Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Canal Walk: Haskayne

Today I had a 4 and a half hour "lunch break" so I went to Haskayne to eat my lunch and have a walk. I parked by the Pride of Sefton's moorings and after my ham salad bagette set off for a short wander towards Liverpool. Approaching the Scarisbrick Arms the Pride of Sefton came through the bridge on its way back home. I walked up to the winding hole near the 17 mile milepost and turned around just before the swing bridge. There were lots of ducks and ducklings about enjoying the sunshine and some baby coots and moorhens that could only be loved by their mothers, not pretty things. Plans are afoot for a bigger walk this Saturday and a new stretch of canal on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Liverpool Dock Walk

Today I went for a walk along the river front in Liverpool. There is a lot of building work going on in Liverpool ahead of the city being the Capital of Culture in 2008. I went looking for any signs of the proposed canal-dock link which will allow boats to enter the docks at Stanley Dock and pass through the other docks up to Albert Dock. There was work going on around Princes Dock and Georges Dock area but nothing that looked like a canal being built. Still it was a hot sunny day and where better to be than by the Mersey? ("in a pub" is the answer). Not far away from Princes Dock is Old Hall Street the former and original terminus of the Leeds Liverpool Canal, now only one building of a coopers yard remains of the old basin. It will be nice to see boats coming from the canal to the docks if the link is built. I dont think it will make the Liverpool end of the canal busy but the number of boats using the Liverpool end each year can be counted on your fingers so anything is an improvement.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Canal Walk: Halsall

We started at Bridge #25 and walked to milepost 17 just after Haskayne Bridge #21A, about 3 miles round trip. The main feature of this walk is the cutting between Bridges 23 and 22. Halsall Cutting is where the first sod of the Leeds & Liverpool canal was cut back in the 18th century. Spring has definitely sprung and the towpaths are green again, the cutting is getting back to looking like an arboreal secret canyon and the ducks have tiny ducklings with them. The Spring feeling was briefly spoilt by the usual stench of sewage by the Ship Inn (nr bridge #22). On the return trip we saw a retriever and a spaniel enjoying a swim in the cut, the two happiest canal users on the whole 127.25miles. Further along the cutting there was a couple in a kayak, one of the best ways to enjoy the canal especially Halsall Cutting.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Canal Books

In the last week I have bought so many books about canals I have lost track of how many and which ones I have ordered. There dont seem to be any new books which cover the Leeds Liverpool and the most recent ones do not cover the whole 127.25 miles of it. This is the reason for my website guide to the L-L canal. Anyway here are the ones I have got so far:

Towpaths of England by Brian Bearshaw 1985
I only got this one today and have just reading the start and end of the chapter on the L-L and it was depressing! Not only was the Liverpool end in a terrible state when the author visited the canal but he describes seeing a drowning dog and he ends his chapter with the sounds of the dog still barking, he didnt even get it out of the canal! Thatchers Britain was an evil place! He does speak highly of the Leeds end but as usual the from Burscough onwards is covered very briefly.

Canal Walks Vol.1:North Dennis Needham 1994
A very descriptive little book with maps and transport details you need for walking on our canals. Although now 12 years old it is probably the newest book I have other than my Nicholsons Guide. I will hopefully get to do some of the walks fromt his book this summer.

SlowBoat Through Pennine Waters frederic Doerflinger 1971
Said to be a classic book about northern canals. the authors boat breaks down at Johnsons Hillock, and it doesnt look like he made it to Liverpool.

Discovering Canals in Britain Peter L.Smith 1981
A small guide to canals, their history, architecture, engineering and places to visit. nearest thing to an I-Spy Guide I could find!

Landscape with Canals L.T.Rolt 1977
A memoir of the authors time living on the canal in his barge Cressy between 1939 and 1950. this one came from our stores so I got it for free. Hard to believe what a poor state the canals were in in the 1940s.

Walking Britain's Rivers and Canals 1997
A big glossy book of walks, unfortunately it doesnt include the Leeds Liverpool canal at all! A bit big for taking out with you, its not exactly pocket sized but a nice book all the same.