Having spent much of December and the start of the New Year working in Indianapolis, I was desperate for a paddle. In the States everything was frozen solid with record minus temperatures
and back in the UK everything was flooded.
So with a window in the weather looking promising for the weekend, I posted a message on Liverpool Canoe Clubs message group asking if anyone was sea paddling? I soon had a response from Liverpool Canoe Club member Martin McCoy. Martin and Brian Green were currently hatching plans to paddle on the Mersey from Crosby to Garston and back, as the tides would work well for this.
So we met up at Crosby outside the coastguard centre as arranged. Brian brough along a sea kayak he'd borrowed and not paddled before. It wasn't long before we were off. It was a beautiful day and with it being high tide, there were quite a few ship movements. Brian kept in touch with the Liverpool VTS to ensure we were not halfway across the Mersey just as a ship was entering or leaving port. It was impressive just how quickly the ships came and went. The tide also did its work sweeping us in past Liverpool for lunch at New Ferry. There was a lot to see. We didn't get as far as Garston as Brian couldn't get comfortable in his borrowed kayak, and we had a couple of unscheduled stops to try to adjust the footrest. So at the lunch stop, whilst the tide was turning, Martin swapped boats with him.
We then waited for an oil tanker to pass, before crossing over to the Liverpool side of the Mersey.
I was impressed with how fast the tide was running. With very little effort we cruised past the convention centre and ferry, before crossing again to Egremont to avoid the ships coming in and out of the port.
Brain and Martin in discussion in the sun.
We then headed out to the Perch Rock Lighthouse before making the final crossing back to Crosby.
I really wasn't sure what this paddle would be like, as when you think about paddling through a big port, with its docks and oil refineries, it doesn't exactly paint a pretty picture. But I have to say I really enjoyed this trip. There's lots to see and although maybe not so great in terms of the wildlife (however Brian did tell me he has seen porpoises in the Mersey), I would thoroughly recommend this trip to anyone. I wouldn't think twice about doing it again.
Many thanks to Martin McColl for replying to my plea for a paddle and also to Brian Green for keeping watch on the shipping movements.