Maghull Hall Swing Bridge 12 on the Leeds and Liverpool. We had left our fabulous mooring in Salthouse Dock at 0750 this morning and had had a smooth passage out of Liverpool. Now there was just this swing bridge to do before we tied up in Maghull.
As is our usual practice Jan steers while I operate the bridge. I waited until there was no traffic in sight before turning the key and pressing the button to instigate the sequence of flashing red lights ... barriers down ... wedges withdraw ... bridge swing. All went according to plan until the barriers started to descend. With the warning siren going and the red lights flashing a car - a taxi - suddenly drove fast onto the bridge and headed for the far barrier, now at about 45 degrees. I paused a microsecond before releasing the "open" button, thus stopping the barriers' descent. With millimetres to spare the taxi dodged underneath and drove off. I was so taken aback I didn't think to note the registration, let alone which taxi firm it was.
Had I not let go of the button the taxi would have crashed through the dangly part of the barrier. In that microsecond I was tempted to keep the barrier coming down and thus damage the car. But it would have also damaged the CRT property and could well have put the bridge out of action. I thought better of it, then, and the idiot taxi driver got away with it.
Apart from Jan on the boat and me working the bridge there were at least three people who witnessed the lunacy at close quarters: two men cyclists and a woman walking a dog. There were other - more patient - drivers who would have seen what happened too.
Did I say patient? Well, not the driver who made sure he was first over the bridge the instant the barriers went up after Jan had steered Jubilee through. He accelerated across, mobile phone to his ear, and disappeared in the same direction as the taxi. (Have I just been in an action scene in a film?)
After all that excitement it might be easy to forget that the day started with our exit from Liverpool's dockland. It was raining as we left the mooring, but not heavily; the rain stopped shortly afterwards. Before leaving I set up my timelapse camera to record, I hope, the entire Leeds and Liverpool Canal. (Unfortunately the camera didn't capture the close shave described above as it all happened in the interval between images.)
I realise I have neglected to get a photo of the swing bridge in question, so here's a night-time shot of Jubilee in Salthouse Dock.
I took the best photos of the Liverpool Canal Link on our way in four days ago; this is where we hung around waiting for Mann Island Lock.
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