8th January — Epiphany Carol Service at Liverpool Cathedral
1 tower: Liverpool Cathedral of Christ (13)
Our first ringing trip for over a year was quite a special one. Chris and Paul met up with Brian and Matt to ring at Liverpool Cathedral, the highest and heaviest ring of bells in the world. After a brief detour to Ikea at Warrington to drop off our non-ringing passengers, we swiftly covered the remaining 17 miles to Liverpool city centre and arrived with minutes to spare. Matt greeted us and Brian gave a guided tour of the cathedral interior before we made our way to the upstairs access point. Most towers have a set of steps or perhaps two - not so here - the only way up to the lofty ringing chamber was via two claustrophobic lifts.
We emerged from the upper lift straight into the ringing room, or warehouse, as it was in this case. The scale was completely beyond any other church or cathedral we'd visited. Girders supported the ceiling and concrete frame hiding above that housed a ring of thirteen bells together with Great George, 14 tons of bell metel dead hung in the centre. We clambered up to the ringing "platform" and rang our first rounds and calls. Even the trebles were nearly half a ton in weight; the sheer mass of the ring meant that the front bells literally had to stand each hand and back stroke to maintain the slow pace. It was tricky work but definitely a great experience. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to see the bells in action or the view from the tower roof, but we may do so in July if we return to hear Great George being tolled for a special service.