Saturday, February 20, 2010

Around and About North Liverpool

Royal Mail have moved our parcel collection office to Sandhills, so now we have to drive to collect our undelivered mail rather than walk. Its not too far though and gives me the chance to stop by the huge Chinese supermarket to buy MSG filled snacks. The Royal Mail building is on the site of an timber yard which was crossed over head by the goods railway line to the docks. Opposite is the bricked up windows and doorway of what, I guess, was once Sandhills Station. This building has the remains of the goods railway to its left and the still existing passenger railway to the right. 

Sandhills Station

While were were in the car we went to look at the Everton Water Tower. I have been in contact with the British Water Tower Appreciation Society ( this week and it reminded me of the Water Tower in Everton, a place I have been meaning to visit for a long time.  The tower is a tank covered in impressive masonry next to a covered reservoir. The area around the tower is strange. Once it would have been rows of terraced houses here with hotels, public baths, a boys home and churches. All that was cleared in the name of progress. There are still some of the 1960s/70's houses remaining that replaced the terraces. I dont believe they ever looked good. These houses have in turn been replaced by semi-detached houses in the 1990s. The newer houses are nice enough but the area has a forgotten backwater feel to it. Many of the roads have been blocked off or restricted to traffic, probably for good reason. This has left the roads looking abandoned. 

the Everton Water Tower

Everton Brow was redeveloped in the 1980s, and a large area of parkland was created where the barracks and schools and houses once were. There are impressive views of the city, the river, the Wirral and even snow capped mountains beyond. It is a shame that the area hasn't had some more development in the last 30 years. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Canal Walk: Parbold to Dean Locks

Just a short walk from Parbold up to Dean Locks and back today. We managed to squeeze into the car park by Parbold Bridge. The towpath was muddy and slippy but popular with cyclists and walkers. There were few signs of Spring on the towpath, just some catkins and the odd pair of mallards. 

We walked up to Dean Locks where a restaurant boat was waiting to lock up. Two boats were coming down. The other lock is still closed and now has a sunken maintenance boat, Cornwall, next to it. 

As we turned around to walk back the drizzle started. At Appley Locks I walked down to the top one of the two smaller locks. The whole area is now fenced off and in a poor state. 
The drizzle continued as we walked back. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Canal Walk: Chester

Today we took the train from Liverpool to Chester. 100 years (and two days) ago LTC Rolt was born in Chester so a trip to Chester seemed fitting. Added to that was the chance to have a nice lunch and see a few of the city's public houses. 

From the station its a short walk to the canal, straight ahead up City Road. We crossed the bridge over the canal and then went down to the towpath and underneath the bridge. We walked towards the city centre. Under Frodsham Street (where the Chinese dragons were getting ready for their firecrackers) and up to the usual moorings of Albatross when she is in town. 

Here I identified the remains of the bridge which once took the towpath over the arm belonging to Shropshire Union Railway and Canal Company. 

Something else we noted was the large sign telling us the towpath was closed! We carried on hoping that whatever work was being down on the towpath was on hold for the weekend. Round the corner, under the city walls, it became clear what the work was. All the trees and saplings along the rock cutting up to the city walls had been cut down. Rather than spoiling this picturesque section of canal it has opened it up, exposing the rock cutting and city walls above. 

Under the Bridge of Sighs and on to the staircase locks. There was a boat in the locks, crewed by three lads. They were in the 2nd chamber from the top, locking up. Or rather they were wondering why they were not locking up. The top chamber was empty and they were going nowhere. I suggested they open the top paddles if they wanted to get anywhere soon but I think they were about to figure it out for themselves. 

Past the locks and under the railway and road to the basin by the Dee Branch. We walked up to the iron bridge which has the plaque to LTC Rolt on it. Its an interesting spot with its dry dock, metal bridge and boatyard with all the boats that go with it. There are a couple of Normans in amongst the sorry looking boats there. 
We followed the Dee Branch as far as we could. There was a family of swans in by the lock and a cat on the lift bridge. 

We went up to the city walls and walked back the way we came but along the top of the city walls looking down. As we came to the Bridge of Sighs the boat from the lock was passing below. Following the walls round to the river we went to the Bear and Billet pub for a massive lunch which kept us full for the rest of the day.