Thursday, 4 August 2016

High winds, an ‘old’ friend and “Another Place”


We slipped our moorings at Burscough on Wednesday morning with strong winds hitting us head on. Just up the cut was our first swing bridge of the day which happened to be “out of order”! Managing to get “Chance” safely roped against the wind on the moorings outside ‘The Slipway’ pub we phoned CRT who said someone would be with us in 5 minutes. Joy-of-joys our saving grace appeared in only 3 minutes. “Eh lad, will sun git the’ bridge fettled” he said – and he did. What we didn’t realise, when we made the call, was that the people in the boat on the other side of the bridge had already phoned CRT an hour before! Oh dear!


With the swing bridge “fettled” we were on our way and at bridge 25 we came across the “Halsall Navvy”, a half buried sculpture commemorating the cutting of the ‘first sod’ to begin the Leeds and Liverpool canal construction on 5th November 1770. What an amazing fact and what history we enjoy - 246 years ago!


Further down the cut, with the wind roaring in our faces, (just look at the trees!) is Downholland Farm. If the age of the canal isn’t enough this lovely building is another 40 years older at 290 years! It’s mullioned windows are fabulous.


Wind is the real enemy of the canal boater but, to turn a negative into a positive, we stopped for some lunch and put the washing out to dry. Having to anchor the whirligig with a guy rope was absolutely necessary but it was all dry in an hour and we were on our way again.


It’s so nice to occasionally have a towpath photo of “Chance” in full sail. This was in a nice quiet cutting and sheltered from the wind.


Here’s a nice photo of the wind! The windage on a 60 foot narrow boat can be terrific in high winds – it’s not the cruising that’s difficult it’s the stopping!


We moored up mid afternoon just short of bridge 17a at Lydiate. Fortuitously there were some robust iron bollards just waiting for our ropes! We hunkered down for a while and watched the waves on the water and then went for a walk around the village, stopping at the “New Running Horses” for an evening meal, before walking back down the towpath to our mooring for the night. 


On Thursday morning we moved a smidgen up the canal to the Mersey Motor Boat Club moorings where Debbie (Nb Tickety Boo), whose been a blog reader (and long distance friend) for quite some time, had arranged a mooring for us for a couple of nights. Our Lumix camera, which had been pitched into the canal when James last fell in (!), has been recovering over the last week or so and now can produce this quality of photo. Not good but not bad either considering!


We took delivery of another hire car from good old Enterprise and, after mooring “Chance” up at MMBC and meeting the delightful Debbie in person for the first time, we took a drive up to Southport. The popular Victorian seaside town has seen an awful lot of change over the years but there is still some very nice architecture to be had.


A walk over the rather swish Maritime Way Bridge …….


……. took us to the sea front. This part of the country is known for its very flat and open coastal features and, when the tide is out, there’s miles of sand (and grass!) and, to see the sea, you need binoculars!


Down the coast from Southport is Crosby with similar coastal features but, this time, it’ home to the famous ‘sculpture’ by Sir Anthony Gormley – “Another Place”. As the tide recedes, and it does so at an alarming rate, 100 cast iron human figures appear.


It’s quite surreal to watch these human shapes seemingly rise from the depths.


They stand facing the horizon in ‘ silent speculation’ and cover an area of beach 2 miles long and stretch over 1/2 mile out to sea.


Each figure weighs 650 kilograms and are made from casts of the artist own body.

Visiting this work of art has been on our bucket list for a while now and, as we’re so close by canal, it’s been an ideal opportunity to experience this famous sight. It was also a great treat to meet Debbie as well and we shall be seeing more of her and partner Danny in the near future. Thanks so much for organising the mooring for us Debbie!

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