to see where we’re going. It is a bit disconcerting for people coming the other way when they can’t see anyone on the tiller, but it means everyone gives us a nice
wide berth.

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