Monday 20 May 2024


Today's Canal : Chester

The first photo was taken at 18:24 last night whilst the second, of the same bridge but from the other side, was just as we were leaving this morning. What a contrast in the weather! 

It remained grey for most of the day and distinctly cooler. However, by the time we moored late afternoon, there was some watery sunshine and a definite increase in the warmth.

As we were casting off a single hander passed us and asked if we could share the locks. Although it adds a bit to the time to pass through a lock, it is very much easier - especially for a single hander. Most of the time we were able to let him stay aboard but at least it means that for both boats they remain less buffeted by the water as it is let in to fill.

Of course, at the second lock, Beeston Iron Lock, we had to go separately but could still help each other. A young lad on a following boat came to ask if he could help and was very useful in keeping our centreline well and truly in place!

Things then became a little busier as we arrived at Bunbury Staircase. Hence a marked lack of photos until after lunch! Our singlehander had caught up with another boat and gone up with them. At first we thought that we would be doing the staircase on our own but by the time we had set the locks (top full - it was because two boats had gone up, bottom had to be emptied) a boat arrived at the top and shortly after yet another. Both were willing to do the Bunbury Shuffle - they seemed especially excited by the rather unusual prospect. We guided everyone through the process.

We were already in the bottom lock and waited whilst the two down boats came into the top lock and settled into position. We  then emptied the top lock into the bottom so that all three boats were now at the same level. There are slight variations on how to arrange the swap but Mike suggested the safer if a little more effort option. One boat moved down into the vacant space in the lower lock, letting the other them move across to the opposite side. This allowed Christine to move forward into the top lock whilst the first boat moved into the space she had just left - it was easier for them as they had bow thrusters. Finally the second boat could move down kin to the lower lock. When the gates in the middle were then shut, everyone could continue as normal!

We continued a short distance to moor for lunch on the VM just before Calveley. We stopped just behind the boat that had come up with the singlehander but were so keen to see the Shuffle that they stayed and helped with great enthusiasm - they are fairly new to boating anyway.

Just as we prepared to leave after lunch, a boat passed us - no problem except that they immediately pulled in to the only vacant space at the service point ahead! In addition, there was nowhere to wait other than keep station in the middle of the canal. At least there was little or no wind. Eventually we could pull in and start a full service. alas the bollards were not well placed for us so the boat moved around on long lines. Mike was not paying close attention and suddenly saw that one of the elsan cassettes was tipped into the water. At least it floated and did not leak but as soon as he tried to wheel it to the disposal point it was obvious that it had lost its wheels in the incident!

Christine tried the nearby little shop and cafe that has a poster to say that it sells bread and groceries as well as Cheshire Cheese. Alas, no bread today and milk was limited but we should survive the gap until we return home on Thursday.

A short cruise, passing Barbridge Junction, brought us to the Visitor Mooring at the bottom of Hurleston where we stopped for the night - with a constant reminder of the Shroppie Shelf especially when another boat passes us!

Whilst Christine was preparing the evening meal, Mike waked across to the Hurleston Locks and walked up to the top and back down again.

7.3 Miles - 6 Locks

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