In a better mood today, and Frodsham looks nicer in the early spring sunshine. Park up at the station and partake of a coffee before setting off on my next stage. First thing of interest on the High Street is a telephone box
A blue plaque tells me it is a K4 “Vermillion Giant” designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, only 50 were made, and this is one of four which survive. It is also Grade II listed . Frodsham seems to be suffering the same fate of all towns, pubs going out of business, once the centre of a community, they are slowly dying out, only the strongest surviving. Still I suppose they lasted longer than Blockbusters.
a mile or so down the road I come to Helsby, and its fine Victorian Church of St Paul, designed by John Douglas, Chester architect, building and renovating churches was one of his fortes.
Lest it be forgotten, I am trying to walk alongside the Manchester Ship Canal, I have largely abandoned my idyllic ideas of strolling along a towpath, after realising that horses would not have been in the plans to bring big ships up to the Port Of Manchester (I can remember just as a child seeing big ships at the docks) but the main reason that keeps me from the banks is the industry, and the biggest part of the industry here is the Stanlow Oil Refinery which appears after a stroll through the pleasant villages of Ince and Elton, it is quite a contrast. The refinery itself is a major UK one, producing one sixth of the country’s petrol requirements, and is linked to the UK pipeline network.
This part of the walk is quite a slug as I have to negotiate the (wide) grass verge of the A5117 for around three miles in order to reach the Ellesmere Canal. En route I did get the impression that someone was out to get me.
That achieved the rest of the journey is a pleasant stroll along the canal towpath. I am greeted with a burnt out tree stump:
After the busy road, it is pleasant to be passed by nothing more leisurely than the odd canal barge.
and some interesting Beatles related graffitti. Perhaps they do need help here.
Along the canal bank there is a shrine to a young mother, Ellia Arathoon who was brutally murdered her just six months earlier Fortunately, her killer was caught and jailed for life
Further down the canal, I pass some children, climbing a rusty bridge structure.
Before coming to Whitby basin I get a gimpse of the Manchester Ship Canal, River Mersey, and Speke Airport over on the far bank. Speke was the very first place I went to to go on a plane back in 1974.
Finally, I arrive at Speke basin, which was built to serve the Ellesmere canal and take traffic to Wales via the Llangollen canal. The grand scheme was never completed, but the basin is now home to the National Waterways museum, and I spend a happy hour looking around its exhibits. Most interesting was FCB18, a concrete barge built during the war, to overcome shortages. They were never popular, being brittle, and difficult to steer.
There is just a narrow strip of land separating the Mersey and the Canal at this point, and I had a short walk along the accessible canal side at least so I could finish this stage on the canal.
Liverpool was clearly visible in the distance.
After that, it was a walk into the centre of Ellesmere port, a quick visit to the station told me that trains were not frequent, but it was another example of fine railway architecture, so I decamped to the bus station and caught a bus back to Frodsham
Twelve miles covered today, and a much more pleasant walk.