Monday, 7 December 2015

Overwater to Ellesmere Port and back.

Monday 9th November 2015

Set off from the marina in more of a breeze than we have had before and found it quite difficult to line the boat up to get out the exit.  Fortunately there was a kind gentleman who helped pull her round with the rope!!

RAF flag to honour our fathers

The wind was blowing merrily as seen by the flag.  Both our fathers were in the RAF and we felt this was appropriate for Remembrance Day.

Today we cruised as far as Barbridge Junction and moored up across the canal from the Barbridge Inn.

No ivy on this house now.

This house is just past the Hurleston Junction with the Llangollen Canal.  The last time we went past there was red ivy all over the walls, looked very pretty, now it has all been blown off.

We left Toby on the boat for the evening and treated ourselves to supper at the pub.

Tuesday 10th November

Today we moved a little way up the canal to the water point and put water on board, we are looking forward to having our water and diesel gauges fitted so that we can keep an eye on both the levels.

Wide locks take two boats side by side

The locks on the Shropshire Union Canal north of Barbridge are all wide locks and we were fortunate enough to meet  another boat going in our direction.  We were able to go through all the locks as far as Beeston with them.  

Beeston Iron Lock

The last lock before Beeston is an iron lock, built by Telford.  He used iron plates to deal with the instability of the ground around here, but it has subsequently become warped and it is not advisable to fit two narrow boats inside it anymore. 

Once through the locks we moored up opposite Beeston Castle Wharf with the intention of stocking up with supplies, but the shop, cafe and chandlery were all closed!!

Beeston Castle

We continued on towards Bate's Mill Bridge and moored up for the evening. We took Toby for a walk looking for the entrance to Beeston Castle, but gave up and ended up sitting in the sunshine outside the Shady Oak pub with a well earned drink!

Wednesday 11th November

Cruised on towards Chester and were lucky again to be able to negotiate the locks with another boat, so thank you Compton for all your help!

Once we had passed through the last lock we moored up just beyond Waitrose where there were some handy mushrooms and spent the rest of the afternoon walking through Chester and finally meeting some friends in 'The Albion'.  

The Albion

The Albion is the last remaining Victorian corner street pub within the walls of Chester and is dedicated to WW1 with an amazing amount of memorabilia.

Thursday 12th November

We spent the day in Chester as Tim from Bourne Boatbuilders was coming to see us to sort out the small snagging issues, so it was a quiet day aboard the boat.

Friday 13th November

Today we cruised from Chester to Ellesmere Port.  

Chester City Wall

The canal leaves Chester alongside the city walls.

Northgate Staircase Locks.

There are three locks in a staircase here, they were the first we had ever done on our own.  Fortunately there was a Canal and River Trust man close by who could help us out.  

In the locks

For me on the boat it was a very scary and daunting time, very dark and gloomy with these enormous gates towering over us.  I was very glad to get out of there!

The cruise to Ellesmere Port was very pleasant, the weather was kind, dry and breezy so I was able to walk Toby along the towpath whilst Dave steered the boat. 

Ellesmere Port

Once we arrived we moored up outside the Canal Museum for the night and had a look around the museum.  Lots of canal history and many derelict boats moored awaiting funds to restore them to their former glory.

The Shropshire Union Canal locks down onto the Manchester Ship Canal, but as leisure craft we need permission to do so.  

Manchester Ship Canal

This canal makes the Shropshire Union look tiny!  This continues down to the River Mersey and ultimately to the sea.

A proper ship!

We were very excited to see an enormous ship gliding down the canal.  I don't think it would be very pleasant passing that in Ella!!

Saturday 14th November

Winded the boat in the basin and began our cruise back to Chester.  The return voyage up the Staircase Locks was much better and moored up back at the same spot as before.  By this time the wind was getting up and as it was a Saturday night it was a lot busier where we were moored.

Unfortunately, party revellers decided it would be a bit of fun to untie our ropes at 10.30pm, but as the wind was so strong we didn't actually go anywhere, just spent a very anxious night hoping it didn't happen again!!

Sunday 15th November

After our traumatic night we decided to move the boat further back down the canal and tie it to some rings.  Then we spent the rest of the day exploring Chester and walking the city walls, very windy and drizzly but a lovely day.

Chester from the walls
River Dee

Chester Castle
Chester Racecourse

Chester cathedral
We rounded off our day with an excellent roast dinner at The Artichoke Cafe Bar Bistro alongside the canal and had a much quieter night on the boat!!

Monday 16th - Wednesday 18th November

Return trip to Overwater Marina.  Very pleasant trip back on Monday, but the weather deteriorated on Tuesday with dire warnings of another storm in the evening.

We moored up outside the Barbridge Inn and as we did so we lost all power and the steering began to make an appalling noise.  As it was very quickly getting dark we decided to leave investigations until the morning!!

The next morning Dave opened the weedhatch above the propeller and began feeling around the prop to see what we had picked up.  He found a huge black plastic sack which had just begun to wrap itself around the propeller.  Fortunately no damage was done and the sack was removed and disposed of safely in a bin! 

The final leg back to the marina was in quite a stiff wind, narrowboats are more difficult to steer in high winds, but we managed to get her back safely and moored up without too much difficulty.

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