Monday, May 12, 2008

Canal Walk: Liverpool Circular

It was a sunny Sunday today, well at least until the barbeque was lit this afternoon. I wanted to walk the route of the third of my walks I have written for people to download from www.towpathtreks.co.uk. I wanted to check the walk was easy to follow and see how long it took. And if there was anything interesting along the way I could add it in.
The walk starts at Old Hall Street but we parked at the large car park by the Echo Area. The aim was to get back to the car within 2 hours to save me paying another £2. I had thought about parking on the road but opted for the car park.
We walked from the Albert Dock to Old Hall Street. The Pierhead was busy. Here were lots of football fans about, blues, reds, and quite a few Newcastle fans here for the last game of the Premiership season.
Old Hall Street has seen a lot of change recently. There are new office buildings which makes the small brick building that is the remains of Clarkes Basin look all the more anachronistic. As last nights hen party got into their taxi we looked at the information panels on the girder out side the hotel. At the end of Old Hall Street we turned right on to Leeds Street. Leeds Street was widened and some of the canal terminus buildings were lost as a result. A car show room now stands where the canal headquarters once were. I had a quick look behind the canal warehouses. The basin is now a carpark but the large stones of the edge of the basin are still there. Back on Pall Mall a woman was clearing up the glass from her broken car window. I was glad I parked in the car park. Past the remains of the boatmen’s mission we turned right into Chisenhale Street and over the old canal bridge which remains in good condition considering the canal underneath it was filled in 40 years ago. There are buildings on both sides of it so unless there is a disaster there is slim chance of the canal being restored.
Over the bridge it was a short walk up Chisenhale Street then left onto Vauxhall Road. The Green Man pub is still standing. It featured in the last episode of the Boys from the Blackstuff. The Boys drink there before crossing the road and walking through the Tate and Lyle works as they are being demolished. These days the Eldonian Village estate is over the road. We went across the carpark of the village hall and down to the towpath. Eldonian Village was built for a community. Mothers were actually stood talking over the garden fence while their children played on the towpath. This is a redevelopment that has worked. Compare this to the empty blocks of luxury apartments built along the Regents Canal.
We walked down the Stanley Dock branch, through the doorway and across Great Howard Street to the Heritage Market. The market has had trouble because of the large amounts of fake goods sold there. They claim to have stopped this and are hoping to promote the market as an attraction. I chose not to buy a DVD of the new Indiana Jones film (not yet out at the cinema) and walked through the market to exit on the other side.
We walked up the dock road to Princes Dock. There are two new temporary bridges across the dock while the old bridges are changed to allow boats to pass under them. HMS Bulwark was visiting the new landing stage and drawing a big crowd. The new canal lock is nearly finished and you can see where the gates will go. The canal link across the front of the Three Graces looks close to completion. We managed to get back to the car with a few minutes to spare. The whole walk took about 2 hours without any stops at quite a quick pace.

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