Out of Liverpool: Walking to Leeds Section 2

leeds-liverpool-2-65On the bus from the centre of town then, back to where we left off at Wally’s Steps for the second section of our walk from here to there along the whole of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. 127 miles to Leeds with 119 to go. Today we’ll cover the 8 miles from Aintree to Downholland Cross.leeds-liverpool-2-1 leeds-liverpool-2-2 leeds-liverpool-2-3Quality graffiti here. So today will we be Riders on the Storm who will Break on Through to the Other Side? Well.

Sarah has a new jacket.

Sarah has a new jacket.

It’s a ‘paramo’ thing and apparently ‘jacket’ is hardly the word for something that will prove to keep her warm, keep her dry, keep her cool, keep her ventilated and be her best friend when other humans, me, aren’t quite up to the mark. It’s a miracle. And you can keep canal maps in the front.

We're by Aintree Racecourse.

We’re by Aintree Racecourse.

leeds-liverpool-2-6 leeds-liverpool-2-7In a few weeks The Grand National will be run here and this road through the racecourse will be closed. For me though, this place is less about horses than the racing cars that once ran here along the road you can see there on the left. I would be brought here to watch them as a small boy.

Born in Walton and moving back into inner Liverpool as soon as I grew up, I nevertheless did much of that growing up in the places we’ll be walking through today.

A much warmer day than last week's walk, with signs of springtime.

A much warmer day than last week’s walk, with signs of springtime.

A swan flies past like an apparition.

A swan flies past like an apparition.

The swing bridge on the road from Fazakerley.

The swing bridge on the road from Fazakerley.

Crossing the River Alt.

Crossing the River Alt.

Out towards Melling. Time for a short break.

Out towards Melling. Time for a short break.

Notice Sarah’s sitting on the ground, as through Sefton so far there’s been a serious shortage of benches. We wonder why? Are the likes of us a dangerous rabble who are to be prevented from loitering? Or is the canal a precious resource made the more precious by more of us enjoying it?

Under the M57

Under the M57.

Detail on the M58 photographed by Sarah.

Detail on the M57 bridge photographed by Sarah.

A fly tipped boiler.

A fly tipped boiler.

Passing through Waddicar.

Passing through Waddicar.

Out into the Melling countryside.

Out into the Melling countryside.

Lovely

Lovely Holmes Swing Bridge.

Swing bridge as part of a farm track.

Swing bridge as part of a farm track.

Melling Mount here, the only mild hill for miles around.

Melling Mount here, the only mild hill for miles around.

And oh look! It's the first bench since lunch at Rimrose Country Park last weekend!

And oh look! It’s the first bench since lunch at Rimrose Country Park last weekend!

So we stop and have this week’s lunch.

Then as Melling moves towards Maghull we see a first narrow boat, first leisure craft since we started our walk.

Then as Melling moves towards Maghull we see a first narrow boat, the first leisure craft since we started our walking.

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Under the M58.

Under the M58.

Same view but turned into a watercolour by an effect on Sarah's camera. Technology eh?

Same view but turned into a watercolour by an effect on Sarah’s camera. Technology eh?

Into Maghull now, by the train station.

Into Maghull now, by the train station.

And time for this week's wee, via this handy bridge!

And time for this week’s wee, via this handy bridge!

If this series of walks does encourage you to try some or all of them too, then we suspect this ‘where to go for a wee’ mini-feature each week will be more valuable to you than much of what I’m writing here.

This week's wee location is at Maghull Station.

This week’s wee location is at Maghull Station.

Nothing special to be honest, and another time we might prefer the nearby pub, the Great Mogul.

But is it impolite to go into a pub just for its toilets?

But is it impolite to go into a pub just for its toilets?

Well, discuss, but having a pint in passing would undo the entire point of going in there wouldn’t it?

Going back to the canal across its bridge I remembered this field from a summer's evening in 1965.

Going back to the canal across its bridge I remember this field from a summer’s evening in 1965.

We’re finishing our time together at nearby St George’s Junior School and early one balmy evening all of us, girls included, gather here. Some football is played, but my main memory is that most of us never see each other again, as we go off to our separate schools. I never return to this field again either, until today when this precious memory returns to me.

An encampment of narrow boats along towards the Hall Lane Bridge.

An encampment of narrow boats along towards the Hall Lane Bridge.

The encampment including the old war time pillbox we'd dare each other to go into as boys

The encampment including the old war time pillbox we’d dare each other to go into as boys.

The Hall Lane Swing Bridge.

The Hall Lane Swing Bridge.

Just along the road from our early 1960's Junior School.

Just along the road from our early 1960’s Junior School.

Good use of the waterside location here.

Good use of the waterside location here.

Along the walk so far we’re finding much more of a tendency to turn away from the canal, like it’s a problem?

Passing Maghull's football and cricket ground. Idyllic.

Passing Maghull’s football and cricket ground. Idyllic.

And to be fair to Sefton Council, or someone, there are some benches along here for watching the matches.

Passing St Andrew's parish church.

Passing St Andrew’s parish church.

And under the A59.

And under the A59, Northway.

We are now deep into my childhood and I’m dawdling along here with my friends from 50 years ago.

When with kindly timing the sun comes out at The Red Lion Bridge.

When with kindly timing the sun comes out at The Red Lion Bridge.

And we walk through the tunnel back in time.

And we walk through the tunnel back in time.

Back to the days when the fully laden working barges passed through here.

Back to the days when the fully laden working barges passed through here.

My friend and companion from those days on the towpath, Barry Ward, sent me this picture the other day, knowing we were about to do this walk. He maintains the small boy in the cap is me?

The same place today.

The same place today, not much changed.

Including 'Lucy's, our principal supplier of triangular bags full of pear drops and suchlike sweets back then.

Including ‘Lucy’s, our principal supplier of triangular paper bags full of pear drops and suchlike sweets back then.

Now

Now transformed into someone’s office?

I think Mrs Lucy would have something to say about that.

So good to be here.

So good to be here.

And here's the 'From me to you' swing bridge.

And here’s the ‘From me to you’ swing bridge.

Though for some reason it's operating under another name now.

Though for some reason it’s operating under another name now.

Back when we were boys we’d unhook the bridge (never locked), take a run at it and swing it open for the passing barges, singing as we swivelled out across the water:

“If there’s anything that you want, if there’s anything I can do,
Just call on me and I’ll send it along
With love from me to you!”

And here we are, the boys from back then, again courtesy of Barry at ‘our’ swing bridge on a visit three years ago.

Paul Du Noyer, Barry Ward and me, 2014.

Paul Du Noyer, Barry Ward and me, 2014.

Walking on, and well on from the start now.

Walking on, and well on from the start now.

leeds-liverpool-2-51Along a whole run of houses on Liverpool Road North we find the best appreciations so far that they’ve got a beautiful canal at the ends of their long thin back gardens.leeds-liverpool-2-52 leeds-liverpool-2-53 leeds-liverpool-2-54leeds-liverpool-2-56Though opposite to them, on our towpath side is a Maghull going on Lydiate I have no knowledge of.

Built after I left. This was truly 'all fields' when I knew it.

Built after I left. This was truly ‘all fields’ when I knew it.

Followed closely by snowdrops.

Followed closely by snowdrops.

And a sit somewhere in Lydiate.

And a sit somewhere in Lydiate.

Watched by gnomes who wonder why the humans don't make more benches for each other?

Watched by gnomes who wonder why the humans don’t make more benches for each other?

A bench turns up outside the Running Horses pub.

A bench turns up outside the Running Horses pub.

This time we do go in and make legitimate use of the facilities.

This time we do go in and make legitimate use of the facilities.

A lot of boats moored along here.

A lot of boats moored along here.

As we feel ourselves moving out of the orbit of a wider Liverpool to a very definite somewhere else.leeds-liverpool-2-64

Picture perfect. Kind of like you'd expect.

Picture perfect. Kind of like you’d expect.

leeds-liverpool-2-66leeds-liverpool-2-67

A Runcorn boat.

A Runcorn boat.

A boat with a peaceful message...

A boat with a peaceful message…

Loudly said.

Loudly said.

Next a feast of snowdrops.

Next a feast of snowdrops.

A whole bank of them.

A whole bank of them.

Bridge detail by Sarah.

Bridge detail by Sarah.

“In horse drawn days sticks would be driven through these to keep the tow ropes from chafing on the corner of the bridge there.”

Out onnto the flat former sea bed of the Lancashire Plain.

Out onto the flat former sea bed of the Lancashire Plain.

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Rosemary, at peace with her boat.

Rosemary, at peace with her boat.

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leeds-liverpool-2-78leeds-liverpool-2-79

Last break of the day. Product placement by Sarah.

Last break of the day. Product placement by Sarah.

As we sit talking peacefully and drinking our tea, a golden evening happens.leeds-liverpool-2-81

On a field of Kale.

On a field of Kale.

We both take the same picture.

We both take the same picture.

By me.

By me.

By Sarah.

By Sarah.

Two against nature.

Two against nature.

leeds-liverpool-2-90 leeds-liverpool-2-91leeds-liverpool-2-92Coming close to the end of today’s walk, near Downholland Cross, we find the first bit of catering directly on to the canal bank.

Well done.

Well done.

Hoping to see more of this hospitality as we walk on.

Nearly done now.

Nearly done now.

That's it.

That’s it.

Until next time.

Until next time.

leeds-liverpool-2-98

Goodbye from us.

Goodbye from us.

Here at the Scarisbrick Arms at Downholland Cross.

Here at the Scarisbrick Arms at Downholland Cross.

Waiting for the bus home to Liverpool.

Waiting for the bus home to Liverpool.

Sarah’s map of today’s walk, Section 2.ll2-done

A really lovely day, helped by the oncoming spring. Next section of our walk of the whole Leeds Liverpool Canal likely to be in two weeks time, 5th March, as Sarah has sea kayaking to do next weekend.

7 thoughts on “Out of Liverpool: Walking to Leeds Section 2

  1. John Viggars

    More nostalgia this week. Remembering that the Mersey Motor Boat Club was originally in Litherland. Memories of teenage trips to see family friends in Lydiate & Downholland. First pint in the Running Horses when about 15 (on way home from Bean picking)…….
    You are now getting into the country & the pubs come thick & fast next week (although you missed the ‘Lollies’, oldest in Lancashire?) Should be able to pee more frequently if you try them all out? Don’t know if the following are all still there: Kings Arms, Ship, Saracens Head, Red Lion, Heatons Bridge, Farmers Arms, Ring O’Bells….. all teenage haunts & on occasion since then. As I’ve never walked past the rise at Wigan I can’t wait until you get & out there and I see tips for new walks in a couple of weeks

    Reply
  2. Linda Friday

    I would echo the above comments. Lovely and indeed you walked past the bottom of my garden!! There is also the Blue Anchor Pub in Aintree just after the Melling Road Bridge. And of course the Bootle Arms a little off the path but just over the swing bridge facing the church at Melling Rocks. As I understand it these all formed part of a network of hostelries to support the canal trade and its workers.

    Reply
  3. memoirsofahusk

    Next stretch you’ll be doing the bit we strolled along a couple of weekends ago I think – look out for some great boat names! You’ll be blogging them before I get around to it no doubt! Great series. Look forward to more.

    Reply

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