Friday, 17 July 2009

At the Starting Grid.

0 Locks, 7½ Miles, 6 Swing bridges. Now moored at Hancocks Bridge.

Leeds and Liverpool 091 No 2 in the convoy of 6 ready for tomorrow morning

Today was to be the day that we ventured into the previously rarely navigated waters of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Up to Maghull the canal was good but beyond there the water weed and Water Lily’s have taken over but with more boats passing through a distinct channel is now evident. Prior to the Liverpool Canal Link opening at the end of March this year, Maghull used to be the end of navigation with travellers catching buses to here or there.

Leeds and Liverpool 088 Starting to get into the weedy territory West of Maghull on our way into Liverpool

The weed only presented a slight problem ,no worse than other navigations we have been on, just the occasional burst of reverse thrust to keep the propeller clear. The biggest obstacles were the swing bridges (each with different opening instructions) but its no different than doing locks. We only had one bridge where a significant amount of traffic built up, the others were very quiet.

Leeds and Liverpool 090 Ever seen a surfing Heron before?

Our arrival at Hancocks Swing Bridge (where BW will meet us early in the morning and open the bridge) was perfectly timed. I had just enough time to clear the rubbish that had accumulated around the bow and for Dot to get the TV satellite dish up when the heavens’ opened up with probably the heaviest downpour we have encountered for a while. Some fishermen on the opposite bank got drenched and while all this was going on one of them caught a fish. The fish was one that doesn’t appear in my Observer’s Book of Freshwater Fish but was vaguely familiar to me through my having kept Tropical Fish. I’m sure it was a Sucking Loach or something similar. It was certainly a foreigner to these waters. While on the subject of foreigners in the water the other non native species I saw was a Terrapin sunning himself on a floating island of reeds.

Leeds and Liverpool 092 Hancocks Swing Bridge the beginning of BW's assisted passage to Liverpool Docks

1722 locks, 3596½ miles, 66 Tunnels, 63 swing bridges and 53 lift bridges since Nov 2006


Sue said...

Does every boat need an assisted passage?

Derek and Dot said...

Hi Sue
Yes with a maximum of 6 boats a day British Waterways operate 2 swing bridges, then the boats moor in Eldonian Village overnight and then British Waterways operate the locks down into Liverpool the next morning. Boats are unable to go down alone.