Boats travelled from across the network.  Clara Grace and Cormorant 2 coming up on the eastern route with an epic journey up the River Trent to join the canals at Keadby Lock to cruise to Sheffield, then return to Leeds and the northern Pennines route linking to Liverpool.  Peru and Now Then came up from the Midlands, taking in garden visits at Trentham on Trent & Mersey and RHS Worsley on the Bridgewater.  Dabbling, travelling from its home mooring on the Middlewich Branch, caught them up and moored together at Pennington Flash beyond Leigh – news was reaching us the Cormorant 2 had been struck down by a dreadful sickness bug, so we put ourselves on standby for help with the Wigan 21 flight, thankfully Lynn and Bob recovered – their problems were not over when getting towards the bottom of the lock flight the gates were padlocked !!

Dabbling spent a couple of nights in Parbold (great Chippie).  Peru & NowThen had gone on ahead to Burscough and took a train ride to Southport – Peter wanting to rekindle childhood memories and walk the Pier (2nd longest in the country) until he was told it was shut due to structure failure, but over a fish & chips lunch they were entertained by Elvis singing !!  Clara Grace and Cormorant 2 arrived in Parbold for Dabbling’s 2nd night and were closely followed by Elemiah.  From Parbold, Hil from Clara Grace, chose to sail on her own – after Ric had inflated the paddleboard.

The six boats then convened at Halsall.  Living in the locality, Jan from Dabbling organised her friends to provide car transport for a ‘culture’ trip to Crosby Beach to view Anthony Gormley’s ‘Another Place – Iron Men’ installation of 100’ish figures, cast from the Artist’s body and set into the shore to be washed by the tides. It was a lovely sunny evening and the ice-cream van did a good trade.  The timing of the trip coincided with high-tide and most of the figures were submerged, but it turned on to the ebb, so the 4Cs were able to record meeting a ‘naked’ man!!

Now at the western end of the Leeds & Liverpool canal, the boats proceeded down the Stanley Flight of locks, followed by passage across the docks, through the Liverpool Link in front of the iconinc ‘Three Graces’ buildings, then through Canning and Albert Docks to the moorings in Salthouse Dock.  A couple of days later Unique, travelling from its home mooring at Preston Brook on the Bridgewater, joined us to complete the complement of boats.  With the hot and sunny weather, the moorings had the feeling of a marina on the Mediterranean.  The Mersey Crossing boats had surveyor inspections for their ‘seaworthiness’ certifications, so with a good weather forecast the Friday river passage was ‘all systems go’ – as all boats passed, so the Captains went to a celebrated local real-ale ‘Baltic Fleet’ pub and the and the ’Engineers’ Meeting’ was conceived.  Click here for Post

With so much to offer in the City, crews went on various excursions and tours: –

  • Liver Building Tower: Accessing the top of the building to get close to the iconic ‘Liver Birds’, taking in the views of the River and the City, and then an ‘audio-visual’ show within one of the towers;
  • Cathedrals: Two to visit, both very different styles of architecture;
  • British Music Experience: History of British rock and pop;
  • Beatles – John’s & Paul’s homes;
  • Port Sunlight Village: Walking tour of historic Lever ‘Sunlight Soap’ factory village and Lady Lever Art Gallery;
  • And of course, SHOPPING !!!

Various events for the group had been organised by Jan from Dabbling.  There was the ‘Old Dock’ tour, where our guides from the Maritime Museum gave a detailed explanation on how the Port of Liverpool and the City developed from a little riverside village, culminating with going below the ‘Liverpool One’ shopping centre to view the original walls and rock bed of the dock uncovered following an extensive archaeological dig.  The same evening tickets had been booked for the musical of the ‘Vernon Girls’, a nostalgic 60’s music and culture experience. 

The evening before the Mersey crossing was the ‘Last Supper’ at a renowned local Italian restaurant, were waistlines expanded, especially those that were tempted by the sweet trolley!!


After a great time in the City, it was now time for a parting in the ways to the next boating adventures.  Clara Grace, Cormorant 2, Elemiah & Dabbling to do the Mersey Crossing.  Peru, NowThen & Unique to do the Ribble Crossing and Lancaster Canal.

Report by Gerard Bird – nb Dabbling, images Various

Next, read about the boats on the Mersey Crossing part of the cruise Click here