Damian has gone to a football match in Sheffield – he hates football but it is an opportunity to meet up with a friend. So, I walk back to the ferry terminal and then head north past the Royal Liver Building. This is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city of Liverpool and is home to two fabled Liver Birds that watch over the city and the sea. Legend has it that were these two birds to fly away, then the city would cease to exist.
I am actually not looking forward to this walk as the map shows a long slog along a main road (A5036) through what looks like real industrial docklands. This brick wall follows me for a mile or two and I seem to be one of the very few braving the pavement.
I then walk past what must be one of the ugliest buildings in the country – can’t really work out what it is. I cross the road and scuttle past, preferring the intimidation of the brick wall, which at least allows me periodic glimpses of the docks and river.
At one point the wall merges into stone and opens out into a small landing stage – some brave people have organised a kayak trip on the water.
I walk on, avoiding piles of kerbside litter, through rows of shuttered shops and abandoned dockside pubs. In places, an influx of small businesses have appeared, taking over empty buildings, breathing new life into the area.
This one catches my eye – what on earth do they produce?
And later I walk past what I’m told is the Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse – a grade II listed building and the world’s largest brick warehouse. It is currently being renovated to create, yes you’ve guessed it, luxury dockside apartments.
……..and just up the road, if your visitors need somewhere to stay ……the gorgeous Titanic Hotel.
I am by now getting very hungry and although I do have a few sandwiches, the lorry loaded road and industrial landscape do not offer up any suitable place to sit and eat. I am also coming to the end of the road where I have to turn right before the start of the container docks, which I am very glad I don’t have to walk through.
There then follows a tiring trudge up another main road, where I am forced to hide from the traffic in a bus shelter and bolt down one of my sandwiches – is this really coastal walking? I ask myself, not for the first time.
Anyway, at one point, I decide to forgo the delights of a two lane highway and the stench of gas from Seaforth Dock and turn off left through residential streets.
After a while I end up on what I assume to be Seaforth High Street which is really the stuff bad dreams are made of. Every other shop is shuttered closed, although the bargain booze and bookies show signs of life. There are not many people around and those that are seem to sport the same grey pallor. The road is thankfully short with a brutal cut off at the end, consisting of one more busy main road and railway line. I long for some open space and head decisively west to pick up a trail around a lake which then merges with Sefton Coastal Path.
At last, a horizon…………
On the path around the lake stands an information board which illustrates how far Seaforth has fallen. (I do hope no-one reading this post lives in Seaforth or knows anybody who does) The story is that in 1903 Seaforth Radio was established as one of the first wireless stations in the world for maritime radio communication. It also boasted the first school for the training of wireless telegraphists – one of whom was Jack Phillips, a senior radio operator on the Titanic, who remained at his post on the ship and consequently lost his life. Poor Jack………
From here I follow the trail along the promenade, and then on the beach to take another look at the Gormley sculptures. I first saw these back in 2103 when I walked from Crosby Beach to Southport. It seems so long ago…………………….
Distance: 8 miles