Sunday, August 26, 2007

Canal Walk: Maghull

After a visit to the Pierhead to check on the dock link construction, I went to Maghull for a short walk. I parked on the road in the residential streets near to bridge #17, Dicconson's Bridge. Stood on the bridge you can see the boats of the Mersey Motor Boat Club, the first leisure boating club on the canal. I went down to the towpath and headed towards Liverpool. It was a lovely sunny day and there were lots of people on the towpath enjoying the canal.
This stretch of canal has enough swing bridges to mke a boater wonder whether its worth geting back on board. There were a grand total of three boats on the move today. A cabin cruiser, a narrowboat and one of the tradtional converted lifeboats. At one time most of the boats belonging to th MMBC were these converted lifeboats.
There was a fishing competition but no one had any trouble getting past their poles. It is posible for cyclists walkers and anglers to use the towpath together.
I havent been down this stretch for a while and wanted to re-photo the blockhouse by the railway bridge 12 miles oout of Liverpool. The blockhouse is different to the one at Heatons Bridge, it only has loop holes on the upper level. It would have given a view of the fields opposite the canal, alongside the railway embankment. It turned around before the canal reached the M58, and headed back.
Its worth having a look at the boats of the MMBC, there are a couple of intereting ones as well as the classic cruisers. There were two converted lifeboats, one of which was manovering with a very musical engine.
This is a popular place for walkers and cyclists and is, in part, a bit of the traspennine trail.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Canal Walk: Tavistock

With an hour to spare in Tavistock, Devon, I took a walk on the disused Tavistock Canal. I parked at the Canal Wharf in Tavistock in the large pay and display car park which is inbetween the river and the feeder for the canal. The pedestrian bridge out of the car park crosses the feeder channel but the channel is over grown so you cant see much. At the other end of the car park are the wharf buildings, and from under the road comes the Tavistock Canal. It passes along the back of some buildings and then into the park called the Meadows. There are a couple of pedestrian bridges over the canal giving access from the street to the towpath. At the end of the park is West Bridge and a very busy road. Near here there is a statue of Sir Francis Drake who sailed sterner waters than the Tavistock Canal. You can either use the underpass or take your life in your hands and cross the road. The canal passes by a school and some housing before turning a corner andheading into woodland. There is what looks like a swing bridge by the housing but with no boats there is no sign of swinging here.
The canal was running low on water and only a couple of inches deep in places. The bankside seemed to be cut from the bedrock while the towpath side, on an embankment, is lined with local stones.
Past the housing estate there was no one else on the towpath. I walked up to the gate by the Crowndale Farm, the birth place of Drake. There is a long low farm building here and an information board giving history of the canal.
I turned around here. The sign says there is no public access to the aqueduct or the entrance to the tunnel.
Back in Tavistock we went to the bridge over the river to see if we could see the sluice that takes river water into the feeder. There was building work going on and the river side path was closed. The building work obviously explains the low water levels on the canal.
This is a nice place for a walk and I will be returning.