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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2015: Day 31

Posted by indigodream on 2 November, 2015

Rewind to Friday 4th September

Aintree (Hancock’s Swingbridge) to Salthouse Dock, Liverpool

And we're off - through Hancock's swingbridge and on our way to Liverpool...

And we’re off – through Hancock’s swingbridge and on our way to Liverpool…

It was a fine morning and we were up early to walk the hounds and get ready for the arrival of the CRT team at 9am. They arrived around 9.15am and we made them coffees “to go”. The CRT had sent two genial young men to swing the bridge – I think you need a sunny disposition when you’re about to stop the traffic on a busy road – at least it wouldn’t take long for just two boats to get through!

There is a lengthy stretch of suburban canal before the next swingbridge, which was also attended by CRT. We enjoyed the cruise, not least because it goes past the race course at Aintree, site of the Grand National – whether you love or hate the race, it’s an iconic site.

I should note that CRT only swing the road bridges, there is one footbridge which boaters do themselves. However, ifΒ  you’ve crossed the Leeds and Liverpool canal to get here, you’ve had plenty of experience of swinging bridges πŸ™‚

We said goodbye to our cheerful CRT helpers at Netherton swingbridge, there would be a different crew at

Rummaging at Stanley Locks...

Rummaging at Stanley Locks…

Stanley Locks.Β  We had plenty of time to spare before our booked passage time, so we stopped at the Litherland service point and visitor moorings to get rid of rubbish, fill with water and give the hounds a bimble. There is a mega-Tesco next to the moorings so this is a very useful place to take on supplies if you need them. There were two boats on the visitor mooring with space for more; it’s a useful secure mooring for those not wanting to do the passage into Liverpool in one day.

Once we were ready, we headed off to the Stanley Locks – I was excited – I’ve been here before, I couldn’t wait to see it again and was anticipating Richard’s reaction as a first-timer.

We joined another boat at Stanley locks, nb Ascot, who had spent a quiet night on the Litherland visitor moorings. Our overnight companion had vanished – I suspect that their quick run into Tesco’s at Litherland too longer than anticipated. Although we were an hour early for our booked passage down the locks, the locking crew allowed us to join nb Ascot instead. I was pleased not to be delayed because I was so excited about cruising the Liverpool Link again. The Beanz took it in their stride, they’ve wee’d here before and were soon begging to come back on board πŸ™‚

This is where the trip gets really interesting...

This is where the trip gets really interesting…

The trip didn’t disappoint, if anything, it was even more thrilling the second time around as our passage down to sea level (well almost!) had been preceded by the heights of the Rochdale summit – marvellous!

I’ll let the photos tell the story of the link, but as we came into Liverpool, the waterfront was alive with the story of the sunken pirate ship in Albert Dock. Apparently it started to take on water overnight and sank in the early hours of the morning before the owner could save her. Luckily no-one was hurt, though there may be some disappointed visitors who had expected to visit the ship during “pirate weekend”.

There were quite a few narrowboats moored in Salthouse Docks – we felt we belonged there – though the docks are not quite as frantic now that the ill-fated duck tours aren’t whizzing up and down the slipway. But I barely noticed the boats because as we moored I spotted that the water was chock of jellyfish! Watching jellyfish became part of the dock’s entertainment – I’ve never seen so many of quite so close. I found out that they were “moon jellyfish” – there’s an interesting article about them here, and a little knowledge increased my fascination.

The Liver Building - now we know we're in Liverpool :-)

The Liver Building – now we know we’re in Liverpool πŸ™‚

The hounds were not interested in the jellyfish, but they were interested in the news that the boat moored two pontoons up had two cats which they apparently walked on lead every evening! We hadn’t intended to let the hounds off lead anyway, but having three hounds (Ollie’s not bothered) in a frenzy on a narrow pontoon surrounded by deep, jellyfish infested water was an adventure too far. We went to see the boat with the cats and found out when/where they walked them – luckily they only left the boat rarely and only on the finger pontoon, which was out of sight of Indigo Dream. Having established that, we didn’t have any cat encounters – phew.

We settled down to enjoy a few days in the city – our unusual lay-over was enforced by the tide, but it was good to relax for a bit and Salthouse Dock is a superb spot for just watching the world go by. It was a sociable mooring – we chatted to other boaters, waved to passers-by on the dock wall above us and, later on, we had some visitors – a lady from Richard’s business insurers and our Mersey pilot and his lady. We also had time to have a bimble around with the hounds – our first view of the mighty Mersey was of a river moody and troubled as wind and tide whipped up an ugly swell. There are few green spaces in the city for hounds, but there is a little green on the river side of the Maritime Museum; another around the back of the museum. But the best green of all is across the main road and leads up the hill to Liverpool One, which became our favourite place for breakfast/brunch/lunch with the hounds. We topped up with supplies at the local Tesco superstore – there are benefits to mooring in the big city πŸ™‚

Albert Dock - completee with sunken ship to the right...

Albert Dock – complete with sunken ship to the right…

But I’m ahead of myself – our pilot had recommended the Salthouse Tapas bar for our evening meal – it was an interesting place but the way the food was served was a little unusual, with dishes coming out in random order – a delay in the serving of the last dish meant that we’d finished all the other dishes long before it arrived.

It had been a long but extremely satisfying day’s cruising and we were all tired after the excitement of the Liverpool Link – even the hounds were quiet and we were soon settled into our respective beds.

The mooring pontoons at Salthouse are gated but not locked, yet we found that random passers-by did not come down to the pontoons, which made the moorings feel quiet and secure – reminiscent of the floating harbour in Bristol.

 

 

Photoblog:

The Liverpool Link and the Docks are very photogenic waterways. I’ve put some favourites on the blog (more to come in Henry’s Postcards!) but I’ve put the rest in a Facebook album – the link should work!

 

The approach to Liverpool is surprisingly rural...

The approach to Liverpool is surprisingly rural…

 

It seems rural, but the glimpses of the dockyard cranes reminded us that we were about to enter an iconic port city...

It seems rural, but the glimpses of the dockyard cranes reminded us that we were about to enter an iconic port city…

 

Useful moorings at Litherland - right next to the service pint and handy Tesco megastore...

Useful moorings at Litherland – right next to the service point and handy Tesco megastore…

 

This made me sad and cross - a very effetive arson attack on a beehive - why???

This made me sad and cross – a very effective arson attack on a beehive – why???

 

This mural of tools had the name of tool etched in welsh above each one - I wonder why?

This mural of tools had the name of tool etched in Welsh above each one – I wonder why?

 

The blue sign reads "canal bus stop" - I think you'd be waiting a long time!

The blue sign reads “canal bus stop” – I think you’d be waiting a long time!

 

Signs of industry - a huge trans-shipment warehouse.

Signs of industry – a huge trans-shipment warehouse.

 

Attractive staircase - shame about the heap of bin bags at the bottom...

Attractive staircase – shame about the heap of bin bags at the bottom…

 

Boundary Bridge - built in 1861 and now a Grade 2 listed structure.

Boundary Bridge – built in 1861 and now a Grade 2 listed structure.

 

Leigh Bridge - erected by the Health Committee in 1861 - another grade 2 listed structure...

Leigh Bridge – erected by the Health Committee in 1861 – also a grade 2 listed structure…

 

Looking back up the Stanley Locks..

Looking back up the Stanley Locks..

 

The vast and derelict tobacco warehouse - it's an awesome sight :-)

The vast and derelict tobacco warehouse – it’s an awesome sight πŸ™‚

 

The Tobaccoe Warehouse dominates the old docks here...

The Tobacco Warehouse really dominates the old docks here… roll on the refurb!

 

Impressive lifting mechanism n this bridge- but just look the the diminutive arch to nowhere on the left - interesting juxtaposition...

Impressive lifting mechanism on this bridge- but just look at the diminutive arch to nowhere on the left – interesting juxtaposition…

 

There are some great landmarks..

There are some great landmarks..

 

We decide to fly our flags into Liverpool....

We decide to fly our flags into Liverpool….

 

But we soon took the flags down as we went through the LiverpoolLink tunnels - the headroom is a bit tight!

But we soon took the flags down as we went through the Liverpool Link tunnels – the headroom is a bit tight!

 

Traditional Style....

Traditional Style….

 

Modern style...

Modern style…

 

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