Haskayne to Melling – 25th January 2018
Today’s walk began with a No. 300 bus ride to Haskayne where we joined the canal to make our way South towards our destination for this leg in Melling. Showers were forecast, but we started off in sunshine. We were serenaded by a frog band on the early part of the walk and we passed the canalside Snaffles Cafe too soon for a tea break. Pity – it has rave reviews. We passed through Downholland with views over open agricultural fields before pausing for a drinks break at Greens Lane Bridge. Shortly afterwards we came across some canal work being undertaken. A culvert leak was being repaired by a digger (aboard a barge) dropping aggregate near the bank from a floating tank alongside. As we neared Lydiate, the towpath became extremely muddy and slippy. We had one fall but luckily only pride was injured. Our pace slowed here to avoid anyone taking an early bath in the drink! As the terrain improved, we passed the Mersey Motor Boat Club, which was founded in Litherland in 1932. Their current Lydiate clubhouse was built in 1953. Further along was a canalboat-shaped plaque in a back garden commemorating the bicentenary of the canal in 2016. Other signs in gardens would have you believe we passed Ditton Junction Railway Station and Leonora Street, Liverpool. As we reached Maghull, the rain began to fall. Heading out under the A59 towards Melling, the rain became heavier. We soldiered on under the railway and the M58 and left the canal at Holmes Swing Bridge. After negotiating the muddy lane on the far side, we made our way through the farm yard to the Bootle Arms where we were warmly greeted by roaring fires (resisting the temptation to hang our clothes up to dry by them!) We enjoyed a good sit down, followed by a welcome meal and agreed to do the next section of the walk, from Melling to Litherland, in the reverse direction to repeat the Bootle Arms experience. The No.36 bus took us back to Maghull.