I mentioned our trip to Liverpool in a previous post, Moving home with a difference, but I didn’t go into much detail, so I’m going to remedy that now.

It’s a trip all boaters should make at least once, in my opinion. Obviously, not everyone will travel the same route, but everyone will arrive at Bridge 9 on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, just beyond Maghull. And you’ll probably arrive there the day before, or even the very day you’ve booked to go down the Liverpool Canal Link into the docks.

Yes, you have to book, months in advance, on the CRT website. The mooring in Salthouse Dock is free for seven nights. When we were there, electricity was also free, rubbish was collected daily from the end of our pontoon, and there were CRT staff available most of the time to assist as needed.

Bridge 9, Handcock’s Swing Bridge, is the first of two bridges that have to be operated by CRT staff, and they’re only there for two, one-hour windows each day. Grace and I had been intending to moor in Eldonian Village at the end of the navigation the night before our descent, but the CRT guys advised against it and suggested instead that they accompanied us down as far as Litherland, where we should moor; closer and a lot safer, they said.

Our mooring above Bridge 9

It turned out that accompanying us meant meeting us at each of the three bridges along the way, opening them for us and waving us through. Finally, they met us at Litherland, pointed us to all of the useful local amenities – Tesco, fish and chips, pub, bus stop and railway station – and bid us good night. It has to be said that this was a very long way from being the most attractive place to moor, but we were really glad to be there. It’s a CRT yard and office, and we shared the space with piles of bricks, bags of gravel, lengths of timber, old machinery and a couple of feral cats. But it was clean and tidy, and pretty quiet by urban standards. It’s a gated site, too, and only boaters have the key. There were several other boats there as well, either on their way to or from the docks. It was ideal. Perfect for the occasion.

We were ahead of schedule, so we spent three nights there. Early in the morning of our scheduled descent, we set off towards Stanley Top Lock, the entrance to the Link. Here we were met by two other CRT staff, and Narrowboat Brutus Maximus with whom we were to spend the trip down.

And I’ll tell you about that in my next post.

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You can read about the whole of our Liverpool adventure and many more besides in my Kindle books Life with our feet under water and Moving home with our feet under water. You can find them here.

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