Saturday, 9 August 2014

Just too busy to blog!

Where were we?  Seems so long since I last penned an update.  I think our last update was moored on the Middlewich branch.

Thursday saw us pull the pins and continue our journey toward Chester.  It was surprisingly quiet with no queue's at the two locks remaining on the branch and we soon ascended them and made our way to Barbridge junction.  Right turn and we are on the Shroppie proper and head north towards Chester.

The optimistic "a bit of blue sky"

We stopped at the excellent services at Calveley and did the necessary.  As we intended to stop at Christleton, this will be our final chance to water and empty for a while.  Then onto Bunbury and the stair case locks. We arrived ahead of two boats who were travelling together and who were unfamiliar with just how these locks work, so Ali gave them a lesson and they helped us down.  I think the section down to Beeston is one of my favourite sections of all the canals. Wooded slopes give way to meadows, with the castle looming above on a rocky outcrop above the plain.  Simply beautiful!  We stopped for the day at the moorings near the "Shady Oak", which appears to have reopened. I did a spot of maggot drowning and was quite successful until a rather large Eel took the bait.  This signaled the end of my fishing, bur it was dusk and chilling down anyway.

Spotted and captured! 

Beeston Castle

By night
Miles 9
Locks 9

Friday did not even dawn before I was awake! Goodness knows why, but on odd days I just do not seem to be able to sleep more than four hours or so.  I was up at 0418 hrs !  It was a chilly misty morn and as the sun rose, the castle was garlanded by what was really low cloud.  I went into the Pram hood and as I did, a Kingfisher landed on the tiller just feet away from me!  No camera to hand of course and as soon as it saw me it was off, but a lovely sight so close up.

In the mist

We were off by 0800, for the run into Chester.  No locks for us, so easy, apart from the miles of moored boats at  Golden Nook .  An enterprising farmer has allowed online moorings which extend for a mile and a half or so.  Passing these at tick over is a little tedious to say the least.  The cloud had really descended and it remained chilly albeit dry.  By 1030 we were approaching our intended destination at Christleton.  This is near to a rather nice pub, the Cheshire Cat.  There are moorings outside of this and also moorings for a charity boat.  As we approached and spotted a space, Ali jumped off.  The space partly infringed the charity boat reserved space, bur Alfi asked if we could squeeze in and the staff said no problem, so we did!

 The forecast for Friday afternoon was not good, with heavy rain. Bearing this in mind, armed with hat's and coats, we walked to the bus stop and caught the bus into town.  Of course, the sun never missed a beat all day.  It was bloomin hot, with us walking around clutching our coats!

Any way, Chester remains a beautiful, vibrant city. We walked around the centre and the "Rows"  and then went for lunch at a fantastic place. It is called The Botanist, and has a shabby chic interior, with a hint of french rural.  The food was excellent.  After this,  A walk down to the river along the wall and then through Grosvenor Park and back into the centre walked off lunch.  Bus back to Christleton and a shower, and due to our location, it would have been rude not to visit the Cheshire Cat, so we did!  Another good meal had, plus a few drinks!

If you wonder why we stop at Christleton rather than continuing down into the town, it is because we do not find it particularly boater friendly. To descend several locks for the dubious pleasure of mooring in the basin, then ascend again seems pointless when we can moor in pleasant surroundings just short of town.  That said, the town moorings appear to be somewhat more pleasant than when we last visited, so next time, you never know....

Miles 6

Today we have been the tourist's yet again after a rather good alcohol induced sleep!  Late morning we caught the bus into town, this time making use of the park and ride which is not too far away. We spent the day enjoying the sights and visiting the shops.  A walk around the wall revealed that a civil war enactment was in progress and boy do those muskets make a bang!  Looked down from the walls onto the locks above Telford basin, then back into the centre for a late lunch
The canal from up on the city wall

As the day was so good we decided to walk back to the boat along the canal and very pleasant this proved.  Of course, this does rather build up a thirst, so we had to pop into the "Cat" for a swifty before retiring back to the boat.  Late evening now and the rain has arrived.  If it is as forecast tomorrow, we will stay put and sit it out, very possibly in the Cheshire Cat!!!!

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