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Up (and Down) The Mersey by Tim Haines

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Up (and Down) The Mersey by Tim Haines

Having arrived at the car park in front of the Ferry pub in Egremont at around 0900 and prepared the boats, we spent some time idly chatting, waiting for the tide to come in over what looked like deep Mersey sludge on the shoreline. By 1000, the tide hadn’t come much further in, so we tentatively walked out over the sludge, only to find that it was firm sand. After the obligatory VHF call to the port authority, we were soon afloat.  

High Tide at the docks was 1245, so there was already a strong flow on the river which carried us upstream through the city at speed. In an attempt to keep pace with Shawn and John, both of whom are much faster paddlers than me, I had opted to take a narrower (and therefore faster – but significantly less stable) boat. This took some getting used to, and I was nervous and tippy for the first few miles, but soon settled into the flow of things. 

The paddle upstream was uneventful, with very little other traffic on the river – probably a good thing as none of us had paddled on the Mersey before. 

The bridges at Runcorn.  

Almost exactly at Liverpool high tide we passed under the bridges at Runcorn. There was still a good flood flow (taking us further on up-river) so we pulled over to the bank, had a bite to eat, and watched the river. Watching it didn’t help, and 20 minutes later, not much had changed. Shawn had to be back at the car for 1600, so we jumped back in the boats and fought back up under the bridges. Initially it was slow going, but soon enough we were being dragged back to our starting point by the ebbing tide.  

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John and a marker buoy.  

In the narrow section of the river in central Liverpool, both Shawn and John had fun surfing the impressive wake from a passing tug, but I was still a little too ginger for such sport. Before we knew it, we were back at the ferry pub – indeed, I would have paddled right past it if John hadn’t asked where I was planning on getting out! 

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Liver Birds, Etc.  

All in all, it was a great day with very varied weather, water conditions and scenery. Having been living/paddling in this area for over five years, I’m at a loss as to why I’ve not paddled the Mersey before!  

As an aside, it was really useful to be able to look up previous trip reports on the cub website – there are a good number of relevant articles, going back as far as 2017, and some have really detailed information which assists in planning a safe and enjoyable trip – many thanks to those who have previously contributed trip reports!