Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Taking it to the Bridge

My last evening at Chester. Apart from a visit to the close-by Sainsbury's superstore, I didn't go anywhere during the day, mainly on account of the indifferent weather: cloudy, with intermittent rain.

I was out for most of yesterday - a visit to Birkenhead and Liverpool, with a trip out to Crosby Sands to see Another Place, Antony Gormley's famous open-air artwork, which as you probably know consists of one hundred lifesized iron figures, all identical, made from a cast of his own body. Yes, limp willy and all. At least it was bright enough, and quite warm. There will be blog posts on that day out. I was footsore and weary by the late afternoon, which partly explains why I was content to lounge around on site today.

But by this evening I needed to get out again. It was 7.45pm, dull, windy, with heavy rain threatening, and the chances of a fine sunset were remote. Perfect then for going to the Bridge and seeing what might happen.

I speak of course of the road bridge at Runcorn. I'd last seen it, from the parallel railway bridge, in 1984. It seemed impressive then, in a Sydney Harbourish sort of way. Time to see whether age had withered or custom had staled its infinite variety.

The rain was relentless on the M56. One thing the North West cannot possibly suffer from (I thought to myself) is a water shortage! But it petered out a little as I approached the bridge. It was slightly odd to see the road signs call it 'The BRIDGE', as if it were a destination of special and ominous significance. But nothing untoward occurred as I drove across to the Widnes side. The bridge is built of iron girders, and looks as if was scaled up from a Meccano model. It seems substantial but I reckon Godzilla could tear it apart easily enough. (I hung around, but the monster didn't show) The bridge is painted pale apple green, and looks as if it could do with a fresh coat. I could say that both Widnes and Runcorn would look better for a fresh coat of paint too, but that's just my opinion.

I got out at Widnes and took some fine shots of the bridge. There was nothing else worth taking, except perhaps the giant Eddie Stobart truck depot nearby. It wasn't the evening for an exploratory stroll around the Old Town, especially as there was a group of youths hanging around in front of an off-licence. They all turned as one to stare at Fiona. They didn't look at all friendly. I felt sure they all possessed flick knives and had all done time for robbery with violence. Where were the Police in their famous Z Cars?

Runcorn had a bit more going for it on its own waterfront, with some trendy new landscaping and housing overlooking the Manchester Ship Canal, with the River Mersey just beyond, and beyond that the cooling towers of a distant power station. All sublime in the lashing rain. I secured more fine views of the bridge. I was so glad to get them, in case another thirty years went by before I was here again. I drove away through the town centre, which had a dispirited air. The liveliest place was a night club called Barcode, and that was shut. No merry Morris Men were dancing in front of a flower-bedecked pub. Oh well. Goodnight, Runcorn.


  1. Gosh you were only a stone's throw short of Southport where I live Lucy, twenty or so miles north of Liverpool. I have to agree with you regarding Runcorn and its environs. Many a time I've crossed The Bridge too on my travels to and from Chester. Runcorn railway station is reportedly the place where Paul Simon was inspired to write the song 'Homeward Bound'. You would have been most welcome to drop by here had I known you were coming. I was working in the morning and today I will be working in the morning close to the River Douglas up in Hesketh Bank which is about ten miles or so north of Southport. The Douglas flows into the river Ribble which runs through Preston and out by Lytham St Annes and Blackpool. I hope the weather picks up for you. They say Sunday is going to be the best day hereabouts, in fact all over the country.

    Shirley Anne x

  2. Thank you for the offer. I did have it in mind that you lived in Southport, but I got to Blundellsands & Crosby station after lunchtime, and my feet were already tired (I'd had a long beat-the-incoming tide march at West Kirby the previous evening, in wellies - post to come). I decided to check out Mr Gormley's artwork, then head back to Liverpool and a cuppa at the Walker Art Gallery. I will be in these parts again, though.


  3. We do have camp sites in Southport and they are well used by caravaners. Liverpool deserves a day or two by itself to explore. Much has changed there over the last few years. My work this morning didn't materialise and I eventually got the chance to do a little more in the garden instead.
    Shirley Anne x


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