Our 11 mile journey into Liverpool on Sunday morning, began being helped through swing bridge 9 by CRT staff, we were told we would be the only boat entering Liverpool that day. As it was, the trip was to be very anticipatory – especially when the mileposts show this sort of progress!
Our Liverpool welcome started when Paul, our CRT guide for the day, helped us down the Stanley flight of four locks. He very helpfully prepared us for the the rather exciting, if somewhat daunting, journey ahead of us. This view was our first indication of the complexity of the Liverpool docks – here we were almost at the bottom of the flight with the Victoria Tower in the distance sitting between Salisbury dock and the River Mersey beyond. There was Stanley dock and Collingwood dock to transit before we got to Salisbury dock!
Entering Stanley dock (the first of many!) we had the enormous refurbished warehouse, now the Titanic Hotel, on our right ……
…… and the gigantic disused Tobacco warehouse, dated at 1900 on its eastern end, on our left. It was the biggest structure we have ever seen on the canal side!
We moved on into Collingwood dock through a rare bascule bridge, finally reaching the end of the Tobacco warehouse and which, hopefully one day, will have it’s own refurbishment.
From Collingwood we moved on into Salisbury dock at the far end of which is the hexagonal Victoria Tower with a clock on all six sides. Turning left at this point we enter the officially named Central Docks Channel but unofficially known as “Sid’s Ditch”. Then on through West Waterloo dock and East Waterloo dock.
At the end of East Waterloo dock our guide and guardian Paul is waiting in his van to check on our progress before he moves on to the next check point.
After Paul had checked on us we crossed Prince’s dock and then on through a flashy new bridge ……..
….. and keeping hard alongside Bank Hall Warehouse ……
….. where friend Debbie was waiting to take photos of us passing through this wonderful dock system.
After a quick wave and ‘hello’ to Debbie we headed straight on to the Princes dock lock …………..
……. where Paul was already there waiting for us. As “Chance” goes down with the water level Doug and Paul chat about life and things and “how the heck do YOU two know Debbie?”. (Do all Liverpudlians know each other?)
After tunnels A2 and A1 we pass the “Three Graces” and on …….
…… to tunnel A and underneath the Museum of Liverpool. It’s this beautiful new part of the docks system which has been recently refurbished which now allows boats to come into the city from the main system.
At Man Island lock Paul gave us our instructions for the final part of our journey after which we thanked him for all his kind support.
After we said farewell to Paul we entered Canning dock where it was a sharp right then another sharp right ……..
…….. and we were then entering Albert dock and the final few hundred yards of our journey. All the distance shots here are with grateful thanks to Debbie.
We felt rather small as we were dwarfed by the enormous Albert dock and its great colonnades on all four sides.
We aimed “Chance” towards the bridge which designated the way through to Salthouse dock which was to be our home for the next week.
This is a lovely long shot by Danny (Debbie’s partner) from the stern of their boat which has us emerging from the Albert dock …….
……… and heading towards the visitor mooring pontoons.
This was the lucky bit – just as James did a handbrake turn to spin “Chance” around and to go astern onto the pontoon the gusting high wind, which had accompanied us through the day’s journey, suddenly died down and allowed a perfect manoeuvre. The gods were on our side (!) as there were plenty of onlookers watching to see whether we were going to clout something! Phew!
By shear, and very strange, fortune CRT had selected adjacent berths for us and friends Debbie and Danny even though we had all booked independently and without either of us knowing the other was to be there! Therefore, a little celebration was in order once we’d safely secured ourselves and Debbie had got her breath back from chasing around the docks taking photos of us. THANK YOU SO MUCH DEBBIE! Joining us after a while were the owners of nb “Harold” who we’d first met in Leeds and later again in Skipton – Joe, Chris, Danny, Debbie and Doug. A lovely sunny afternoon and a great way to begin our stay in Liverpool.
The Liverpool welcome, which started with the CRT staff at swing bridge 9 earlier in the day, and which Paul took over at Stanley lock flight, extends to the most wonderful facilities in Salthouse dock with pontoon, water, free electricity and daily refuse collection and the friendly welcome of everyone we’ve met so far(even though we don’t always fully understand their lingo!).