Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Sunday 26 June 2016

More rain expected today but it was still dry when we woke up so we set off for Chester. 

Therer are five locks between here and the town centre and having spoken to other people it seems that the quieter spot to moor is in the basin at the bottom of town but you have to go through the Northgate Staircase Lock which we are told is hard work.

We decided to play it by ear and when we arrived in Chester through the industrial area and then into the trendy new bit there were not many mooring places left so we carried on through the Northgate Staircase Lock - it was hard work and it took us nearly an hour to do.  We couldn't believe that there wasn't a lock keeper or at least a CRT volunteer to tell us what to do as we could imagine people getting into all sorts of trouble!  There were not many people looking on either (thankfully) which is unusual for a Sunday afternoon but it was raining by this time.

Once moored up in the basin we went for a walk to have a look around Chester - I am trying to use an alternative word to lovely or great - fantastic!  I think we had the city pretty much to ourselves because all the shops were closed and it was raining.  It is oldie worldie and the architecture is really interesting.  We will go for another walk tomorrow morning as we want to walk the City wall. 

Leaving the Shady Oak
Secondhand tractor showroom!
Our first glimpse of Chester - anyone for cricket?   
The weather is closing in on us - entering the industrial side of town - there are plenty of interesting historical buildings here.

Several warehouses have been turned into bars and restaurants.

The Canal goes straight through the middle of town - as we approach the old city it suddenly curves round into a very steep rock cutting.

Then we reach the Northgate Staircase - the lock pens are very deep!

You have to fill the top lock making sure the bottom two are empty, then into the top one and let the water out into the middle one.

The boat is now in the middle I am closing the bottom lock paddles so we can let the water out of the middle one into the bottom one.  The paddles here are quite heavy.

Out of the bottom lock and a sharp right into the basin at the bottom of town.

There goes the plane that carries the parts for the airbus.

There we are moored up in the basin.

Walking into a wet Chester!

That's the town hall - one good thing about a raining Sunday afternoon - there is nobody about we have the whole place to ourselves!

Looking down the Rows - it's fabulous the way the shops are incorporated into the old architecture - some of it dating back to the 13thC.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Saturday 25 June 2016

It was forecast to rain this afternoon so we set off at 9ish.  We are heading for a pub called the Shady Oak which is in the middle of nowhere over looked by the ruin of Beeston Castle.  

We were only saying this morning that we hadn't been through a double lock since we left London when we arrived at the Bunbury staircase lock which is a double lock!  In fact all the locks from here to Chester are doubles and they feel so big.

It's funny but the countryside here looks different to that in Wales.  Having had a week back in London we had forgotten what the countryside smells like - we must have got used to it before we went back. 

The locks are slow here as they are twice as big and on several of them there is a paddle out of action which slows things down even more.  Especially when the people coming in the opposite direction have left the bottom paddle open when they are coming up - the poor woman had already done the walk of shame from the previous lock because she had left a paddle partially open there too!  I bet she didn't live it down all day.

We thought we would stop here rather than arriving in Chester on a Saturday afternoon and I thought there was live music on in the pub but it is next week!

Once moored we didn't get the promised rain so I took myself off for a walk.  I decided to climb the hill to the castle ruin but when I got there I was met by a gate and a tariff of entrance fees - I hadn't realised it was an English Heritage site and didn't have any money with me!

Making my way back down the hill I had to go back through a cow field - I could only see one on my way up but on my way down there were about 40 standing around the pathway through, so I waited until some walkers were coming the other way so we could meet in the middle!

I wonder who bought this - him or her!

Remembering my Uncle Bryan.

Looks like we are arriving at the stables not Bunbury Staircase Lock!

A double Lock!

With a volunteer and an enthusiastic boater coming the other way I got back on board and left the locking to them!

That's a motel up there - looks quite grand don't you think?

|The countryside has a different feel here.

In Beeston Lock - with flanged plates to overcome running sand below it.

It's also quite deceiving as it looks like a double lock but can only accommodate one narrowboat at a time!

That's Beeston Castle ruins up there - apparently you can view 8 counties from the top.

Mooring up by the Shady Oak - looks like a few others have had the same idea - well it is the only pub for five miles in either direction!
I thought this cow was coming to see me off but she just wanted a drink!

Where did this lot come from - they weren't there when I came through the field!