DAY 40: Ormskirk to The Wirral (Storeton) – 20.5 miles
I can’t believe how much my feet have bounced back after just one day of rest. Today wasn’t supposed to be particularly wet, but just in case I thought it best to wrap a bandage around each foot as a precautionary measure. This morning I opted for the porridge/cereal/fruit breakfast combo, in order to take away a couple of Ang’s infamous bacons butty’s for lunch. I also was able to leave most of my things behind, as Ray and Angela were going to meet me in the city and join me on the ferry cross the Mersey. Pauline and Brian, picked me up at 9:30am and drove me back to Ormskirk, where they also walked with me for the first half hour, before we said our goodbyes.
There is a canal which runs all the way way from the north of Liverpool, right into the city centre. But the path really snakes, so following it would have taken hours. As main roads go, the ones I started on today were pretty good however I wanted to walk at least some of the canal so opted to join it south of Maghull, which also meant I bypassed a particular busy motorway intersection. Compared to the Lancaster canal, I was surprised how quiet and usused the Liverpool canal is, both in terms of canal traffic and life along the sides. Apparently if I had taken it right into the city centre it would have been different, but on the section I walked I don’t think I passed any moving boats, and only saw a few moored along the way. On leaving the canal and passing the racecourse at Aintree, I was surprised to find myself still walking though quiet spacious little suburban cul-de-sacs less than a mile before I reached the docks, Liver Building and ferry terminals. I suppose Liverpool has such a big reputation you forget that actually the centre is fairly small and compact.
I found Ray & Angela (and my belongings) at the ferry terminal and stopped for a much needed caffeine fix. Despite it being a fairly steady day so far and carrying next to nothing, I felt completley and utterly exhausted. Not sure having a day off really helps in the long run. Then as promised – to make up for the fact that I was taking this 10 minute/1 mile boat crossing, rather than walking miles and miles inland just to avoid it – I continued walking around the immediate area whilst waiting for our 4pm ferry. I also planned to walk the duration of the crossing as well but as it turns out – being a Sunday – they actually turn what should be a quick 10 minute journey into a full 35 minute tourist crossing, taking you all round the houses to literally end up straight across from when you started! So I certainly didn’t walk the whole 35 minutes, but I still feel confident enough to say that I walked across the Mersey, and my end to end journey remains unbroken.
Marion (or Maz as she is more commonly refered) and Rosie the dog, were waiting for us when we docked at Birkenhead. Maz and Rob are parents of Kerry’s husband Chris; sorry you don’t need to keep up with the connections but suffice to say my hosts are all related somewhere along the line. Ray & Angela walked with us for a little while and then – just like the Olympic relay with me as the baton – they left to catch the train home and the baton was passed to Maz. Maz 1 & Maz 2 continued south onto Storeton. Surprised at how quickly the town of Birkenhead gave way to such rural countryside, unfortunately I wasn’t able to completely appreciate it as – although I’d been lucky with the weather all day – for our last half hour the heaven truly opened and we both got absolutely drenched! But with a lovely warm house, table laden with roast chicken and all the trimmings, followed by chocolate cake, fruit and cream, all waiting for us at the other end (thank you Rob!)… the weary bones and soggy feet were immediately forgotten!