Sunday, 18 March 2018

Overwinter Cruise - Week 19

Sunday 11th March - Beeston Lock to Cheshire Cat, Christleton

Woke to a very pleasant Mother's Day morning.  Sun was shining so decided to move on towards Chester.  The first of our Tete-a-tete daffodils are beginning to come into bloom.

Our first lock of the day was the Iron Lock.  Although it is not very deep, it is quite daunting with all the plates of iron on the gates...

and on the inside of the lock.  The ridges are the parts that could snag the side of the boat if you were to get too close.  I stayed well in the middle of the lock!

Heading towards Christleton there is a long line of moored boats, over a mile in length, so we were moving along at tick over speed giving us plenty of time to look at the boats.

As this part of the canal has wide locks we were pleased to see our first wide beam boat.  

After some false attempts to moor the boat (the canal is very shallow here and I was getting stuck on mud), we eventually arrived at The Cheshire Cat in Christleton and made a safe and secure mooring there.

Monday 12th March - Christleton

The weather has closed in again so we decided to stay and enjoyed a pleasant lunch in the pub.  

Some interesting properties with canal frontage - wouldn't look out of place on the River Thames!

Tuesday 13th March - Christleton to Tower Wharf, Chester

More signs of spring, this weeping willow is just beginning to show leaf buds with a hint of the green leaf coming through.

We stopped at the water point to put on water behind another boat.  We waited patiently for 15 minutes for them to complete putting on their water, then to my utter disbelief the lady removed her hose pipe and slammed the cover to the water tap closed as I was walking towards her.  We have been out on the canals since October last year (except for a couple of short breaks) and we haven't come across such rudeness in all that time.  Sadly I have to add that this wasn't a hire boat, but a share boat, and they should have known better!

As we came down through the locks approaching Chester, there is a delightful line of canalside cottages.   These are just before Hoole Lane Lock.

I'm sorry to report another sorry encounter with a share boat.  Dave was filling the lock ready for me to descend, it was virtually ready, Ella was hovering and a lady approached the lock windlass in hand and opened the paddles to empty the lock.  She had apparently failed to notice the boat, Dave at the lock and the paddles open to fill the lock.  Dave had to be very assertive to gain her attention and get her to stop and close the paddles.  Shocking behaviour!
We moored outside Waitrose and did a quick shop before continuing through the city centre towards the Northgate Staircase Locks.

This hotel restaurant boat was preparing to take diners for a lunch time cruise along the canal.

As you come through the staircase locks you pass through a very steep rock cutting with the old city walls towering above on the left hand side.  The round tower from which King Charles I watched his Cavaliers being beaten during the first English Civil War in the 1640's.

The Northgate Staircase Locks were hewn out of solid rock allowing for a drop of 32ft.  The gates are enormous and very heavy to open and close.

We moored up for the night across the canal from Telford's Warehouse in Tower Wharf.  The warehouse which is partly built on land and partly over the water, allowed boats to load and unload from the full height of the loading bay within the building.

The building is now used as a public house and restaurant.

Wednesday 14th - Saturday 17th March - Chester

We have decided to give ourselves a City Break and explore Chester for a few days.

The Dee Branch lies below Tower Wharf and is currently used for private moorings.
Navigation through the locks on the Dee Branch is feasible but the bottom lock onto the River Dee is not fully operational.  The river below the lock is tidal and only recommended for sea worthy vessels.
Upstream the navigation is interrupted by the weir which is only passable at certain states of the tide - scary thought really! 

We walked around the racecourse, Toby is checking it is all clear!

The Roodee is the meadow in the centre of the racecourse and there has been horse racing here since 1540, making it the oldest racecourse in the country.  It was originally used as the venue for the bloody Gotesdday (or Shrove Tuesday) football match. These games were so violent that the annual bloodbath was banned in 1533, and replaced by horse racing six years later.

A large colony of cormorants including some juvenile birds with the pale breast feathers.

A squirrel hiding, having raced up the tree away from Toby. 

The river cruise boats offer half hour or two hour cruises southwards along the River Dee.

Heron, fishing in the quieter waters of the River Dee.

Beautiful buildings abound in Chester.  This one has a plaque suggesting it was built about 1503 during the reign of Henry VII.

Graduation Day at Chester Cathedral - brings back memories of attending with great pride the graduations of our own girls.

Saturday - the mini beast from the East - freezing temperatures and snow.  This shows the Dee Branch in the foreground and Ella moored above in Tower Wharf.

We are unlikely to go anywhere until the temperatures rise again!!!

Map Key   
Week 1 - Brown   Week 2 -  Purple   Week 3 - Dark Blue   Week 4 - Light Blue
Week 5 - Green    Week 6 Olive Green   Week 7 - Yellow  Week 8 - Orange  

Week 9 - Pink      Week 10 - Dark Pink     Week 11 - Dark Brown  Week 12 - Light Purple         

Week 13 - Indigo  Week 14 - Blue/Green   Week 15 - Dark Green  Week 16 - Muddy Green
Week 17 - Yellow Week 18 - Light Orange  Week 19 - Dark Orange

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