I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Monday 1st October

DSCF3986Neither of us slept well last night – it all started with a fender banging and me having to walk the streets of Liverpool in my nightie and bare feet – well the pontoons of Liverpool anyway – but at least I stopped the banging!Richard was awake before the alarm and we were both up and dressed early and Jim joined us for breakfast.  I rang through to Liverpool Marina at 9.00am expecting to leave our berth shortly afterwards but was told that the first lock wasn’t until 10.20am – why wasn’t I told that on Friday when I rang???  We said goodbye to Ian and Diana from Katynka, who had been moored next to us - they were walking up to Brunswick Lock to wave us off J  We finally left Salthouse Quay at 10.00am and motored down through Wapping Basin, DSCF3990Wapping Dock, Queens  

Dock, Coburg Dock and finally into Brunswick Dock.  We got down to Brunswick Lock for 10.20am and then sat there and waited and waited!  Apparently one of the sea gates was blocked and wouldn’t close properly.  Also we discovered that we had to pay to go through the lock – again no-one had told us this!  Fortunately I was able to do this over the phone!  We sat bobbing about in the lock entrance for 45 minutes but then tied up against a large steel catamaran used for wind turbine maintenance.  As we tied up alongside people suddenly appeared on deck!  They were very nice about it – thank goodness!We had a VHF radio onboard but it didn’t have the lock channel on it so Ian kept updating me via mobile phone!  Eventually at 11.50am the lock gates opened and we were able to go in.  The lock is huge and we shared it with another wind turbine maintenance catamaran and a lDSCF4005arge RIB.  As we nosed out of the lock the Mersey looked very big and wide but flat calm which was lovely.  We headed off across the river – me at the helm with Richard and Jim pouring over the chart and trying to pick out buoys with the binoculars.  We passed one large ship which was stemming the tide waiting to go into Queen Elizabeth Dock at Eastham.  It only took us an hour to get to Eastham and that hour seemed to go very quickly.  As we were so late we had to wait for the tide to drop so we tied up alongside a disused lock and had lunch.  At 13.20pm we were called into the main lock and told to go down to the bottom as we were going to share it.  We didn’t mind that but the Omegagas was 311 feet long, 46 feet wide and weighs in at 3312 tons and looked very daunting as she crept into the lock getting closer and closer to us!  There was hardly any difference in the water level and as the gates opened we were told to go and pull over to starboard to let Omegagas gDSCF4028o before us.  We pulled over behind the MSC tugs and waited but as Omegagas came out of the lock we must have caught a downdraught of water and we were pushed onto a tug which fortunately had rubber all round it as one of the windows hit it – thank goodness the glass didn’t break but the window is a bit buckled.  We will have to wait for some rain to see if it is going to leak L  The Manchester Ship Canal wasn’t as wide as I thought it would be and it only took us 30 minutes to get to Ellesmere Port.As we turned onto the Shropshire Union Canal I gave a sigh of relief especially as we rounded the first corner and saw a lovely narrow lock J  Jim and I opened the gates but we had to wait for the nice man from the Council to come and open the swing bridge so we could actually get into the lock.  He wasn’t DSCF3953long and we were soon on our way up the three locks.  At the top Penny joined us for a cuppa before we bade them farewell thanking Jim for his company on our epic voyage!We pulled over onto the Ellesmere Port Visitor Moorings and moored up for the night feeling totally exhausted!  It had been quite stressful with all the hassle at Brunswick Lock and also I kept finding more and more people that I had to contact regarding the crossing.  I’ve decided that I’m going to write all the information down and will publish it on the blog so that anyone who wants to do the crossing won’t find it as difficult as we did.


I've just received the following photos from Ian and Diana who took them from the top of the lock.  If you look carefully at the last one you can see a small speck in the middle of the river - that's us!!!  Thank you Ian and Diana they are great mementos :-)





 
 

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