Neap tides and calm weather gave the opportunity to paddle from Hightown down the river Alt and along the Hightown Dune system. We are still restricted to daily exercise with one other person, so Graham and I decided to take opens and enjoy the evening sunset.
We accessed the river down the concrete slipway by the boatyard from Lower Alt Road (near the nature conservancy building). We paddled along the course of the river past the moorings and on to the Hightown Sailing club. We chatted to a couple of fishing folk and then paddle out of the creek to open sea. Conditions were flat and we had a cup of coffee on the sand bank near the River Alt outer marker and watch the ferries and tankers come up the main channel and into the Liverpool Docks.
We paddled back up the Alt to the pumping station at the Rifle Range and MOD property before getting off the water at the boat yard.
A great evening paddle but parking is limited to a few cars. You also only have an hour either side of high water or risk the muddy banks. The club usually paddles in the opposite direction from Crosby coast guard station. It is best to allow an hour or so either side of high water.
Looking forward to the return of club paddling after the 28th March (or when restrictions allow)
The excellent weather forecast continued over the Sunday – Very light winds and blue skies. This meant we had to go on the sea but where? Midday spring tides gave lots of opportunities around the region, River Alt from Crosby, River Mersey on the flood and return, Hilbre Island, Runcorn bridge to Fiddlers Ferry and Dee Sailing club to Heswall and Dee Sailing club to Mostyn shore (TSS Duke of Lancaster). Well, we wanted to keep away from the crowds at Hilbre and West Kirby so fancied paddling across the Dee Estuary to the check out the Mostyn shoreline.
Ian and I met at 10:00am at Dee Sailing Club (where run the Hilbre Island Sea Kayak Race) a couple of hours before high tide. We readied our kayaks and as the tide came over the causeway, we launched heading SW towards Mostyn. There was fog out in the middle and we were unable to see the Welsh coast but after about 45 mins we started to see the outline of the Flintshire shoreline. As we drew closer, we could see the outline of beached TSS Duke of Lancaster. As we approached, we spotted a small slipway and harbour masters office and decided to draw up to stretch our legs and have lunch. As we landed an official looking person approached and said, “where are you from”. Not wanting a confrontation during these difficult times, I replied Flint and that we were just having a cuppa. He relaxed a bit but said we were not to go up into the yard area by the harbour. “no worries we will stay below the high tide line.”
After about half an hour the tide began to change, and we got back on the water to return to Dee Sailing club. As we closed in, the fog disappeared, and we headed for the white cottage to the south of the causeway. This dropped us nicely on to the causeway and to the slipway to recover our cars. Parking on the roads above the beach was packed with 300+ cars along the side of the road. A great paddle with lots of options from the sailing club for future trips.
TSS Duke of Lancaster is a former railway steamer passenger ship that operated in Europe from 1956 to 1979, and is currently beached near Mostyn Docks, on the River Dee, north-east Wales. It replaced an earlier 3,600 ton ship of the same name operated by the London Midland and Scottish Railway company between Heysham and Belfast.
Leeds to Liverpool Canal – Halsall to Aintree and back
The sunny weather was too good to miss so Graham and I decided to go for a paddle on the canal heading south through Lydiate and Maghull to Aintree Lane to where the canal goes over the River Alt. We passed under several very low bridges but the one at Aintree Lan is unpassable and a definite portage up and over the road.
Once reaching Lydiate we passed 50 or so motorboats and canal barges, the Mersey Motorboat club! There were many houses which now backed onto the canal and it was clear that many had been busy last summer building numerous summer houses, decking and seating areas at the bottom of their gardens to while away the summer. The tow path was packed with walkers and bikes but we glided by taking in the surroundings.
On the return journey Graham collected lots of fishing tackle from the trees and bushes. We saw loads of wildlife including a couple of kingfishers. This just indicates the good quality of the water on the canal.
The numerous canals and waterways that surround the region give ample opportunity for all to get out on the water. Access is easy with the numerous small car parks and access points. Click the links below and plan your next outing. You obviously need your own boats at the moment but there is always someone to paddle with as a pair. Just suggest a trip via the googlegroups and provided there is a few days’ notice lots of members would be willing to get out on the water.
Another great day paddling through the tunnels and being attacked by a mad swan. 14.9 miles in total.
Great paddle today from Preston Brook, through the 3/4mile long Preston Brook Tunnel and out onto the Trent & Mersey canal.
Through another tunnel and onwards to the Barton Tunnel. A stop for lunch and then back with the wind behind us. They are on the Trent & Mersey canal. If you went from Preston Brook on the Bridgewater canal and go towards the Anderton boat lift it joins the Trent & Mersey canal and you will go through 3 tunnels. there are times to enter the tunnels so just check before going through or you’ll meet a canal boat coming the other way.
The four of us met at West Kirby on a bright but cold day and waited for the tide to hit the slipway. Two other groups were also launching but took the inside passage inshore of the Little Eye. We headed out to find deeper water but had to fight the tide and the incoming swell. We eventually rounded Little Eye but large waves were breaking on one of the off-shore bars. We gingerly made our way to middle eye and squeezed through the channel with some large swells and made it to the beach on Hilbre. There was not much discussion about not going around the northern end.
While on the beach we met a couple of other paddlers and swapped stories and chit-chat. After lunch we headed back but first had to pick our way through some large waves breaking on the reef on the Southern End of Hilbre. By picking the swells this was easily achieved. We were making good progress with the wind on our backs, but the tide was now ebbing quiet strongly and we had a little trouble punching through the breaking waves caused by swell against tide as it flowed over the shallows off Little Eye. We increased our cadence and surfed through the accelerated flow now against us. Once through, we had an easy paddle back to the Slipway.
Bridgewater Canal – Local Paddles and Access Points
This is easily accessed from the western end just under the flyover for the old Runcorn Bridge. There is a car park behind the Wat Phra Singh UK Restaurant (formally the Waterloo Pub) or a public one next to it. Access to the canal side in front of the canal barges. Any type of boat suitable. It is best to come from centre of Runcorn via Devonshire Place and then via the High Street.
There are numerous access points along the canal, and it can make for an good trip either out and return or with a car shuttle. Click each access point along the Bridgewater Canal for more details and photographs.
Please note this is a private canal and not part of the Canal and Rivers Trust network.
Shakedown paddle today at Crosby to check if the Mega Neutron is now watertight. It started as I noticed each time I took to the water the boat would quickly become harder to paddle but I thought it was filling up through my spaydeck. After investigation, a small crack soon appeared to be a large crack and the rim tape had turned to dust exposing the joints.
Filled with West System G Flex 655-k which is a Marine Grade Epoxy resin that is mixed 1 to 1 and can absorb stresses of expansion, contraction, shock and vibration. Easy to use, apply and finish.
The result after today’s Surf is a fully watertight boat that paddles much easier now without the extra 5 gallons of water inside. Surf and weather was great as I had all the waves to myself.