MARLIN trips up Mersey to Widnes 2018

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MARLIN trip up Mersey to Widnes April 2018

Thursday 19 April (Liverpool HW 14.11 9.5m). Wind nil then W 2-3; sunny.
Enter river from marina at 12.15. Calm weather. After testing a magnetometer on the wreck of the Nelson, head up Garston Channel. Leave Garston channel at G11 (SHM) and head for waypoints MER0,...MER7. (see
here for navigation info, some history and more photos). I also use evidence from the surface ripples to try to find the deepest part of the channel but it was so calm this was little help.

Cross south of Hale Head at 1.20pm and proceed along north bank up to the Runcorn bridges. Go through south arch (of three) of the railway bridge at 1.48. I was a bit perturbed by a nasty rumbling sound - fearing an engine malfunction - until I looked up and saw a train crossing the rail bridge. The road bridge is currently being repaired and has workmen on the arch. Follow south bank until just past (abandoned) lock into Ship Canal, then head north towards church (with tower) on Widnes bank and then follow shore towards Spike Island, waiting for some shore anglers to reel in. There are three "openings" here: western is filled in lock, middle is active lock and eastern is entrance to abandoned dock. Rather than tie up in (active) lock entrance, I went alongside the wall to the east - where there was a ladder - at 2.00. There are some shallower parts quite close by. Also the current was a bit "swirly".

Liverpool airport radar; Hale lighthouse.

Runcorn Gap from downriver (showing work activity on right hand side of suspension arch); Chemical works at Runcorn.

The Gateway Bridge (showing temporary trestle bridge below); Marlin at Spike Island.

Ashore 2.00 to 2.20, waiting for the current to slacken. Near Spike Island there is a back eddy with less current. Proceeding above Widnes is currently tricky since the construction of the new bridge involves a trestle bridge with limited air draught. This is scheduled to be removed in 2018.
The cafe at Spike Island is now closed - and the premises are now the West Bank Boat Club - and their lease does not allow them to serve food or drink.

Spike Island with boats in Sankey Canal; swans; boats alongside in Mersey.

Then return with initially some adverse current (pass through N arch of bridge). To make best progress against the current, I avoided the deepest part of the channel to have less adverse current. By 2.45, close to my waypoint MER7, the current was almost slack. Soon the current began to pick up helping me along. I arrived off the Marina lock at 4.05.

Distance run (over ground) 25.5 nm, all at my displacement speed (7 knots through the water or less).

On this trip I found that the channel has shifted near MER0, MER01 and MER1 and I have revised these waypoints. See details here.
The waypoints do not represent the best route - just a sufficiently deep route for my purposes. Do not rely on them. The channel changes frequently.

MARLIN trip up Mersey to Widnes October 2018

Thursday 25 October (Liverpool HW 12.15 9.4m). Wind NW 3; overcast with some drizzle.
Enter river from marina at 10.23. Sea state Calm. Head up Garston Channel. Leave Garston channel at G11 (SHM) and head for waypoints MER0,...MER7. (see
here for navigation info, some history and more photos).

Depth around waypoint MER0 seems shallower than previously - to be explored on return trip.

Cross south of Hale Head at 11.25am and proceed along north bank up to the Runcorn bridges. Go through south arch (of three) of the railway bridge at 11.45. The road bridge is currently being repaired and has workmen on the arch. Follow south bank until just past (abandoned) lock into Ship Canal, then head north towards church (with tower) on Widnes bank and then follow shore towards Spike Island, waiting for some shore anglers to reel in. There are three "openings" here: western is filled in lock, middle is active lock and eastern is entrance to abandoned dock. Rather than tie up in (active) lock entrance, I went alongside the wall to the east - where there was a ladder - at 12.00. There are some shallower parts quite close by. Also the current was a bit "swirly".

Two locals were working on their boats nearby (as they emphasized, one, a 26 foot bilge keeler, was for sale) - and offered me useful advice about the "trestle bridge" among other things. Two large cranes were evident - removing the trestle bridge at each side. The middle has gone but the deep channel is quite close to the shore - so not yet accessible because of the low air-draught of the trestle bridge.

Runcorn chemical works (looking satanic); Lock (abandoned) into Machester Ship Canal.

Runcorn Gap from downriver; Barge (flat?) wrecked on shoreline at Widnes.

Repairs to the Runcorn Road Bridge. Marlin at Spike Island.

Ashore 12.00 to 12.20, waiting for the current to slacken. Near Spike Island there is a back eddy with less current. Leave against the current (still incoming).

Crane removing trestle bridge (northern sector); Hale Head Lighthouse

Then return with initially some adverse current (pass through N arch of bridge). To make best progress against the current, I avoided the deepest part of the channel to have less adverse current. By 12.45, close to my waypoint MER5, the current was almost slack. Soon the current began to pick up helping me along. Near my waypoint MER0, offshore of Garston Rocks, I explored a bit to find the deeper channel (since going up river was fairly shallow in places near the waypoint). I arrived off the Marina lock at 2.05.

Distance run (over ground) 25.5 nm, all at my displacement speed (7 knots through the water or less).

On this trip I found that the channel has shifted near MER0 and I have revised that waypoint. See details here.
The waypoints do not represent the best route - just a sufficiently deep route for my purposes. Do not rely on them. The channel changes frequently.

MARLIN trip exploring upper Mersey November 2018

Sunday 25 November (Liverpool HW 12:09 9.6m). Wind NE 2.

Explore region off Garston and Airport - to clarify issues about channel near my waypoints MER0, MER01. I was able to check the depths and locate a deeper channel that runs further south that my usual route.

Plane landing at the airport (easterly wind so landing near the in-river gantry):

My tracks (and from earlier 2018 trips) showing Garston Channel at top, airport gantry marked +, and waypoints:

Depths in metres above CD; distances in metres

MARLIN trip exploring upper Mersey January 2019

Sunday 6 January (Liverpool HW 11:16 9.1m). Wind SW 2.

Explore region off Garston, Airport and to Hale Head - to clarify issues about channel near my waypoints MER0,..MER5. I was able to check the depths and confirm a deeper channel that runs further south that my usual route.

Enter Mersey at 9:52 and return 12:20. Calm, mostly overcast.

Airport light gantry:

Hale Lighthouse:

I also explored the deepwater channel that runs close to the Oglet Shore: this has remains of a Salt Refinery (with Quay) and dumped WW2 tank traps. This is a very peaceful area - apparantly enjoyed by Paul McCartney and George Harrison when children.

Industrial remains on Oglet Shore (quay of salt refinery):

Industrial remains on Oglet Shore (tank traps):

My tracks (and from earlier 2018 trips) showing Garston Channel at top, airport gantry marked +, and waypoints:

Depths in metres above CD; distances in metres

My tracks (and from earlier 2018 trips) showing Oglet Shore at upper left of centre, Dungeon Point Perch marked + and Hale Lighthouse marked +, and waypoints:

Depths in metres above CD; distances in metres

Total distance run: 20.2 nm.
A record of the depth and track of my voyages are available from
teamSurv

If higher resolution versions of the above images are wanted, please contact me. All information given in good faith, but please do not rely on it.

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