Saturday, October 17, 2009

Canal Walk: Liverpool to Bootle 3 miles

Quite a bit has changed on the Leeds & Liverpool in the last year or so. Marinas have been dug out, new bridges built and canal side properties have been put up and torn down. So I am walking from Liverpool to Leeds again to see what has happened and to up-date

Today I woke up in the mood for a walk so with my new Lowepro camera rucksack on my back I headed through Liverpool to Eldonian Village and the start of the canal.

a drinking fountain in Liverpool, the lions head spout is long gone

It wasn't that long ago that I was at Eldonian Village to meet Albatross and sail down the dock link to Salthouse Dock. Nothing much has changed at Eldonian Village since then. The new Londis shop is still under construction. There were a few people walking along the towpath but the whole area was quiet.

On the canal there were coots, moorhens, mallards, the local flock of Canada Geese, a couple of swans, a pair of red-headed ducks and a yellow wagtail which flew above the water in a undulating flight.

Crossing over the top lock of the Stanley Dock Branch there was a local man walking along checking his post and throwing the junk mail and envelopes into the canal. Its a great shame that the people living next to the canal do not respect it.

Liverpool's bridges used to be blue. With the new dock link now open the Liverpool end of the canal has had a refurbishment. The formerly blue bridges are now very smart black and white bridges. The towpath on the first 3 miles of the canal has been done up and is now in very good condition. Perfect for cyclists. The new gravel is noisy when you are tramping along this quiet stretch. Leigh bridge 'D' has a makers name on it, R&J Rankin Union Foundry Liverpool. This company made much of the canals metalwork for bridges, warehouses and wharves in the late 19th century.
R&L Rankin Union Foundry Liverpool

On the opposite bank of the canal new green areas have been created, trees planted and seats put in. It all looks very smart now. I hope it can be maintained.

New canal side park in Vauxhall

Under Boundary Bridge you can see how it has been expanded to cope with increased road traffic. Through the bridge is the huge converted warehouse, now more luxury apartments. As I was walked past them I saw an unusual sight, a boat on the canal! It was a narrowboat, Northern Point, heading towards Eldonian Village.

Opposite the old manure and rubbish wharves there is one of the new information plaques. There has been a lot of money and time spent trying to make the towpath a place people want to be. I don't know how successful it has been, judging by the cans and bottles the canal is still popular with drinkers.


Underneath the railway bridge H there is a battered milepost, I think it would be a half mile post for the 1.5 mile mark. At Sandhills the canal is full of floating rubbish and lillies. Another info plaque tells us this spot was hit by a bomb in WW2, it also tells us Mick was here in 2008 with a marker pen.

Railway tracks

Opposite the distinctive Bank Hall warehouse I noticed a short stretch of rail complete with a turntable. Wagons could come out of the doorway, turn 90 degrees on the turntable and head off along the towpath. On the wharf by the warehouse was a very odd sight, a large blue shark, sat looking into the water. Part of the recent art projects along the canal.

Battered Shark

Walking along behind these warehouses and empty buildings is a bit lonely. I hadnt seen anyone since Eldonian Village. The Lambrini bottles and Carling cans on a bench suggested I had missed the party.
Lambrini and Carling for Nazis and IRA sympathisers

Some canal art

By the new footbridge was the 2 miles mile post, painted white since I last came by this way. I would have taken a photo but the two young men in hoodies scared me so I kept walking. I should stop watching Cops on Camera.
There is a stone wall along the towpath, next to some houses. Its red sandstone and looks very old. At Bridge M is some more art work showing various tools.Through the bridge are more floating art works, an upside down taxi and a floating garden shed. Another new footbridge is next, bridge Ma, with the tower blocks of Bootle behind it.

Arty Tools

Bridge M

Floating taxi and garden shed

Bridge 1 is changeline bridge, it takes the towpath from one side of the canal to the other. Passed the wharf and housing on the old warehouse site the towpath swaps back at Stanley Road Changeline bridge. Between the bridges is another mile post this one marks 2.75 miles to Pall Mall.
Approaching the Strand the voices of drunks wafted down to the canal, telling tales of last night in the alehouse.
I considered carrying on to Litherland or Old Roan but decided to cut the walk short and left the towpath. I got the train back to Liverpool from Bootle New Strand station, £2.10.

This stretch is ideal of cyclists. The bridges are high and the towpath is wide and is in very good condition.

1 comment:

Sir Henry Tate. said...

A good and accurate summary of this stretch of the canal. Pity about the rubbish associated with it.