We arrived in the marina on Thursday and as linked to electric and water nearby managed to get a lot of washing done in preparation for our Cornwall trip. We hired a car from Enterprise on Friday from the Wrexham office despite it being further from the marina than Chester. Apparently the car company ‘s hire areas are not always where you think they should be. On Saturday we set off in our rather nippy Hyundai I10 hire car and headed to Leicester to view a house for our daughter. We used the I phone as a sat nav which made it easier. Coming out of Leicester we knew where we were going so headed to Cornwall and finally arrived at our sons house at tea time. Now starts the unenviable job of sorting the final bits of our stuff that we were too lazy to do before!!
On Sunday we decided to make the journey to Ellesmere Port. You can join the Manchester Ship Canal here and do a loop back to the River Weaver and then the T&M. But we aren’t really experienced enough for that just yet, so turned at the end before the locks, moored up, and visited the Waterways museum whilst we were there.
We then carried on our journey back from whence we came and stopped at the bridge we needed for Chester zoo. We had a lovely day at the zoo yesterday. Took a picnic and wandered around all day in glorious sunshine.
Today we have arrived back at Waverton and we are having lunch out tomorrow with our old neighbour again. We are having to return to Cornwall at the end of the week to do some house selling business, and sort out the last of our things that now has to be decided whether to keep, or get rid! We are going into Tattenhall Marina, as that is the nearest to here, and we can get a car from Chester.
From Beeston Castle we made our way to Waverton. An old neighbour of ours now lives here so we decided to stop and say hello. We had a lovely lunch out with her, and she has asked us to stop on the way back so she can reciprocate. We hopped a bus to Chester from Waverton, so we could have a quick look around. It is our new favourite place. So full of history, and interesting things to do and see. On friday we started our cruise into Chester. We set off early as we wanted to get through 8 locks, to finally end up in Tower Wharf, which is a good place to continue our explorations.
Chester is a very old town, and has been added to over the years. The Romans were here for 300 years. There is a part excavated amphitheatre, which is the biggest ever found in Britain. The Grosvenor museum gives the timeline of Chester from the Romans to the present day. The city wall was rebuilt in stone in Medieval times with fortifications at crucial points to keep out the marauding Welsh. It later had additions in the 17th century, and also Victorian influence. A sample of the pictures we took now follows.
This is just a sample of Chester. Well worth a visit. We will move on a bit further tomorrow as Chester zoo is next on our list of things to do.
Saw us climb the rocky crag to get to Beeston castle. There have been human settlements there since prehistoric times. It became a Bronze Age metal working site, and later an Iron Age hill fort whose earthwork defences were adapted by medieval castle builders.
It’s medieval title was “the castle of the rock” and was begun in 1220 by Ranulf, Earl of Chester.
The view from the top takes in 8 counties, the Welsh mountains, and the Pennines. Luckily it was a glorious day so the view was fantastic.
The castle was an important English civil war stronghold. It surrendered to parliament in 1645 after a long siege. It was destroyed after this event. It was bought in Victorian times by wealthy John Tollemache who opened it as a tourist attraction. It is now managed by English Heritage. Surrounding the castle is extensive woodland which made for a pleasant walk back down. After that mammoth climb we frequented the local hostelry and had a pint!
Another 3 miles along and we can see Beeston castle in the distance. It’s managed by English Heritage so we will explore it tomorrow. We have done 6 locks today which was hard work as they are doubles (2 boats can enter at same time). And some of the gates took both of us to open as they were do heavy. Bunbury staircase was the first which we shared. The others we had to ourselves as nothing passed us today.
Beeston castle view from the boat at today’s final mooring. When we stopped two cheeky little ducks jumped on board. So they had some porridge oats.
Today we walked a 3 mile round trip to visit a restored working water mill. We stayed moored as strong winds were forecast, so a good chance to go exploring. A water mill has stood on this spot since the 11th century. The present mill was built in 1850 and worked milling flour commercially till 1960. Unfortunately a flood destroyed the mills foundations and it stood as a ruin until 1977 when it was purchased for £5 by a local enthusiast from the local water company, and with the help of volunteers has been rebuilt and brought back to life.
The main mill building above.
Machine that separates the wheat from the chaff.
The mechanism that turns the grinding stones.
The River Gowy that feeds the water wheel.
We had a very interesting tour by one of the volunteers, and purchased a bag of stoneground flour for my next bread making session. I am having to blog on my phone as today the 12v transformer that charges the computer decided to stop working. Trip to PC world in Chester methinks!
I thought I would share the photos I took when walking through the woodland mentioned in my last post.
Friday was dry, but not as warm as predicted. We decided to move along. The two moorings I chose (quiet and rural) were turned down by Charlie. Because the Middlewich branch is only 8 miles long, we soon found ourselves at Barbridge junction, and we needed to turn right here for Chester. It was busy. A boat got caught by the wind and couldn’t make the turn in, we stopped to investigate, meanwhile another boat behind us carried on despite us telling them the scenario! Anyway we got through safely and moored a little way before Bunbury staircase locks on the Shropshire Union Canal. Weather has changed somewhat and although bright is cooler. No time restriction where we are so we may stay a couple of nights and do some chores (and no doubt more fishing….yawn!!!). Nearby is Bunbury water mill and Beeston castle. We may investigate these at some point. Either soon or on the way back.
Stopped here for an overnight stay so Charlie could do some fishing.
Charlie caught lots of gudgeon, and was particularly proud of the roach (specimen size apparently).
Whilst the fisherman was fishing, I made some bread and a cake, which I am going to call cruising cake from now on! I then had an explore around the area. Found a lovely woodland walk which skirted the canal and ended in the village of Church Minshull.
We walked into Middlewich, found Lidl and did some shopping (also found tesco so wine rack now replenished). There is a large angling centre on the edge of town, so 2 pints of maggots purchased, and Charlie can now do some fishing. I can catch up with some reading whilst basking in the sunshine. We moved approx 1.5 mile and found a quieter mooring with no boats around. Shame about traffic noise from the nearby road.
This evenings view from the boat.
We have finally made it to Middlewich. We set off in thick fog, filled with water etc, and slowly made our way towards Middlewich and the Shropshire Union Canal Middlewich branch. We met a few boats along the way today. Weather not very good when we started for taking photos, but soon cleared to be another lovely sunny day. I am going to have to leave some layers off if it stays like this!
Another bonus today was a heron that followed us along. It came very close but always managed to fly away as we got near. I did manage two photos though.
We decided to turn at Middlewich junction and get on to the Shropshire Union Middlewich branch, before mooring for a couple of days. We want to explore Middlewich and do some shopping. The junction was quiet as we went through the last lock on the T&M before turning, I went ahead to check if the junction was clear. Another boat was coming down. As there isn’t enough room for 2 boats to get through under the bridge, Charlie held back at the winding hole. Unfortunately then things got busy, a hire boat was trying to jump the queue, but soon was told what order everyone was in. After 3 hours 45 minutes cruise we moored on 48hr moorings. The time certainly goes very quickly!