Sunday, 31 May 2015

Liverpool (2)

Here I am Rune
Distance 0 miles
Total 1150 Locks 65 Tunnels
Running total mileage 1655.3miles

Today has been a sort of ‘information overload’ type of day. The original plan was to visit one museum this morning and another this afternoon but it didn’t quite work out like that. Once again when we set out the wind was blowing an absolute gale (is this wind ever going to abate??) and so as we walked along the waterside here it was really just a case of going into the first museum, which happened to be the Maritime museum and Museum of slavery. There is absolutely masses of stuff to see here, the morning was spent going through the ‘Siezed’ exhibition of the Border Agency covering the work that they do, this was located in the basement of the museum.This was followed by the next floor which covered the amount of emigration that went through Liverpool. It is said that you learn something new every day and I have to say that I was stunned at the level of child export that this country has gone in for over the last century or so. The figures are something like 100,000 unaccompanied children were sent out to Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand basically to work as cheap farm labour in those countries. To be fair to South Africa that work was mainly done by the native blacks so the children who were ‘exported’ were put into agricultural training be become the farmers in charge of the black labourers (and we didn’t even reach the museum of slavery). 

At this point we took lunch. After lunch it was back into the Lusitania exhibition which I felt only told half of the story. There was the generated outrage at the fact that Germany had sunk a ‘civilian’ ship but the fact that the ship was carrying a lot of munitions to be used against Germany in World War 1 was skated over, even though this was the source of the second explosion after the impact of the torpedo  and it is likely that this was why the boat went down so quickly. Probably one of the first documented instances of people being used as civilian shields. We finished the day halfway through the Titanic exhibition so I’ll need to go back to finish that and the museum of Slavery before moving on to either the Museum of Liverpool or The Tate.

Items recovered.........

......from the wreck of the Titanic

It has been a pleasant stay here so far, we are virtually underneath the Liverpool Hilton for which I looked up the prices for a stay there and it seems that the cheapest you can stay there for is about £590 for the 6 days were are here (over £600 with breakfast!!). It makes our 6 days here for nothing look a pretty good deal. The only minor irritation was a couple of drunks who decided to play up in the early hours of this morning (05.20am) by throwing one of the harbourside lifebelts onto the mooring pontoon and then coming down onto the pontoon themselves. I was woken by some shouting from them but when I looked out they had gone. The guy in the adjacent boat got a look at them as they made off but it seems that, other than being an annoyance, they didn’t cause any substantive harm (I had a cheap (£1) solar garden light on the front of the boat that was broken off!). Since we are pretty much in the centre of the city this sort of thing can be expected.

Tomorrow onto more museums, or perhaps a trip across the Mersey.

Saturday, 30 May 2015


Here I am Rune
Distance 12.5 miles
Total 1150 Locks 65 Tunnels
Running total mileage 1655.3miles

This will be a sort of ‘today’ and ‘yesterday’ posting since, in the excitement of getting into Liverpool I didn’t get around to posting yesterday. The trip from Bridge 10 into Salthouse Dock went pretty well, or at least it did once the rain had stopped. The first obstacle is the swing bridge at Bridge 9 which, in these days of Health and Safety, does seem to me to be a slightly odd arrangement. The guys from CRT operate the bridge for us to pass through but on the right hand side of the canal there is no barrier to stop the traffic. The CRT men put a cone in the centre of the road however is some half wit fails to see it the point of contact is straight into the canal! It is, I suppose, nature’s way of eliminating the useless drivers. I think this ‘assisted passage’ stuff began in the days when Liverpool had a horrendous reputation for boats travelling in, kids jumping on the boats at bridges, stoning the boats, etc. but things have changed massively now to the extent that the CRT people don’t ride ‘shotgun’ on the boats going in they just go on ahead in their van and open all of the swing bridges and locks for us. Once you get to Liverpool docks I thought that they might get aboard to show the to Salthouse Dock but even then they just give directions and leave you to it. As we entered the docks the wind picked up quite significantly but at least there is plenty of space to manoeuvre if things go wrong. The only thing that did occur to me as we passed through Albert Dock was that if anything became wrapped around the propeller causing a loss of steerage the boat would drift (or should I say be wind pushed) into a very expensive bunch of GRP sailing boats moored there, I suspect that my 18 ton of narrow-boat could do some serious damage to them!

John Lennon Peace Memorial

Once safely moored up on the pontoon we then popped up the road to a fair sized Tesco to stock up for the weekend and took the opportunity to have a little bit of a wander around Liverpool, and it is quite an interesting place. More chance today for a further nose around taking in a lot of the Beatle Tour sites, it is interesting that it is such a massive thing here still when you consider that it was over 50 years ago now when they were at the height of their powers (and 45 years ago since they split up). There certainly seems a lot to do here whatever the weather does, there is the Tate, Maritime Museum, Liverpool Museum, Liverpool Cathedral (good view over the city I am told) Radio City tower (another good view) and then if we want to travel wider there is always a trip across on the Mersey Ferry or a trip up to Crosby to see the Antony Gormley creation ‘Another place’, I don’t think we’ll get bored here!

A variety of statues around the city, this one to Ringo....




.......and another one to John.

And one around the corner to Eleanor Rigby, done by the entertainer Tommy Steele.

Thursday, 28 May 2015


Here I am Rune
Distance 6.5 miles
Total 1144 Locks 62 Tunnels
Running total mileage 1642.8miles

And so to our last mooring before we go into Liverpool docks tomorrow. I have to say however I'm starting to get heartily sick of this wind, it seems to have been blowing forever.

We get collected tomorrow from Bridge 9 by the CRT crew at 9.00am tomorrow morning so at the moment we are moored with a couple of other boats going into Liverpool by bridge 10, about a mile from the pick-up point. Since the start is at 9.00am it will require an early start (for us!) of about 8.15am away from our mooring. Should be an interesting day as to begin with we pass alongside Aintree, the Grand National racecourse. I think that the CRT crew do most of the bridge opening and lock work which will be a bonus since the forecast for tomorrow is rain. Hopefully by tomorrow night, if nothing goes wrong, we should be moored up in Salthouse Dock, Liverpool for a stay lasting until next Thursday.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Here I am Rune
Distance 7.5 miles
Total 1144 Locks 62 Tunnels
Running total mileage 1636.3miles

Perhaps I’m becoming a grouch or maybe it is just the fact that the weather hasn’t really got anywhere near ‘summery’ yet but another moan today. Set off OK from just east of Glovers Swing Bridge although due to bad timing two other boats passed me whilst I was casting off so crew did the bridge work for them for which they were appreciative. The start of the complaint came as we got to the end of the Rufford Arm where my map shows a sanitary station, it is still there but has been closed and locked since 2007 so having lugged my suitcase full of sh*t to the elsan point I had to lug it back again.

 On to Burscough where the next sanitary station is located. As I approach the moorings there is a boat on there who is untying so my thought was I’ll get past him and moor so that I’m out of his way. Turns out that the guy in charge of the boat is a real tosser! As I begin to pass him he starts to shout, “Didn’t you see me reversing, I need to get on there to get some water”. Since he was pulling the boat with his centre rope it is impossible to see when approaching that he was just moving his boat back a boat length rather than moving off. I replied, “No I thought you were going”. He then began some rant about how he had moored there last night (the maximum time on the mooring is 1 hour!) and hadn’t been able to get water so had to go to bed filthy (it looked like his standard condition to me) and now that he wanted to fill with water I was going to ‘steal’ his place. Had I intended to fill with water my attitude would have been “Tough, you’ll have to wait” but since all I was doing was emptying the elsan I decided there was no real issue in reversing back and mooring behind him. No particular thanks from him although I was hardly surprised. I would have to say that it is tossers like this that give the Traveller boaters a bad name. He had turned up on a limited services mooring and stayed the night dumping a whole load of crap from his boat across the towpath. Then becomes abusive when someone else comes along with a genuine purpose for mooring there as though he is in some sort of rush when he clearly isn’t. The final icing on the cake was when he had to ask me to open the water point for him since he didn’t have a key for it(obviously the reason he had been unable to get water the previous night).  If he doesn’t know how to live on the water properly perhaps he’d be better off getting himself a tent. Second day’s rant over!

Tomorrow it will be the leg to Aintree racecourse where we get picked up by CRT on Friday morning and taken into Liverpool Docks, the only downside is that the weather again isn’t looking too clever.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


Here I am Rune
Distance 9.2 miles
Total 1144 Locks 62 Tunnels
Running total mileage 1628.8miles

I really am getting a bit tired of these constant strong winds that we seem to be getting over the past few months. The forecasters are rubbish at predicting them since the forecast I read last night said wind speeds of about 12 – 15mph whereas what we have actually had today is winds of 25 – 30mph, which is a significant difference. It is when you get winds such as this that minor irritations can really niggle and today it was the half-wit who left his boat by Bridge 36, Spencer’s swing bridge. Now since it is necessary to stop and moor up to operate the swing bridge it makes it that much more difficult when an idiot is on the bridge mooring and ten times as difficult when it is blowing a gale! Fortunately I have a crew who, once they are ashore can go and operate the bridge whilst I have to brace myself to manually hold the boat against the wind. For someone who was single crewing this wouldn’t have been an option and I would say that if the person single crewing had been me I would have violently breasted up alongside the boat and tried to tie it off before it drifts away across the canal. If these muppets can afford a boat, they can afford some mooring pins to tie them up with rather than lazily using lock and bridge mooring points, rant over!

Because of the lack of mooring opportunities we have gone slightly further than necessary today and are now in sight of Bridge 33, Glovers Swing Bridge. Tomorrow it will be to Haskayne, either Bridge 21a or 20a.