Half Way There: Walking to Leeds Section 8

One last day trip from home before we do the rest of our canal walk from stops along the way. (Yes, I know we said last week’s was the last day trip. but we couldn’t resist another.)

One last day trip to get us to the half way point between Liverpool and Leeds.

Early on, our walks all used local public transport to get to and from each walk. But since we got beyond the reach of local Liverpool transport we’ve done what we do today.

Drive to where we plan to finish the day’s walk.
Then walk to the nearest train station or bus stop.
In today’s case walking along the canal itself for a while.

Continue reading “Half Way There: Walking to Leeds Section 8”

The Cranes of Anfield

16.03.07 Anfield - 14What a beautiful day this Monday 7th March has been here in Liverpool? The kind of a day when a camera simply can’t go unused, even if just walking past things I’ve sort of got used to. Like the humungous new stand Liverpool FC are building between Walton Breck Road and Anfield Road.

I’ve arrived deliberately early for a meeting I’m having with the Beautiful Ideas Co. Partly so I can take some pictures, but also allowing time for me to call in at Homebaked. Where its good to see Cathy Alderson, usually just in for match days and street markets. And also good to have a Mushroom Stroganoff pie for my healthy social enterprise lunch! Lunch over I go outside to take the pictures.

Now normally I have some concerned words to say about Liverpool FC. Words like prevaricating, blighting and exploitation. But today we’ll let all that temporarily alone, because I’m here to rejoice in the engineering.

As you’ll know if you’ve been around this blog for a while I’m a big fan of giant cranes. So today I’m in for a treat. Continue reading “The Cranes of Anfield”

Wandering About: Down to the River

Aimlessly 3 - 52
A day of reflections.

Having walked a fair bit of North Liverpool then South Liverpool in the last two days it didn’t take a genius or even me to work out today’s ‘Walking About’ route, the middle. Roughly from here in Wavertree, through L7 and L1 to the River. Let’s go.

Out across the Mystery.
Out across the Mystery.

Reflecting as I start out on a third walk in three days that there are some times when I need a lot of time on my own. Not in a melancholy way, but I don’t want to be inside and I have an elemental need to walk, alone.

The inbound London train crosses a 79D bus on Picton Road.
The inbound London train crosses a 79D bus on Picton Road.

Continue reading “Wandering About: Down to the River”

The Giant Cranes: Episode 2

Hope Street Hotel.
Hope Street Hotel.

Another perfect spring day for Episode 2 of the Story of Reddy, Bluey and Yellowy. This time we’ll be going up on the roof of the hotel there for what we’re hoping will be some spectacular crane views. But first a recap of the story so far and a look round the corner to see how they’ve got on since yesterday.

So Giant Crane Reddy, second biggest of its kind in Europe, has been here for months. But gets surrounded by the new building its been working on. How will Reddy get out? Well with the help of even bigger Giant Crane Bluey and willing helper Yellowy. But they have a very limited time to do it as the streets around Reddy can only be closed from 7pm Friday to 6am Monday. Can they do it? Read on!

Blue's already in lifting position.
This morning Bluey’s already in lifting position.
Over a much reduced Reddy. Only three sections to go I'd say.
Over a much reduced since yesterday Reddy. Only three sections to go I’d say.

See how quickly I’ve become a self-professed crane expert? Continue reading “The Giant Cranes: Episode 2”

The Story of the Giant Cranes

Prior warning. This is not one of my ‘meaning of life’ posts and there will be no tortuous analogy at the end. It’s about cranes.

Giant Cranes01Liverpool loves a good Giant. Two or more even better. And I was impressed when I first went into town to see them a few years ago. Second time round though, I didn’t bother. No particular reason, I just couldn’t work up the interest in their made up story second time around.

Today was a different matter though.

For the last few months we've had a giant guest in the city.
For the last few months we’ve had a giant guest in the city.
Looming over Hope street and Myrtle Street and Canning.
Looming over Hope Street and Myrtle Street and Canning.


Building the new, oh well, student accommodation on the corner up there. And did I but know it, this 40 metres tall monster is the second biggest of its kind in Europe and weighs 750 tonnes.

So as the new building started wrapping itself around it I'd begun to wonder...
So as the new building started wrapping itself around it I’d begun to wonder…

Well, how are they going to get it out of there?

In fact Sarah and I had been discussing just that the other day as we passed by. (See we’re not always on the higher plains of radical politics and monkey puzzle trees.) And our conclusion? If they don’t want to smash their new building to bits they’re going to have to lift it out of there with an even bigger crane.

And it turned out we were right.
And it turned out we were right.

So today I’ve come to have a look at this being done. Continue reading “The Story of the Giant Cranes”

Wonders of the World: The Mersey Tunnel

When I was a boy I loved reading about ‘Wonders of the World.’ Not merely the Ancient Wonders like the Colossus of Rhodes but also the more modern ones, such as the Grand Coulee Dam. It never occurred to me to wonder how a thing got ‘Wonder of the World’ status and it still doesn’t. So I hereby present our very own Liverpool and Wirral Wonder of the World: The Mersey Tunnel.

There was a railway tunnel before it, and another road one after it, but say ‘The Mersey Tunnel’ round here and everyone knows where you’re talking about. It’s our Wonder of the World.

It's official. From 'Wonders of World Engineering' magazine, 1937. How it works.
And yes it’s official. From ‘Wonders of World Engineering’ magazine, 1937. How it works.

I’ve always loved it but never thought of seriously exploring it until one of those September Heritage days a few years back when Sarah suggested we go and have a look. So we did, and she took a load of pictures. But since I wasn’t writing a blog then, they’ve lain unused.

Then last Friday, when I took this photograph of the lovely George’s Dock ventilation and control station at the start of my North Docks walk, I remembered our visit to the Mersey Tunnel in 2011 and decided I would now write about it.

Beginning where last week's South Docks walk finished.
Pier Head, Liverpool. The George’s Dock Ventilation and Control Centre for the Mersey Tunnel.

First, a bit of history.

When it was opened in 1933, then ‘officially’ opened here in 1934 by a passing king and queen, this was the longest underwater road tunnel in the world.


It had taken over eight years to build and of its 1,700 workers, seventeen had lost their lives during the dirty and dangerous work of its construction. Continue reading “Wonders of the World: The Mersey Tunnel”

To the Lighthouse (with the Lighthouse Keeper)

In June 2013, Sarah and I went to stay for a few days in one of our favourite places on earth, Anglesey. In this first post about our visit we manage to get into a place we have long admired, the South Stack Lighthouse. The post, as you will see, features a man called Gordon Medlicott, amongst the last of the Lighthouse Keepers here before all of the UK’s lighthouses were automated up to 1998.

Association of Lighthouse Keepers.
Association of Lighthouse Keepers.

In fact all lighthouses have fascinated us both for years. On our travels up and down the west coast of Britain we have always made detours to go and look at them. And I remember once when we were in Cornwall going specially to Penzance to visit the National Lighthouse Museum, only to find it had recently been closed down.

Imagine my delight then, when one Sunday in March 2014, I received an email from Gordon Medlicott, the Lighthouse Keeper featured here, saying how much he’d enjoyed the post. With Gordon’s agreement some of his words are now included at the end of the piece. After all, it’s not every day you hear from a Lighthouse Keeper!

Here in Liverpool on a grey, partly rainy Tuesday our blue, sunny weekend on Anglesey seems a world away already. But full of photographs, memories and opinions, we have lots to say about what we found, and will both be doing so in a few linked posts this week.

We stayed here, Anglesey Outdoor Centre.
We stayed here, Anglesey Outdoor Centre.

Continue reading “To the Lighthouse (with the Lighthouse Keeper)”