Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Chester Canal and the Wirral Line - Easter 2012

This was our Easter 2012 Cruise - we last did this in our first boat 'Alcantara' in 1995 and then
previously in the borrowed little cruiser Noggin in the summer of 1990.
There is an interesting comment in my log book entry in 1995 after the visit to Ellesmere Port:
"Very pleasant cruise - and decided to get a different boat."

So 1995 was the start of our plan to get a bigger and a traditional boat with a vintage engine.
We ended with the n.b.Song of the Waterways - and that is a long story!
So, early April 2012 was characterised by sunny yet a cold north wind. And rain.
We had the great company of our 2 older grandchildren from Durham who stopped aboard for 4 days.
A first for them and us. Our son and family came down to meet us just outside Chester to collect them
 - both enjoyed the canal travelling and said they would like to come again!
On our travels we got some welcome comments about the flowers (viola's) on the top of the boat, they
have wintered well and still look fresh despite a battering from the wind.
This photo was taken on my 61st birthday, when we had the pleasure of meeting up with my sister
and husband who live in Chester who collected us for a lovely meal. We got a taxi back to Tower Wharf
where we had moored. Taylor's Yard there is now run by Eve and Pete who we moored next to at
Bollington some 5 years ago They have moorings ...?
We enjoyed our time at the Boat Museum and paid for a year of membership, so that we can return
by car at some point.

On our return trip, we had arranged to meet up with psychologist friend from my previous work.
We met at the Shady Oak, near Beeston and had a great evening catching up.
The next day, we had trouble getting through the Tilstone Lock where a lower gate wouldn't close
properly with something wedge at the cill. With water leaking almost as fast as the lock filler we took ages to rise. With help from a fellow boater and Chris pushing the bow of our boat against the top gate, eventually the gates opened enough for water to rush in and create the level. I phoned British Waterways to let them know.

My log book entry shows:
Easter Cruise - 13 days covering 3 sections of the northern Shropshire Union Canal
10 days travelling with 3 days in the Boat Museum Lower Basin
Used 45 engine hours which includes battery charging
We covered 65 miles through 36 locks - approx 2.6 lock miles per hour

Summary - This was an interesting new cruise for us in many ways. Although we have done this stretch in our previous 2 boats many years ago, this was a first in Song of the Waterways - tackling the broad locks - especially with our two grandchildren to watch out for and teach the canal ways.
The boat gathering was interesting - more so to me than Chris - and the weather mixed,  cold though mostly dry. A successful cruise though not on our list for next year - maybe Chester next time?

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