This week our blog comes to you from the lovely walled City of Chester,a city that we have visited before,both recently and on our hire boating days,and there is always something new here to discover.On Wednesday we left last weeks middle of nowhere and continued our journey Northwards,on the Shroppie,towards the Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port.Our supplies needed replenishing and we knew there would be a Tesco in Chester,so we decided to stop over for a couple of nights and have some retail therapy.We had been told that there was a new Tesco store here and when we found it there were a number of other retail outlets close by,a shoppers heaven in fact,and it’s only ten minutes walk from Tower Wharf where we were moored.
A view looking back along the Shroppie after we had left our Moorings on Wednesday.In the distance you can see Beeston Castle.On the right is Boughton Water Tower,built in 1853 alongside the canal,to supply clean drinking water to Chester.The Pump House is the building on the right.
The gates of the middle lock of the Northgate Staircase Locks in Chester,there’s no by-wash so excess water flows over the gates.The staircase was built as a five lock staircase in 1775 and changed in 1797 to the three locks we see today.They raise the canal 33 feet from the level on the right hand picture.here we have Telfords Warehouse at Tower Wharf,built in 1790 by Thomas Telford,it sits over the canal for loading/unloading boats.It was restored in 2000 after being destroyed by fire and is now a pub.
On our first evening in Chester we took a stroll along the Dee branch,this leaves the main line at Tower Wharf,goes through three locks and connects to the River Dee.We won’t be cruising this branch,mainly because the cost is a tad prohibitive and the Dee is tidal,so there are only certain times you can get on and off the river.Walking farther afield took us to the banks of the Dee itself and more discoveries that we had missed previously,all supported by information boards detailing the history of this once major inland port.
The bottom lock of the Dee Branch and then the River Dee lock gates with the Balance Beams and Anchor plates removed,this stops the gates from being used and explains the cost of getting onto the Dee.
The Water Tower in Chester.Originally called the New Tower it was built in 1325 on the river for defence but the river silted up and by the end of the 16th Century the tower was landlocked.On the right is a pic’ of Tower Wharf from Chester Walls,you can see Chyandour at her mooring and Telford’s Warehouse on the right.
On Friday we left Chester to cruise the last eight miles or so to Ellesmere Port and the Waterways Museum,where we intended to stay for a night or two.We had cruised this stretch of canal back in November 2008 and at that time the canal looked a bit neglected and Ellesmere Port itself seemed somewhat run down.This time was different,the canal was better,obviously there had been some TLC,and the town now has a huge modern shopping centre and market hall and was much improved.It was well worth the visit,and we tried to recall what had changed,both at the museum and in the town,there is every chance that we will be back again in the future.
NB Ilkeston,a restored horse drawn narrowboat built in 1912 for Fellows,Morton and Clayton,one of the largest of the canal carriers.Here she is at Ellesmere Port where she was restored.On the right is a bit of a contrast,a Concrete boat built in 1944,apparently,concrete ships and boats have been built,and used,all over the world for more than 100 years.This one,FCB 18,has had quite a checkered history.
The inside of the back cabin on NB Ilkeston.This would be all a family had to live in during her working life,a space about 6ft by 10ft.
A couple of shots of the Waterways Museum as we were leaving,someday we would like to go back.
Sunday morning was a beautiful morning to be cruising as we made our way back here to Chester,this time so that some of our family would be able to find us and we could spend the bank holiday Monday together.
Well,that’s all again for this week,we will be moving on again tomorrow,hopefully to somewhere nice and quiet for a few days.Since our last blog we have done 12 Locks and 26 Miles,giving a grand total of 277 Locks and 416 Miles since October.Take care everyone.