Tuesday 19 April 2022


 Today's Canal - Shropshire Union

The weather today was rather better than expected - we had quite a bit of sunshine and kit seemed warmer than forecast.

We (ie Mike) set off earlier than usual as we did not quite make our target yesterday, following the delays at several locks. We also had a Zoom meeting with a friend from Cornwall that was booked for 10:30.

Soon after leaving we passed the entrance to Tattenhall Marina.

After a little while we arrived at the start of the Golden Nook farm online moorings. These are well-known for being rather long and perhaps not the finest of facilities. No doubt those who continue to use them enjoy a lower mooring fee than at the nearby marina! The first half are on a comparatively narrow section of canal and it is not helpful when double mooring is allowed. 

It took us 39 minutes at tick over to pass the complete line. Almost at the end and we spotted that the March of Wide Beams has even reached here. There is very little cruising range for such a boat - Nantwich to the south and Ellesmere :Port to the north (unless venturing out onto the Manchester Ship Canal) It can only really be used for residential purposes, or perhaps a weekend holiday home.

We moored up in good time for the Zoom meeting - mobile reception was not its strongest so at times we struggled a little with the video.

Afterwards we set off once more. In Christleton we noticed this former light industrial unit - the sign says that it has been acquired for replacement with residential units. The afrtist's impression makes it look more like Palm Beach than canalside!

This tree may well have had a massive haircut - and looks impressively stark against the sky - but it remains quite a hazard to shipping!

We paused just before the first lock of the day in order to fill up with water. The pub at the adjacent bridge has closed and is being converted into a Costa and three canal-facing apartments. The plan involves the demolition - very much underway - of one part of the building that had long looked in need.

At Christleton Lock a very cheerful unofficial volunteer assisted us through and then at the next lock. He told us he has been doing it for 20 years and simply enjoys being in the fresh air and meegting people.

He also warned us that Tarvin Lock is very slow as only one top paddle is working - the other has been broken since last summer. He was absolutely correct! Still, it gave us time to watch the cricket match at the rather splendid Chester Boughton Hall Cricket Club. The Cheshire Over 60s team were playing a friendly against Shropshire.

A small patch of land alongside Hoole Lane Lock is being kept specially for wildlife!

Work in the centre of Chester close to the Steam Mill involves laying a rather large pipeline along pafrt of the towpath which has been diverted for the purpose. Hopefully it is only temporary as it does not do much to enhance the environment!

Close to the Bus Station a large fire resulted in unpleasant smoke and fumes drifting across the canal. W could not see exactly what was happening, but this report says that it was in a third floor flat and no-one was injured. At least the fire station is across the road!

The canal then runs just outside the city walls - cannot imagine permission being given for just a project today! The heritage lobby would have a field day. Unsurprisingly, this is called the Bridge of Sighs.

We needed to get as far as the elsan point at Tower Wharf but this entailed dropping down the three locks of Northgate Staircase. The operation is unusual and involves running water between the locks before starting the descent to balance the levels in the middle lock go a red-amber-green marker on the chamber wall. 

The locks are quite deep and these photos do not really give the full effect of being down the bottom of the middle lock. (We will try again on the way up!) They are also very slow and it took three quarters of an hour to get to the bottom.

We moored for the night in the Tower Wharf basin.

From here a short Dee Branch used to provide a connection with the River Dee. Although the first two locks can be navigated - the first takes boats down to a small set of moorings - the bottom lock has been non-operational for some time, 

If a boat gets this far and is in any doubt, a large steel; gate blocks the way under the road bridge and into the old lock.

The area surrounding the branch has been done regeneration and the lift bridge can still be used (but to no real purpose!)

According to an information panel, this water tower was built in 1322.

8.0 Miles - 8 Locks

1 comment:

  1. I don't think you will find that a full width broad beam can get through the last bridge to the port.