Taking The Turn

Moorhen MarinaIt turns out you can get just about everything you need in Harlow. After another trip to the ‘heart’ of the town centre we battled our way back through a huge tBurnt Mill Lockhunder storm and another massive downpour. By mid-afternoon the skies had cleared leaving windy conditions but at least it was dry. A short way up river we turned at Moorhen Marina, filled with water and decided not to chance the rising waters but to begin a slow return towards London. It will be a slow one as we River Stortonly moved on three locks this afternoon, before mooring terribly, right on a bend and shutting up for the night; it shouldn’t matter too much as nobody seems keen to venture out in the stormy conditions. It may not have been the most pleasant of days for travelling but it was an awful lot calmer than this time a year ago.

The fire is kicking out plenty of heat, the living pod is doing a great job fending off the nasty weather out there in the darkness tonight.

Ticket To Ride

Canning Dock

us looking tiny – thanks for the photo Pete!

Fellow moorers turned out for our departure, all having experienced fairly hectic arrivals it was generally accepted that we were heading into the unknown. ‘But have you done everything you wanted to do?’ Startled, we looked back at Liz before realising she meant in Liverpool, not life in general.

Thankfully the gate was lowered so we moved on through Albert Dock, where a wide beam bow thrusted it’s way through holding. Second up, we were soon into the lock where the Canal and River Trust told us to buzz by the wide beam if we got the chance, brand new, it had just been craned in and the couSalisbury Dockple had never steered a boat before. Yikes, what a place to start. Tliverpool linkhe guys working the second lock went through the motions without glancing our way, only when we rose to the top we realised they had bigger concerns – the wide

wide beam getting crunched

wide beam getting crunched

beam had careered off, ripping through buoys before smacking into the harbour wall – youch, not fanatical boat bandagers ourselves but a brand new boat? We felt their paint pain.

With little power to assist a wildly six faced clock tower Salisbury dockroaring wide beam engine we motored past, our sights fixed firmly on the six faced clock tower ahead, the last dry land support for sailors, the all important watch check reminder. Through Stanley Dock, the enormous Tabacco Warehouse, standing 125ft high and containing 30,000 panes of glass was the largest building in the world when it was constructed in 1901. Today was a breeze, we even had time to drop the revs and admire the view, a far cry from our hair raising ride just five days ago.

We watched from Stanley bottom dock as the boat crunchers zoomed pStanley Dock Tobacco Warehouseast, heading up towards Nelson Dock, before reappearing sometime later just as our lock gates closed, that was the last we saw of them. Pretty shaken, they were told to spend the night at Litherland.

Rain had set in by the time we reached bridge 9, so we stopped for the day. Hardly rocket science but conditions really do make or break a trip, our faith now fully restored in the Liverpool Link, in fair weather it’s up there as a modern-day waterway wonder.


Liverpool MuseumA cold grey day with showers but Liverpool rolls on just the same, coaches delivering people to the docks, top deck city tours full off frozen faces and windswept carousel riders.

Final day in dock, museum revisits and a very brief Tate fly-by where Nick failed to discover hisFive-Man Pedersen creative zen, again. His reaction an installation spectacle, a final, fairly loud ‘Who’s supposed to be paying who four quid here?’ and we called it a day. Contents aside, the gallery windows frame some impressive views.

Liverpool Link from Liverpool Museum

Link popping up outside Liver Building

The washing machine, fan heaters and dehumidifier have all been working over time,  securing their valuable place onboard. A last trip to Home Bargains (not sure if these have made it South yet) but basically a pound shop wheAlbert Dock from Tatere things cost a bit more than a pound and are the genuine article, none of that Lenir or Pantein mind bending rubbish…REAL 1kg Uncle Ben’s rice at £1.99.

Reapenny lanedy-ish for departure tomorrow morning. Met Office forecast looking okay, Country File did its best to scare us, we’re banking on that being wrong. A farewell to unlimited water celebrated with a bath. Murk won’t be sad to see the back of city streets and the anodes will most probably enjoy a rest – they’ve actually been fizzing in the salt water, eeek.

Hard Day’s Night

murk and liverpool wheelStacks of things to see and do. Murk getting used to his lot, settling into urbanmaritime museum pretty well, taking things like the Liverpool Wheel, carousels, crowds in his stride. Gradually ticking off the attractions – yesterday was mainly Merseyside Maritime and Liverpool museums plus the slightly surreal Piermaster’s House. Enormous and bursting with factoids, by mid-afternoon Nick’s attthe cavernention span was frazzled, he wandered aimlessly between exhibits like a nine year old on a school trip. Heading back to finish off tomorrow.

Followed the brightlights last night, things starteLiverpoold well with tapas and appeared to get even better when we were considered young enough for free entry and free shots in a nightclub, not so impressed once inside to find we were actually the youngest of a sparse group of people who’d also been mugged off on the free shot promise (free wliverpool dockhen you bought a round of drinks). The vibe was alarmingly like this …so we did the chicken and the robot and danced the night away with people who freely admitted having ‘dance offs’ in their ‘living rooms’.

Eye opening was an effort this morning, unfortunately not for Murk who, useless as ever, waited to be walked. A city centre afternoon of crowds and street entertainers. Completely loving the Salthouse moorings, immaculately maintained, bang in the heart of the action yet totally secure.


superlambananasuperlambananasuperlambananaBy the time the sun came up yesterday seemed forever away. Blue skies, light wind and sunshine. With endless water on tap and more electricity than possible to burn, we’d arrived in the promised land, Liverpool.

Washed the salt crust from half the boat before spinning to secure dazzling waterfront views. Washed the other half, washed the bedding, washed Murk – washed pretty much anything remotely washable. Nick did a Tesco dash Salthouse Dock(0.3 miles), getting there involved going through Liverpool One, literally no dista6931nce from the door.

Walked Murk back along yesterday’s trechurous route, never seen so little green in his entire life, and definitely never encountered three superlambananas before. Unimpressed, he was bundled back onboSalthouse Dockard while we went exploring. With Malmaison set behind, The Hilton dazzling through the bedroom porthole and the controversial Titanic Hotel bobbing under the Liverpool Wheel, these moorings are set centre of glistening city glamor; flip side being the constant dark, lonely groaning of ropes and the fact that most buildings and other things usually safe to consider permanently positioned rise and fall impossibly on the water. This is far far from canal.

Gale Force Link

choppy Liverpool LinkUp far too early. Through the first swing bridge, nohydrolic explosion in swing bridge great show. Met with hugely theatrical arm waving at the second, figuring that probably meant stop we pulled over. Sure enough there was a ‘bridge failure’, basically hydraulic fluid spurting about all over the place, an engineer about an hour away and a bridge stuck shut.

At 10.15 the day was looking short. Put in a bit of boat work, a trip to the boat behind - Liverpool Linkthe local shops and a some more boat waxing. Sirens sounded at 12.45, the bridge test run was a success. Microwaves, buggies, fire extinguishers, scooters, bikes, sacking, clothes all bobbed mLiverpool Link infront of Liver Buildingenacingly, frequently grabbing hold of the prop throughout the day, aaaargh.

By the time the bridge conundrum was resolved there was a strong possibility of a night at Litherland, but arriving we were waved on through – still enough time in the day to position the all important gate in Albert Dock for our passage. The next couple of miles Canning Dock - Liverpoolcranked the wind machine…by the time we arrived at Stanley Locks the Canal and River Trust crew were whooping and hollering about the rough ride that lay ahead. Joined by our buddy boat, chat petered out to deathly silence as we peered down at the choppy water. As soon as the bow entered Stanley Dock it was pretty clear there was no time for dithering, just full power and the nose pointing about 45 deg off where the boated needed to go. Shite. Looking back was no comfort as our boating buAlbert Dock - Liverpoolddy was barely visible under spray, waves etc.

Through Salisbury Dock where the ominous six faced clock tower stood tall,cpowered on heading straight for the Irish Sea before a sharpsih, boat keeling left hand sweep into a relatively calm channel. Canal and River Trust eagerly awaited out arrival, greeted by shouts ‘Choppy one eh?? We looked at the Mersey and it was touch and go to be honest…” And they said go, hmmm.

Under the link we bobwindbed up in front of the Liver Building before locking into Canningwind speeds Liverpool Link Dock, round into Albert Dock and finally onto our pontoon in Salthouse. With very wobbly legs, faces full of sea spray and a salt crusted boat it was luxury to tie up, hook up to shoreline and fill with water. With gusts banging in at seven on the Beaufort Scale we experienced a moderate gale (whole trees in motion, resistance felt when walking) Liverpool Link. Memorably hectic.