Saturday 18 May 2024


Today's Canal : Chester (Shropshire Union)

Our schedule now for the next four days is quite relaxed. We took our time setting off on what proved to be a really good day weatherwise. There was plenty of sunshine, pleasantly warm, even hot at times, but with a gentle breeze to keep things fresh.

The first of today's two locks was near at  hand - Greenfield Lock. The former lock cottage, now in private hands, is close to a busy road as well as the railway line out of Chester towards Crewe.  However, the line at this point is in a cutting and barely visible from the canal - it goes into a short tunnel through Christleton. Not much can be done about the intrusion of the road, alas.

We were fortunate with both locks -  a boat had recently come down, leaving the first lock empty whilst another was just in the next lock and soon to leave. Timle enough for a chat with the crew before they continued on down towards Chester. We shared our concern that one of the top paddles is not operational - and agreed that it feels as if someone has allowed the paddle to drop heavily. Although old-time boatmen did this regularly it is now heavily deprecated as it can easily damage a strip of wood which is usually fitted to the bottom edge of the paddle itself to help it to close off the flow of water. If it is worn away or broken through inappropriate use then it can - as in this case - allow the ratchet to drop below the winding gear and so not engage when an attempt is made to raise it. A repair is probably not difficult but does f=require a short stoppage with planks inserted to allow the water around the paddle and culvert to be drained away before work can start.

Just above the lock we pulled in to fill up with water - not least as Christine was just starting a load of washing. The North Wales Expressway  looms overhead.

Just after the next bridge the building was once a Harvester pub. However, it seems that we were too hasty a couple of days ago in assuming that the former building had been wholly demolished and replaced by a new one. What now seems more likely is that a range of unsatisfactory add-ons at the rear was demolished (what we saw two years ago) and then the main part totally refurbished. It is now a Drive-Thru Costa which today was very popular. Some people even took their coffee and carried it down to the look to sit and drink.

We now had a straightforward level section, passing to the south of the main Christleton village, back into the countryside for about a mile before reaching Egg Bridge and the main part of Waverton. Our schedule allows for us to walk across a field from Bridge 118 or 119 to the parish church, tomorrow morning for the 10.15 service. As we arrived at the first bridge we could see that the bank provided an excellent mooring (mobile connections not so good but still available) and that decided which of the two bridges we should use! The walk from either is about the same distance - this one on a footpath and the other along a farm track. Time then for lunch and an empty diary for the rest of the day.

2.8 Miles - 2 Locks

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