Mersey Estuary Paddle 1st May 2021 – by Keith Steer
The weather looked ace, light winds and blue sky so I suggested a paddle – probably the Mersey. People had been telling me of an easy get on at the Rest Rooms Pub / Tranmere Sailing Club ramp on the Wirral. From here we could take the flood tide up towards Eastham and the Marshes beyond.
The slipway gives good access and avoids all the nasty pontoons and terminals to the north. While the flood tide is very strong, it does whisk you along and we were soon paddling past several wharfs and commercial slipways towards Eastham park. Here the Deep-water shipping channel gets very close to the shore and you need to keep a good eye out for any of the small tankers and craft heading for either the Shell oil terminal or Ship Canal locks.
We spied a couple of mid-tide stopping points but carried on past the Ship canal towards Mount Manisty (a mound of spoil from where they dug out the ship canal 100yrs ago). The tide was still rising, and we found a small drain under the ship canal that provided a sheltered channel for a snack. Before long, the tide rose enough to enable a safe and mud-free exit. The sandy beach proved ideal for a lunch break while we waited for the tide to turn. There was even an old tent and stove discarded on the beach and ideas developed for a local camp from sea kayaks in the future.
We took the ebbing tide and wove our way around two large vessels waiting at the lock entrance. We even found a tunnel under one of the little used wharfs which was exciting. A stiff headwind had developed, and we even found a small overfall off port sunlight.
Returning to the Restrooms, it would have been poor etiquette if we had not taken advantage of a sunny outside table and some rather good food. Great local trip in the right conditions but strong tides always require little if no wind on the Mersey Estuary.