Sunday, 2 August 2015

Train assist - The Guelder Rose at Southport

This year we thought we would try something a little different, and it was an idea borne over a pint n the winter months - to take the train to Liverpool and cycle the other side of the water.  Bob took up the challenge,and in August the meeting point was Chester Station.

Merseyrail is a very bike friendly company, no apparent limit to bikes on trains (as long as you don't cause a nuisance, I guess), and today we were particularly lucky.  It was also Chester races, so extra carriages had been added to the usual 3-car set up, giving us even more space!

First time in a lift with a bike (for some)

There was a real air of excitement as the train was boarded, will everyone get on!

I wish blogger would let me put pictures side by side!

Anyway, we arrived, and offloaded onto the platform- letting the other passengers escape before we started to man (and woman) handle the bikes out of the station.

By the power of my selfie stick!

There are no lifts at James Street - well, there are but very small!

We used the escalators, which are much steeper than they look, and a long way up!

It is one thing to get on at the bottom, you then spend the journey woking out how to get off at the other end.  Nosheen and I were quite daunted (after I took the photo), but we both managed it - as Dave sailed back down the other side to help her!  Quite comical really!

Riding through the early streets of Liverpool, just coming to life, then along the dock roads, are all iconic.  

Docks and warehouses, a surprising change of view,
and so close to the city centre
However, after some short micro navigation of the side streets, we emerged at the seafront at Crosby, home to Antony Gormley's 'Another Place' (the sculptures of the men looking out to sea).  I have always wanted to see this, so we paused for a little while, as the ferries crossed in front of us.

We had to move on, and we followed the coast path, and the coast.  It was a lovely day, and we passed all the Antony Gormleys at their various locations up and down the beach; some being photographed by cheeky women taking an opportune pinch of an iron bottom!

Along the sand dunes on the coastal path, ending up at Formby for elevenses (although by now it was about midday).  Bob's original plan had been a cafe in Crosby, but they were small and had no space for 14 cyclists!

We also had very long delays and confusions here - although a nice late brunch was enjoyed by some, others nearly got nothing at all.

More sanddunes and cyclepaths, and as we reached the sea it started to rain - although you could stilljust about make out Blackpool Tower.

Honest. (Bob is pointing nearly at it).

OK, look carefully at this zoomed cropped image...

Look, there....
(click on the photo to view it)

We finally landed in Southport, a busy seaside town, and the start of the Trans Pennine Trail.

The Guelder Rose, Southport

We made our way to The Guelder Rose, a very busy pub/restaurant full of families, all having late Sunday lunches.  Nice food, and room for all.
Nothing wrong with
scampi & chips!

After lunch, which was quite late, I made a last minute decision to join Dave on an earlier train home; he was working and I really needed to be back.  Our train was initially delayed due to aforementioned races; but then came in and was a direct train to Chester with no stops!

Ray's photos tell the story of the rest of the ride...

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