So, we set off from Yelvertoft at the beginning of March for a family wedding, we arrived at our destination with two days to spare. Whilst enjoying some refreshments at the Cheshire Cat, we met some volunteers of the Wirral Community Narrowboat Trust, who had just returned from a day trip. They have two boats which have reserved moorings directly outside the pub. During our chat they informed us that one of these boats was being taken to Preston Brook on the Trent and Mersey for a couple of months. They very kindly allowed us to plonk our boat in their spot for the duration of our stay.
I think you will agree we could not get much closer. We also had a small problem with the Hurricane diesel heater, or to be more precise the circulation pump attached to it. On Thursday morning during its normal morning cycle, it began to screech like a banshee. After shutting everything down and doing some research, I could not believe something so small and made of plastic could cost so much. You can imagine my delight when speaking to Calcutt Boats, to find it was still under warranty. Better still they would send a replacement next day delivery to the pub.
Nb Pot of Gold. Our neighbour from the Wirral Narrowboat Trust.
The big day arrived and the weather as forecast was perfect for the occasion. The service was conducted in Chester then it was off to Walk Mill at Waverton for the reception. It was good to see family and friends again.
On Sunday, after an anniversary lunch to celebrate our 29 years married, we said goodbye to everyone and then went into Chester to have a look around.
Chester Cathedral. No, the wedding was not here.
The city centre was bustling, but that was hardly surprising given the weather, and that there had been races the previous day. On Monday the new pump which had arrived as promised was fitted, with only a small hiccup.
Tuesday, was forecast to be very hot. It was. We set off, initially heading towards Chester to make use of the winding hole a couple of hundred yards ahead. Originally we planned to descend the locks into Chester, then continue on to Ellesmere Port. We have reviewed this and are now aiming to spend a month or so, exploring the Llangollen and the Montgomery Canals, travelling from England into Wales. This means the northern tip of the Shropshire Union remains undone, so it’s a good reason to come back this way one day. After winding it was a fairly easy six mile cruise to our spot, this time just below Wharton’s Lock. We had made a brief stop at Tattenhall Marina for fuel, sorry we missed you again nb Amyjo. By now it was mid afternoon and blisteringly hot.
Our spot between the winding hole and Wharton’s Lock.
Lunch was taken at the Shady Oak P.H. which was not so shady, then the remainder of the afternoon spent trying to keep cool. We plan on staying here a day or two.
Today, Wednesday we woke to bright sunshine. Overnight sleeping had been fairly comfortable thanks mostly to the dyson cool fan. Today the humidity has made things uncomfortable and we could do with a good storm to clear the air. Depending on the weather we will probably move off tomorrow.
Totals 6 Miles
Running totals 295 Miles 134 Locks 11 Tunnels
As planned we set off this morning on our excursion to Beeston Castle. The walk began with a fairly gentle slope upwards from the canal towards the village of Beeston, increasing in gradient the closer we got. On reaching the castle we had a quick drink at the cafe outside the perimeter wall, before we commenced the really steep climb to the top.
Entrance to Beeston Castle grounds managed by English Heritage.
Beeston Castle was built circa 1220 following the crusades. It remained complete as a castle and played a role during the English civil war, until it was partially demolished on the instructions of Oliver Cromwell to prevent further use as a stronghold.
Views across the Cheshire Plain towards Chester 10 miles away.
Looking towards the Welsh Hills on the horizon.
As can be seen in some of the photos, today we had lots of blue sky and plenty of sunshine. The walk back to the boat had two substantial benefits. Firstly it was all downhill. Secondly the route back took us past the Shady Oak P.H. a venue we had visited before so we popped in again, this time for a late lunch.
Looking back at the castle from the Shady Oak.
It was then a slow stroll back along the towpath and a pleasant afternoon watching the boat traffic from the Middlewich Festival pass by. Tomorrow we plan to move off and following a brief visit to Tattenhall Marina for services we aim to stop near to Egg Bridge at Waverton.
Last night it poured down, and it was still raining when we woke this morning. It was a flip of the coin whether to delay our departure for a day, but the forecast indicated improving conditions. So beneath leaden skies we pulled pins and set off for Beeston. We met a share boat at the nearby services where we both took on water, and thought that they might double up with us in the locks. They finished taking on water and were about 5 minutes ahead of us. By the time we reached the Bunbury Staircase locks they were already descending. They claimed to have waited, likely story.
Bunbury Staircase Locks and stable block.
Nor did they wait down the rest of the flight. Obviously, water conservation was not high on their holiday agenda. After navigating Beeston Iron Lock, which is clad with steel plates due to its bulging sides, we passed close to the West Coast Mainline, complete with old style signal box.
Beeston Castle and Taporley signal box.
Just a mile further on we arrived at Wharton’s Lock. Initially we planned to moor below it, but the spot above was more sheltered, so we stopped. To the left we have good views of Beeston Castle, which we will visit tomorrow.
After securing the boat we had lunch, then in the afternoon, walked to the bridge ahead where the Shady Oak P.H. is located. This is a dog friendly pub, so we stopped for refreshments before returning to the boat. During this time we got a closer look at the hill we have to climb tomorrow. It looks steep.
Mooring above Wharton’s Lock.
We plan on staying here till Wednesday, or possibly Thursday, depending on the weather, and how much rest we need after our mountaineering excursion tomorrow.
Totals 6 Miles 5 Locks
Running total 282 Miles 133 Locks 11 Tunnels