A LIVELY TIME IN LIVERPOOL
Firstly I must explain why you have to book to get into Liverpool. According to the Lockie helping us down the flight, it’s apparently all to do with water conservation, and Salthouse dock is owned by Peel holdings, so you have to play by their rules.
The restrictions are, only 6 boats at a time allowed up and down the flight per day, not including Tuesday. Those leaving Liverpool have to do so between 8am and 9.30am, and those arriving between 1pm and 4pm. You have to book both ways, and can only stay for a week max.
Also one of the swing bridges on the way can only be opened at certain times of the day. It all makes for interesting planning
To get to the Stanley flight of 4 locks, which takes you into the docklands area of Liverpool, we had to turn again from Wigan and head back to Burscough, and on to Litherland, the Captain had given us 3 days to get to Litherland, but had not counted on the weather taking a turn for the worse with lots of rain. We stopped in Burscough on the first night, but didn’t bother to go out, then on to Lydiate, we tried the pub, the Running Horses, but we were disappointed.
Litherland is where most boats and their crew spend the night before descending the locks, and when we arrived there were already quite few moored up, strangely there are no restrictions on the visitors moorings, like in most other busy spots.
As we came through the last swing bridge of the day before mooring, the crew off NB Wet and Windy were asking who was from Derby (we have 2 flags on the back, a Lancashire one for the Captain, and one that says ‘We are Derby’ for me) they were from Shardlow so we had a chat.
The next day 5 boats were heading down, and we were on the second wave with NB Constance, Wet and Windy and Heather went first and Knightlow bought up the rear. The lockies were very helpful and soon had us down the first 4 locks and into the docks. The Captain, the clever fellow that he is, had made a map of our route through the docks to our moorings. So we took the lead.
Travelling through Liverpool gave us a completely different perspective of the city. The view of the Liver building was amazing, and the three short tunnels that take you under the streets and parts of the Albert Dock are an experience. Of course there were the gongoozlers who stared at the site of 2 narrowboats passing by, and of course we had to wave. Then we realised 2 of the gongoozlers were our friends Lisa and Fred, who had come to welcome us to Liverpool, and it turned out we were moored next to them on the pontoons. It can get interesting trying to reverse onto the pontoons when it’s windy, but although a few were seen to struggle, most people managed without incident.
After mooring up and having a chat with our neighbours, we decided to take a walk to a pub that had been recommended by Chris and Andy on Ceiriog, The Baltic Fleet. It is an old flat iron pub with a good selection of beers on. The first pint went down very nicely and I headed to the bar for another. As I stood there minding my own business a gentleman engaged me in conversation, which was fine, I am the friendly sort, but things turned more weird when he dropped the Captains surname into the conversation, as you can imagine it took me by surprise and I didn’t really know what to say, then he went.
Beer bought and I returned to our table to find the gentleman sitting in my seat, it turned out it was a very old friend of the Captains that he had not seen for many a year, Norman Collins, who had seen on facebook that we were in the pub and had come to meet us. He had taken the Captain by surprise and to start with the Captain didn’t recognise him, and so started the conversation with ‘you were a woman when you went to the bar’ before realising who it was. It made for an enjoyable night catching up.
Next day and the weather wasn’t great, so we took a walk up through the city centre and to the World museum, which was very interesting, We would have liked to have looked around the George’s Hall, but it was in use for a graduation ceremony. Then I took the Captain for a chinese, which was ok.
The Captain had been doing some investigating and had discovered that the Braziallia festival and parade where on. We spent the day looking round the Museum of Liverpool, and Norman came to see the boat before we all headed back into the city centre for a pint, before watching the parade go by. We had a late night which meant a quiet day next day.
Monday and an early start. We had agreed to buddy up with Chyandour for the trip out of Liverpool, they were on a mission as they were booked to go across the Ribble link on Wednesday, and Norman joined us for the trip. Sid the CRT guy was there again to make sure our passage went smoothly, and we were soon back in Litherland and saying goodbye to Lisa and Fred and Norman.
After a night in the middle of nowhere, and a lovely day cruising, we stopped off at the Saracens Head at Halsall, a little on the pricey side but the beer was good, and it was lovely sitting in the beer garden in the sun.
We decided to stay at Burscough again, the moorings are good and there is a large Tesco there. We needed a few bits, and as we walked down the towpath I spotted a very lovely looking cat, there was a gentleman sat eating his lunch and we stopped for a chat. It was his cat, called Smudge and it lived on NB Bobbin with him and his partner. As you know we lost Sam just after we left for our cruise, and I had some cat food and litter going spare, so I asked if they would like it. (Trina and Paul on Bearwood Boster had done the same for us a couple of years ago when they lost their furbaby whilst cruising). They were happy to have the food, but did not need the litter as Smudge was trained to use the toilet. We, as you can imagine were quite amazed by this, and Gary explained there is some sort of gizmo which you can use to train them to do this.
Although we hadn’t intended to have an early start next day a woman with a dog changed all that, she stood by the boat about 7am in the mooring shouting the dog which completely ignored her, some people just don’t think that people live on the boats and might be a sleep at that time in the morning. We headed for Crooke and had a couple of pints in the pub, the Captain was very happy with Ratella, a lovely hazelnut stout from Rat Brewery, which he had for the first time in Saltaire.
The Captains planning came into its own next day when we met up with work boat Ambush for diesel and a bottle of gas. The weather had taken a definite turn for the worse, but we decided to press on to Wigan, this was a big mistake and by the time we got to the moorings we were soaked. As most of you know we are fair weather boaters and don’t normally do rain or wind.
Our next big challenge is the Wigan flight of 22 locks, including 1 lock from the moorings. That’s for next time folks.