Well, we are here! We are in Salthouse Dock in the heart of Liverpoooool!!
As recommended by many boaters we had met we moored overnight at Bridge 10. Two other boats were already there when we arrived and, during the rest of the afternoon and evening, five others joined us so we were one of nine boats going into Liverpool on Wednesday morning.
As instructed, we were all ready and waiting at Bridge 9 near Aintree at 9am for our assisted passage. It was a smooth operation – the chaps from C&RT did their job brilliantly. When we set off we were 6th in the flotilla but, after being let through the next swing bridge, we found ourselves 2nd with Ken & Sandra leading the way. As with most urban sections of canal, human habitation has its downside – there was a lot of rubbish. Cans and bottles float – it doesn’t do too well to ponder on what doesn’t but we did end up with a lot of stuff around the prop! If there was an old-fashioned returnable amount of money on plastic bottles the world would be a better place! However, we have experienced much worse than this on the Coventry Arm, going through Leicester and on the section from Brentford to Paddington.
When we reached Eldonian Basin with the four Stanley Dock locks ahead of us, C&ART staff were there ready and waiting.
It was so easy! They did it all for us!!
As we left the locks we entered Stanley Dock passing the enormous Tobacco Warehouse which is a landmark for miles around and is apparently going to be converted into apartments. I think Ken said it contains something like 57 million bricks!!
We continued to follow the bollards – actually we didn’t – we followed Ken – and made our way through all the old docks. The Link is just 1.4 miles long, includes a narrow section contentiously nicknamed ‘Sid’s Ditch’, two new locks and three short tunnels and cost over £20 million!! It is becoming a more and more popular thing for boaters to do and there is now regular boat movement through and past Maghull which, in the past, had rightly or wrongly earned itself the reputation of being a ‘no-go’ area. Surely this is what re-generation of an area is all about?
Emerging from St Nicholas (patron saint of sailors I believe) tunnel, The Three Graces were right there! The Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and The Port of Liverpool Building – all fabulous! The modern Museum of Liverpool building is also very impressive.
We had to wait at Mann Island lock for the rest of the boats to catch us up and then C&ART let us all through to make our way to Salthouse Dock and our reserved berths.
To arrive at this famous location on our own boat has been an exciting adventure and, so far, one I would definitely recommend. Now we have the city of Liverpool to explore. Unfortunately, one thing that is not conveniently at hand is somewhere decent to walk a dog – they are not allowed anywhere in Albert Dock and the nearby Chavasse Park is very manicured and ornamental. We will have to have regular bus rides to Sefton Park I think. So, what with being surrounded by concrete and having to wear a silly jacket (albeit temporarily) Lola is not as impressed as we are!