Tuesday 2 September 2014

Onwards and upwards

It occurred to us yesterday that since we didn't know when next we'd be on this northern stretch of the Shroppie, it would be a shame not to push on through Chester to Ellesmere Port. The main reason we hadn't thought of this before was two-fold. First, we'd picked up rumours of what can befall boaters in Chester. When we were last here we'd gazed down from the city walls on a stretch of canal which looked rather ominous, and seemed to confirm the rumours. Second, because what brought us to boating was not a major interest in the history of the canals, a visit to the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port felt attractive but not mandatory. However, some boaters at Tattenhall indicated that Chester was OK, provided you were sensible, and going on up the Shroppie would give us an opportunity to hook up with two friends who live in the Wirrall. And when I rang up the Museum to talk about mooring, it was a very friendly chappie on the other end of the phone! So today we set out northwest rather than southeast.

We'd done this stretch two years ago when we took Lewis, Charis, David and Jo on their first Erin Mae trip, and picked them up in Waverton. The bus we've often taken to Chester follows more or less the same path, criss-crossing the canal via several hump-backed bridges. It naturally gets there rather faster, especially as, after a short while, there is a mile or more of moored boats.

Overall, however, it's a very nice run in. I remember these willows being considerably lower last time.

There are five locks down into Chester, and we shared them with NB Chief.

The boat is owned by Kiwi John, who had his long-standing Californian friends Daniel and Catherine on board for a few days. They'd been up to Llangollen and back, and now had a couple of days in Chester before the American couple fly on somewhere else. It was good fun to chat and to share the work as we came down the locks together. Nice to meet you, guys!

So we've moored up in the middle of Chester, and are trusting we'll be safe here overnight.

And, for this evening, I have the second Patrick Rothfuss book which David, true to his word, dropped in last night. If it hadn't been for the delay occasioned by the chance of borrowing that book, we might well be on our way to Middlewich by now, instead of heading north in the September sunshine.


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