Land's End to John O'Groats Cycletouring Trip Part 1

Day 26 - Chester to Liverpool

I set off and connected up with the Sustrans route using the local map from the Tourist Information centre. I got to the canal and with no signing to guide me resorted to using the roads and making my own way to the edge of the Liverpool OS map with the NCN markings.

I cycled round the Birkenhead 'peninsula' following some good route signing and found the Seacombe ferry. Here I met a local couple from Liverpool with their bikes, returning from a day's cycle. The ferry was at 4:25pm, a 50 minute wait away. I was already starting to worry about the time.

On the other side, they showed me the way to Sefton Park as they were going a similar way. This was quite fortunate as I saw absolutely no route signing whatsoever on the Liverpool side of the river Mersey. I quickly got lost in Sefton Park. A woman saw me and asks if I'm lost, she knows all about the 'Loop Line'. Apparently its a joke locally that it sends you round in loops trying to follow it because of the poor signing. She tells me about the state of the paths ahead and sends me in the right way.

I eventually find the old railway line. On the map this looks fantastic as it passes through a huge part of the city avoiding roads and cars. On the ground it was initially OK despite the many access controls, but it soon became covered in broken glass and dog poo. I became the victim of my first puncture of the journey here. A quick change of rear inner tube with the spare and away I went again.

Further on, I got the bike stuck in an access control. A friendly gentleman behind waited patiently as I took off all the luggage to remove my bike. Ahead I passed large amounts of fly tipping. It was getting late and I was getting more worried about being within Liverpool and having no where to stay the night yet.

I called in at a Sainsburys right alongside the cycle path to load up on food on my way out of Liverpool. As I have done before, I loaded all of the panniers in to a shopping trolley and wheeled them around the store whilst choosing what to buy. I was more worried about weight now than I had been before. I could only just load the food onto the bike along with all the luggage.

I got to the canal and seeing the towpath decided to take to the roads which where much faster. I cycled through Aintree with no problems at all, and out across fields towards the countryside. The houses were noticeably more traditional in design and in their use of materials. This brought some relief to me.

I stopped at a pub to ask about accommodation. They had none there, but recommended the local Travel Inn. This was also recommended by the taxi driver outside. So that was where I ended up. This cost £40.95 for the night, the most expensive of the trip. I had my bike stored in a downstairs locked room, and was able to charge up my phone. I ate at the adjoining pub. The total distance today was 63 miles or so, with a maximum speed of 24.1mph.

Photograph of the Seacombe ferry terminal on the river Mersey
The Seacombe ferry terminal on the river Mersey

Photograph of the Liver building, Liverpool
The Liver Building, Liverpool

Photograph of me at the quayside in Liverpool
Me at the quayside in Liverpool

Photograph of me at the quayside in Liverpool
Me at the quayside in Liverpool

© Copyright  Piers Pettman - This page last updated 08 July 2006
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