After a month’s gap due to bad weather, colds and sea Kayaking (not me) our walking along the Leeds Liverpool Canal continues on a beautifully sunny and warm spring day, the Saturday before the clocks go forward.
We’ve both missed this time together and are glad to be
back where we left off.
Here at Downholland Cross, by the Scarisbrick Arms.
Both fortified by some hand made Welsh fudge from our friend Jayne.
We set off.
We are now beyond the parts of this canal where either of us have ever walked before.
Spring is abundant along the towpath.
Out here on the Lancashire Plain.
Our first abandoned swing bridge of the day.
The remnant of a road no longer travelled.
Next, our first barge in motion since leaving Liverpool in Mid-February. We meet very few people along the canal, but the pubs and roads around us are busy.
Riding past the Ship Inn near Haskayne.
Soon after this the canal enters a cutting. Where we find out where this whole thing started.
Sarah manages to photograph one of the many bees.
While I manage what I think is a wasp. Sarah tells me though “It’s some sort of pollinator – probably a fly, that is a mimic of a wasp to keep predators away, or it could be a species of solitary bee.”
Leading to no path anymore.
The Saracen’s Head.
Sarah tells me this is the name of a knot at the end of a rope, looks like a turban.
We stop for lunch on the other side of the bridge there.
And watch the boats go by.
The Pride of Sefton.
Though we’re well outside of Liverpool we’re surrounded by scouse voices all day, all of us having a glorious day out.
Sarah stops to identify the birds over there in the trees.
“They’re definitely birds” she tells me, authoritatively.
Next, something I just can’t take to. A landscape defaced by static caravans.
I find it smugly suburban.
What hell could well look like, for me.
Sarah tells me that as long as you’ve got a license for the canal, she thinks you can indeed moor there. Unless anyone knows different?
Next, things get even worse. Our towpath blocked by barbed wire.
Forced along between fences.
Next to the locked in private moorings of the Scarisbrick Marina.
Sarah has actually been in there and tells me it’s a feast of ‘Do Not’ signs. So we walk on.
Past this lovely old slipway.
And this is almost certainly nothing to do with her, but here we pause and remember our old friend Dolly Lloyd from the Liverpool High Rise Tenants Group.
In this perfect heaven.
By now, having seen us walk past a couple of pubs you might, as ever, be wondering and worrying where we’re going to go for a wee.
Worry no more. We’re at Heatons Bridge.
Where we stop for a drink and the necessaries.
Maybe it’s the hot day and therefore my thirst, but the half of Heatons Bridge Cask Ale I drink here tastes like the finest beer I’ve had in my life.
Walking on. Parbold Hill in the distance. We’ll pass through Parbold on Section Four of this walk.
As the afternoon gets late and drowsy we sit down by the canal for half an hour. No point rushing the precious experience of being here.
Sarah takes a photograph of me using one of the effects on her camera.
Here it is. No Photoshop involved.
Sarah notices this little plaque on the edge of the canal where we’re sitting.
Here we are then. Happy in this place, on this day.
We walk on.
Thinking “Haven’t we already seen that?”
Or do all abandoned swing bridges look like this?
Coming into the last mile or so of our walk, a delightful surprise.
A canal-side row of terraced houses.
What could be lovelier? To a terraced house fan.
Next, our first site of a swing bridge at work.
A proud dog oversees operations.
Nearly done now.
Into Burscough, our first bit of industrial landscape since Bootle.
And very strange. Not sure if it’s fairground storage or fairground graveyard?
Here’s where we get off then.
See you back here next time to walk from Burscough to Wigan in Section Four.
Arriving back in Liverpool at the end of a perfect day.
And here’s Sarah’s map of today’s walk. Section 3 of us walking from Liverpool to Leeds along the canal.