Monday, 15 April 2013

Ellesmere & it’s warmer.

Since our last blog we have excelled ourselves,we’ve done as many locks and miles as we would expect to do in a month,and now we are moored in Ellesmere for a few days.We fuelled and watered on Friday before leaving Nantwich to make our way to Whitchurch,were we planned to spend the weekend,and then made our way here,a nice town that we have stopped at a couple of times in the past,where there are boat services and a Tesco’s.

During our stay in Nantwich we got the Railcards out and went over to Crew for the day where we had a mooch around the town for a few hours.Crew is only ten minutes away from Nantwich,and it cost us all of two pounds each for return tickets.The rest of our time in Nantwich we spent looking around the town and walking the towpath.Near to where we were moored is Nantwich Canal Services and I bought a couple of spare fan belts and filters for Chyandour so we are ready now for her next service and we have spare belts,just in case.

Whitchurch 002 Whitchurch 004 

The ornate weathervane above the town hall in Crewe,Stephenson’s Rocket,I believe.On the right is Chyandour entering the bottom lock of the Grindley Brook Staircase locks.Between Nantwich and Whitchurch on the Llangollen canal,these three locks raise the canal over 19 feet and if the chamber above gets full it can cascade over the top of the gates.For this I held right back.

Whitchurch 007 Whitchurch 008

Lisa and the “Lockie” opening the gates for me to go into the next chamber.The top gates of one chamber are the bottom gates of the next going uphill on Staircase Locks like these.On the right is a view back down to the previous chamber.

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Chyandour at the top of Grindley Brook and on the right is the entrance to the Whitchurch Arm.You have to pass through the Lift Bridge to the left,go down the bottom right,to the next “ Winding Hole ”,turn or wind,and then come back to go through the arm entrance.

We spent the weekend in Whitchurch as planned and moored on the arm which is only about three hundred metres long.While we were there we did a bit of nosing around to see if we could find where the rest of the Whitchurch Arm of the canal used to go.The original arm was fully opened in 1811 and closed in 1944,it used to go into the south side of the town through what is now Jubilee Park and into a basin where there now stands a hotel.We looked for the possible route but apart from just before the park there was nothing left.Everything had been pretty much landscaped and had newish housing built on it.Walk into town from the arm following the signs and I think the only bit near the town that is left is where the footpath joins the road,next to some derelict land.This is Sherrymill Hill and I believe this is where the arm used to go under the road and is where the gasworks and a mill once stood.Also,if you stand in the car park of the Working Men’s Club on Castle Hill and look south,there’s the Old Mill Restaurant and Hotel and that is where the basin for the Whitchurch Arm used to be.

Whitchurch 014 Whitchurch 013

On the left is Saturn,a restored Shropshire Union Canal Fly Boat,moored on the arm.She is over a hundred years old and is the only remaining horse drawn Flyboat in the world and was built to travel non stop,day and night,carrying perishable goods.The horses were changed at frequent intervals to enable the fly boats to travel non stop.On the left is the end of the Whitchurch Arm as it is today,it used to go under the bridge and straight on but there’s a road there now and houses.

Whitchurch 020 Whitchurch 022

Where I think the arm used to go,and over the fence was where there was a gas works.Opposite the gas works was Sherrymans Wharf on the canal arm.There’s no trace of it now.To the right is a pic’ of the view from the Working Men’s Club car park.Ignore the telegraph pole.This was where the town wharf and the basin for the arm used to be.

Ellesmere 009 Ellesmere 010

The entrance to the Ellesmere Arm with the main line to Llangollen to the left.A view from the over bridge down the arm,not many boats and we’re the one in the distance.On our way to here we stopped of to see a couple of friends,Emma and Nick,who run Bettisfield Boats on the Llangollen canal.We have hired from them and would highly recommend them,there boats are good,the service is exceptional and they have some of the lowest prices we came across.You’ll have to book early though.

Well,that’s all for this week.Since our last blog we have done 19 Locks and 28 Miles,giving us a grand total of 214 Locks and 255 Miles since we set off in October last Year.Take care everyone.

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