Tuesday, 21 July 2015


Hi all,
This week we are moored on the Leeds & Liverpool in Wigan, one of the towns that form Greater Manchester. Having got here this lunchtime we've had a walk around the town for a quick look 'cos our plans only have us stopping for tonight before moving tomorrow and going onto the Leigh Branch. At the moment there's a stoppage on the Leigh Branch at the first of the Poolstock Locks which are just after the junction here in Wigan. Somehow a bicycle has found it's way into the only working Ground Paddle and damaged it to the point where it can no longer be used. C&RT have advised that the canal will be open for a short while tomorrow morning to allow passage so we've got our fingers crossed. There are a number of other boats who appear to be waiting to go the same way too. I guess our little group will go for an early drink in one of the local hostelries this evening seeing as another friend who's moored here, Pete, off NB Castellan, has somewhere interesting to show us.
A couple of strange ladies, Lisa & Val, posing at the Tippler that represents Wigan Pier
After last weeks blog we stayed in Liverpool for another couple of days before leaving Salthouse Dock on Thursday morning. During those two days we did a bit more exploring the sights in Liverpool as well as enjoying a few more of the pubs. On Tuesday Lisa and I visited the Library and The World Museum, just a few minutes from Lime Street Station and opposite St. John's Gardens. Did you know that Lime Street was so named because of all the Lime Kilns that used to be there?  In the evening we enjoyed the company of Mike and Carol off NB Electra who showed us around a few more of the Real Ale establishments in Liverpool, few of which we would ever have found ourselves. With Val and Pete we went for a very interesting tour to part of Liverpool's Old Dock on Wednesday. The Old Dock, formerly named Thomas Steers Dock after the engineer responsible for it's construction in 1715, was the first Wet Dock in the world and was arguably the catalyst that made Liverpool  the great city it would become. For anyone visiting Liverpool by boat or any other means, the Old Dock is a must see.
Looking at part of The Old Dock which is underneath Liverpool 1 shopping centre and the Hilton Hotel. It's perfectly preserved and here you can see the brick walls of the dock and some of the sandstone upon which Liverpool stands. This was the only dock to be built in brick, all others were built using stone which withstands impact from ships better. In it's heyday the dock could accommodate one hundred vessels of the size that was common at that time, around a hundred tons or so.
Yazz and Danny, who conducted the tour, give a very interesting and entertaining presentation with their knowledge of the history of the dock. Just go to the reception in The Maritime Museum and enquire about times and days. That afternoon the four of us went on our farewell tour of a few bars, starting in The White Star where they have a Sea Shanty Session every Wednesday afternoon, very good it was too, and ending up in the Cavern Club with a Beatles tribute.

Just to show that we've been in there. The bar inside The Cavern Club.
At a little before nine on Thursday morning we made our way out of Salthouse Dock, which incidentally, was built for, surprise, surprise, the salt industry, mainly Rock Salt from Cheshire, by the self same Thomas Steers, of Old Dock fame, in 1753.We left there in company with a few other narrowboats and made our way back along the Liverpool Link and onto the Leeds and Liverpool Canal as our excellent visit to the City of Liverpool came to an end. I must say here that everyone from C&RT involved in our journey down the Link and back out again was brilliant, they advised us and helped us every bit of the way till we arrived back at Hancocks Lift Bridge 9 on Thursday afternoon. On this trip we didn't have to go down the Weedhatch at all so we got to our mooring above Holmes Swing Bridge 10 in under six hours, which I didn't think was too bad, considering we had to wait for all the boats to assemble before going through each of the two swing bridges that are operated by C&RT.
Chyandour, with Lisa at the helm, and Val & Pete on Tadpole 2 as we waited at the entrance to Mann Island Lock on Thursday morning.
Going through the tunnels past the Liver Building and the Pier Head on our way out of Liverpool.
Friday had Tadpole 2 and ourselves doing eight Swing Bridges and the best part of fourteen miles to get to Burscough, a large village in West Lancashire, where we stayed till Sunday morning. For anyone that's interested, The Hop Vine public house in the village houses the Burscough Brewing Company and they serve some reasonably priced Real Ales brewed on the premises. On Sunday we sailed away from there and cruised for just under six miles to the deep lock at Appley Locks where we passed through the lock and then moored in the approach to the two abandoned shallow locks. The Deep Lock, with a fall of twelve feet was the first lock to be constructed at Appley with the two Shallow Locks being built later. The Deep Lock takes a while to fill so the other locks helped to save water and reduce delays. As I understand it, the two locks were restored in the 1980's but have now been abandoned through lack of use. It was a great place to moor but getting a TV picture wasn't easy, though internet and phone signal weren't too bad.
Chyandour moored on the approach to Appley Shallow Locks on Sunday.

Anyone who has travelled North on the M6 Motorway between Junctions 26 and 27 above Warrington, and has looked down to their left will have seen these locks. This is the tail Gate of the disused Dean Lock with the Motorway Viaduct in the background and the working lock centre right.


There we are, moored for the night in front of the C&RT offices below Henhurst Lock in Wigan, alongside NB Castellan.

Well folks, that's the lot again for this week. Since our last blog we have gone through 11 Locks and covered 36 Miles. That gives us a Grand Total of 1,201 Locks and 2,080 Miles since we set off  on our travels back in October 2012.Take care everyone.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Salthouse Dock Part Two.

Hi all,

This week we're still moored in Salthouse Dock and still having a great time in Liverpool. There's so much to do that even the thirteen days we are going to be here isn't likely to be enough. Since last week we have done some of the tourist things like The Cavern Club, The Cathedrals, The Ferry 'Cross the Mersey, been round a few times on an open topped bus, and visited some of the museums. All the things that everyone should do when they pay a visit to this city. Every day has been filled with something and we've managed to get a drop or two of some fine real ales in some nice pubs in the evenings. At the beginning of the week we had a visit from a very good friend, Janice, formerly of the good ship NB Jandai. She stayed with us for three nights, making our stay here even more enjoyable, coming with us as we enjoyed some of the attractions. It's about a year since we last spent time with her, that would have been at last years Stratford River Festival.

Lisa and I posing on the stern of Chyandour at our mooring in Salthouse Dock.

M.V. Royal Iris of the Mersey, the Ferry 'Cross the Mersey. She's just approaching her berth at the Pier Head to pick us up. In a former life, then named Mountwood, she starred in the film Ferry Cross the Mersey and the TV program The Liver Birds.

Lisa and Janice trying to take a "selfie" on the bows while we were moored on the pier at Seacombe. The building in the background is one of the ventilators for the Kingsway, or Wallasey Tunnel under the Mersey.
The highlight of the trip across the Mersey for me was the U-Boat Museum at the Woodside Terminal at Birkenhead. Here you can see U534 cut up into five pieces so that it's possible to see inside her. She was built in 1942, sunk in 1945, discovered by treasure hunters in 1986 and salvaged in 1993, before ending up in the museum in 2009.
Inside U534's engine room. Either side is a 9 cylinder turbocharged MAN diesel engine and not much room for anything else. Space was at a premium on these boats. In the first few weeks of each voyage only one of the two toilets could be used because the other was taken over for storage. Just try to imagine what that must have been like for the 48 men in her crew.
The Gateway to Chinatown here in Liverpool. It stands forty four feet high and is the largest multi span arch outside of China. It took ninety days to erect, has two hundred hand carved dragons and was opened in 2000.
The Ladies Chapel inside the magnificent Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.
The Peel of Bells in the cathedral. The centre bell "Great George" is the third largest in the UK weighing over fourteen and a half tons and was cast by Taylors Bell Foundry in Loughborough .

Lisa and Janice sitting on "A case history" sculpture on Hope Street.
The interior of the awesome Roman Catholic Cathedral in Liverpool.
Inside one of the pubs that we have enjoyed during our stay here. This one, The Philharmonic Dining Rooms, is very ornate, Grade 2 listed and serves a nice selection of Real Ales. Notice the names above the doors to the side rooms. 

Another visitor to Liverpool, the P&O Cruise Liner Britannia. She weighs in at over one hundred and forty thousand tons and carries over five and a half thousand passengers and crew.

Well that's all for another week folks. Here in Liverpool we've got the luxury of a Shoreline for electricity and a Water Point on the pontoon at the stern. It's not all that far to take the cassette to empty it at the Marina, about twenty minutes walk along the waterfront in fact, so Chyandour hasn't had to move. That means our Grand Total of 1,190 Locks and 2,044 Miles is the same as last week. Take care everyone.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Salthouse Dock.

Hi all,
This week we have cruised the final stretch of the Leeds and Liverpool canal into Liverpool.On our way we stopped for a night or two near Scarisbrick Marina and then Melling respectively,before being at Hancocks Swing Bridge for 9am on Friday to continue our journey into Liverpool with help from C&RT.Right now we are moored in Salthouse Dock at the end of the Liverpool Link in the centre of Liverpool.The last time I visited Liverpool Docks was when I worked for British Road Services in the 1970's when they were working docks.Sad to say I am unable to recognise anything from those days.
Our mooring after Scarisbrick Marina.In the evening and morning we watched the Skylarks.Something we saw quite a lot of on this stretch of the L&L.

We arrived here on Friday afternoon after what I can only say was,an interesting journey down to the end of the L&L,and then a fantastic journey along the Liverpool Link,through the docks and the tunnels and past the Three Graces,the Royal Liver Building,the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building.The interesting bit down into Liverpool was of course a new stretch of canal to us,which wasn't as bad as I'd been led to believe,after all said and done it is an urban canal and it has the things you can associate with such canals,rubbish in particular.It may well have been that we were in a convoy with other boats,or it could have been because the water level was a bit lower than normal but,as a result,plenty of rubbish got stirred up to get caught round a prop.Anyway,we only had to go down Chyandour's weedhatch once and that was as we waited to go down the four locks of the Stanley Flight.There were plastic bags of all shapes and sizes and some that could well have been in the water for quite a long time.Perhaps if everyone takes a prop full of rubbish out of the cut we'll have it rubbish free in a year or two.

Pete,the Captain of Tadpole 2 down the weedhatch.He had quite a lot on his prop,a lot more than can be seen on the stern of his boat and loads more than us.

The fantastic bit of our journey came after we left the bottom of the Stanley Flight where we had been helped through all the locks by C&RT full timers,and volunteers,ably assisted by Lisa and her trusty Windlass.From the flight we then went through the first of the docks,Stanley Dock with the huge Tabacco Warehouse on the left,and then into Salisbury Dock.After turning left out of Salisbury Dock into the partially backfilled Traffalgar Doc we then entered Sid's Ditch,which I believe is where the infill was excavated out of part of Trafalgar Dock to form the Central Docks Channel.
Looking back at the Tabacco Warehouse as we cruise through Salisbury Dock.This Warehouse was built in 1901 using twenty seven million bricks and was claimed to be the largest building in the world at the time.
Victoria Clock Tower at the River Mersey end of Salisbury Dock where we turned left into Trafalgar dock.The tower was built in 1848 and gave an accurate time for Mariners entering and leaving the docks.
Sid's Ditch,or it's proper title,The Central Docks Channel,I know which title I prefer.I think it's named after one of the C&RT volunteers that helped us through the locks on the Link.
After Sid's ditch we went through more Docks and a Lock before entering the three tunnels at the Pier Head from where each of the Three Graces can be seen as we passed between each tunnel.
The Three Graces,unfortunately it wasn't easy to get a good picture of all three as we passed between the tunnels 'cos we were too close.
Approaching the Museum Tunnel which goes under the Museum of Liverpool and you can just about make out Chyandour's reflection in the windows.
The last lock of our journey is on the other side of Museum Tunnel,Mann Island Lock,from there we entered Canning Docks then Albert Dock and finally the last dock,Salthouse where we are going to be moored for thirteen days.
In the few days that we have been here we've had a great time because it's been the final weekend of the seven weeks of festivities that have been held to commemorate the 175 years that Cunard have been associated with Liverpool.We didn't get to see the magnificent sight that was the Three Queens,the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2,when they visited for the weekend at the end of May,but we did get to see Queen Mary 2 on her visit this Saturday.

There we are,nicely moored on the pontoons here in Salthouse Dock.She's a little Tiddler compared to the pic' below coming in at about 20 tons with a crew and passengers of maybe 6 at a push.
Queen Mary 2 at her berth here opposite the Pier Head.She looks awesome,weighing a hundred and fifty thousand tons and carrying nearly three thousand nine hundred passengers and crew.
Leaving her berth on Saturday night,after the firework display,watched by crowds of cheering spectators,an amazing sight.
Over the weekend there have been Classic Cars and a Food Festival as well as Live Music to celebrate the final weekend of what has been called Transatlantic 175.Along with thousands of other people we've been able to enjoy aspects of it all and now we can spend the next nine days enjoying some more of the delights that Liverpool has to offer.
One of the classic cars on show here in Liverpool over the weekend,there were cars from both side of the Atlantic on display.This one is an American Paterson 30 Tourer from the early 1900's
The Red Arrows flew over on Saturday afternoon and caught many by surprise,including us.Lisa just managed to get a couple of pic's though.
One of the many very good bands performing at the rear of Albert Dock,just across the water from our mooring.

This entertainer brought a lot of pleasure to the crowds here.
Well,that's all for this week folks.Since our last blog we have covered 25 Miles and 6 Locks,that gives us a Grand Total of 1,190 Locks and 2,044 Miles since we set off on our travels in October 2012.Take care everyone.