Sunday, 29 April 2012

28th April

Decided to visit some sights of Liverpool the first was the China City Gate, a very impressive structure surrounded by Chinese Restaurants.
* Chinese gate

A little further up
Duke St.
we went into the very dark and  dower looking Anglican Cathedral. We saw the stone where the ashes of the cricketer and Arch Bishop David Shepherd are intered and then went up the 101m high Tower to get another view of Liverpool. On the way up using 2 lifts and 108 steps we passed the highest (67m) and heaviest (31 tons) peel of bells (14 bells). On the way down we called in the Embroidery Gallery and June was dumb struck by the quality of the work. By now it was lunch time so we decided to use the excellent cathedral cafĂ© which is sited within the cathedral. I chose to try the local Scouse dish which is like a lamb stew. Very good. Who would have thought that we could have kept Graham in a cathedral for 2hrs!!
* Anglican Cathedral

* Inside cathedral

* The Bells

Our next visit was to the Catholic Cathedral at the opposite end of
Hope Street
. Passing on the walk the suitcases of famous Liverpool people including Paul McCartney.
* Luggage of the Famous

On entering Paddys Wigwam, as it is affectionately known, we were stunned by the complete contrast from the Anglican cathedral. The coloured glass in the windows gave a stunning light effect and its circular design gave the feeling of openness and simplicity. After a false start with a very expensive and grand design by Luytens, Archbishop Heenan decided that he wanted a design which would cost no more than £1m and take no more than 5yrs to complete. Gibberd’s design was chosen and work started in 1962 being completed in 1967 the money being raised by the locals.
Unfortunately the roof materials used were of poor quality, the roof leaked together with the spires had to be renewed at a cost of £8m.
* Catholic Cathedral

* Inside

* The Roof

In the evening we went for a drink with Steen and Jenny off Nb Freya Louisa and Cath and Dale off Shanty Bay to one of the Albert Dock bars. What a shock we had with hen and stag parties galore. The mens’ eyes were nearly popping out and the girls were wishing they were 18 again.

Later when it was dark we took a trip on the Echo Wheel to see the lights of Liverpool.
* Graham and Carolann on the Wheel

* Aerial View of Liverpool at Night

29th April
Awoke to a wet and very windy morning and it stayed like that all day so we used the time to recharge our batteries ready for our journey out of Liverpool on Monday.
27th April

Can you believe it after being on the canal for 5 weeks we decided to have a break and take a trip up the Manchester Ship Canal to Salford.
We took the ferry across to Seacombe where we were to catch the boat, we wondered where we were going as it took us way down the Mersey to New Brighton, so named because the sand for the resort was imported from Brighton, with Ferry Across the Mersey playing over the tanoy, and then back to Seacombe.

Having boarded the Snowdrop we travelled up the Mersey to Eastham Lock where we entered the Ship Canal. The canal was opened in 1894 and can take ships up to 15000 tons; there is no speed limit on the canal but it is no good rushing as you will have to wait for the locks and swing bridges. Ships can only enter the Canal for up to 2hrs before and after high tide as the Mersey is too shallow at other times.
* Snowdrop

* Camel laird

* Eastham Dock entrance to the Manchester Ship Canal

* The Canal

We sailed passed Ellesmere Port where we moored 3 yrs ago, Julia and Mark will note the Holiday Inn and Jambula’s in the photo. It was strange but we passed a boat under tug escort going the other way at the same spot as we had watched one when we were there before.
* Ellesemere Port entrance to Shroppie

* Jambula restaurant

* Tug supported Freighter

Sailing up the canal we passed the enormous Shell (now the Indian SR) oil refinery, the John Lennon airport on the other side of the Mersey to the first of the 4 locks.
On route we saw the lock where the Western Canal enters the Mersey, linking the river Weaver with Ellesmere Port, a trip which would be great to do in our own boats and enable us to complete a great canal ring from the Trent and Mersey to the Shroppie.
* Cargo barge

* High level Bridge and M6 in background

* Typical Swing Bridge

* Carolann’s impession of Titanic

Later on the canal and the river Mersey join and because of the earlier rain it was in flood with lots of debris floating down. Further on we passed 2 old working narrowboats breasted up for safety when travelling the canal and trying to dodge debris. The flow from the lockside sluices was so strong that it forced our boat into the lock side knocking a lady off her chair.
* Mersey joins Canal

* Narrowboats on the Manchester Ship Canal

Continuing up the canal we went under the Barton Swing Aquaduct over which we had travelled on the way to Liverpool. It was open and you could see the gates which held the water in the aquaduct whilst it was open. They appeared to be raised up from the bottom of the aquaduct.
* Barton Swing Aquaduct

Later, just below Barton Lock we saw where Peel Holding are to develop a new Salford Dock in order to increase the trade on the canal. Next we went under the Centenary lift bridge which raises 83 ft in 1 minute and was commissioned in 1994.
* Centenery Lift Bridge

Finally we entered Salford Quay which has been completely re-developed and is now the home of the BBC and several other media companies as well as the Lowry Centre, a shopping complex and even a sailing Club.  
* Salford Quay

* BBC Media Centre

Passengers returned to Liverpool on one of 3 double-decker buses, which took about an hour. The 6 hr trip to Salford was really interesting with lots of birdlife and sights to see and an excellent commentary by a well informed guide.

26th April

A day of shopping for the girls and the boys went to the Maritime Museum which covered the History of shipping in Liverpool, slavery and the Titanic Stories.
Later it rained heavily and continued like that into the evening

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

23rd April

A lazy day, after the last few hectic weeks and chance to recharge our batteries, and catch up with some washing.
In the afternoon we all went to the cinema to see Fishing for Salmon in Yemen, which despite my misgivings turned out to be a good film.
Our evening was spent playing cards and enjoying the sights of Albert Dock, it must be the fashion up here for girls to go around with Rollers in their hair.
Fantastic Views of the Wheel at night and the Maritime Museum with Titanic projected on the wall.
* The Wheel at night from our boat

* Titanic

24th April

In the morning we began by taking a guided tour around The Old Dock built in 1715 as the first wet dock and the reason that Liverpool became such a force in the shipping industry. It was excavated when they built the Liverpool One Shopping Centre and has been preserved below it. Only the NE corner is currently available to see but plans are afoot to open the remainder when the archaeologists have finished their preservation work. It is a remarkable piece of Liverpool history and well worth a visit.
* The Old Dock Position

* Dock Wall

* An escape Tunnel from the Castle found bricked up in the Dock wall

Afterwards we made our way to the St John’s Beacon Viewing Gallery, a 138m tower originally constructed as a ventilation shaft for the shopping complex below and now occupied by Radio City. There are fantastic views over Liverpool and because the weather was so good we could even see the snow on the Welsh Mountains and the Blackpool Tower.
* The Tower

* Looking out to Sea

* Our Mooring in Salthouse Dock

* Stanley Dock and Victoria Tower where we left the L & L Canal and entered the Docks area.

* The Anglican Cathederal

* The Catholic Cathederal - the Wigwam

In the afternoon we decided to take a city tour on one of the Yellow Dukws which included driving down the ramp into Salthouse Dock and taking a trip around this and the Albert Dock. Whenever a Dukw enters the dock the wave it creates races across the dock and tosses our narrowboats about.
* The DUKW

*  Entering the Water

* Sailing in the Dock

* Graham and Carolann enjoying the tour.

* Leaving the water

We enjoyed a lovely warm and sunny evening, the sun shining on the Police Headquarters across the road from the dock was a spectacular Red colour.

25th April

Dull start which soon deteriorated into rain and strong winds, so after filling with fuel from the refueling boat we spent the morning playing cards with G and CA and the afternoon keeping dry on board.
At about 2.15 pm six narrowboats arrived with the crews looking very bedraggled and cold on their wet journey in; all they wanted to do was get in the dry and warm up. Hope we have better weather when we leave!

Monday, 23 April 2012

21st April

There was a shower over night but we set off in bright weather and motored through the 5 Swing Bridges of Maghull to moor up at Bridge 9 ready for BW to pick us up in the morning and open the two main road swing bridges into Liverpool.
* Swing Bridge

 At 12.30 we had a call to say would we like to go half way this afternoon and make an early start on Sunday morning so that we could be in Liverpool to see the Odyssey.
We had to wait for 3 other boats to arrive (Cygnet, Nesta, Old Codger) and the convoy set off just after 2.00pm.
* The Convoy

Just after the first swing bridge we passed the Canal Turn,
Melling Road
, and Beecher’s Brook parts of Aintree Race Course.
The rest of the journey I nicknamed Coot Alley as every few yards there was a coots nest with chicks of a day old to a few days old. They are not as pretty as the Mallard chicks. Although the surface was full of floating rubbish the water was crystal clear so it must be fairly good quality for the ducks and fish to be so abundant.
We reached the BW service area at Litherland at 3.30pm and moored up for the night. Tesco was just the other side of the fence so we were able to do some more shopping and even managed to get some coal from their garage.

22nd April
Left the mooring at 7.00am in sharp shower which soon stopped and it brightened up into a nice day. We reached the 4 Locks leading into Stanley Dock at 8.00am and were met by the BW boys who helped us through, as a special windless is required for the top gate paddles.
* Locks into Stanley Dock

We then entered the docks area with it high derelict Tobacco Warehouses and passed the Victoria Tower.
* Tobacco Warehouse

* Victoria Tower

We motored on through a series of canals, docks, and tunnels until we came to the Liver Building where we went through the last tunnel under the Liverpool Museum and lock into Canning Dock where we were greeted by thousands of people lining the dock wall.
* Tunnel under Liverpool Museum

* Canning Dock Reception

We had to wait while some of the preparations for the departure of the Odyssey group took place and then we could enter Albert Dock and finally Salthouse Dock where we moored up at 10.00am.
No sooner had we moored up than we went up onto the Dock road and watched the Odyssey pass by. What an incredible sight with 30ft high Models of a Girl and her dog as well as her uncle the Diver. They were made and operated by a French theatre company and the operators must have been athletes as they were swinging on ropes to operate the legs and arms of the models. Truly a moving experience.
* The Girl

* The Dog

* The Dog 2

* The Diver

* Diver Workings

* The Boat

There was also a boat battling its way through the waves and the letters written by local children were being fired into the crowd from a cannon.
*Cannon firing Letters

At the end of the procession the Odyssey came back to the quay where we were moored and so we had a grandstand view from the boat roof of them being lowered into the boat which would take them out to sea.
Over the weekend there had been over a million visitors and I must say the crowds were very friendly and so enthusiastic about the event.
* Grandstand view

* Lowered into Boat

* Abseilers releasing the Diver

Back on the boat we had the Mersey Fire Service Hover craft buzzing us and demonstrating how they used it.
* Hover Craft

23rd April

A lazy day, after the last few hectic weeks and chance to recharge our batteries, and catch up with some washing.
In the afternoon we all went to the cinema to see Fishing for Salmon in Yemen, which despite my misgivings turned out to be a good film.
Our evening was spent playing cards and enjoying the sights of Albert Dock, it must be the fashion up here for girls to go around with Rollers in their hair.