Sunday, 6 June 2010
Ellesmere Port Boat Museum
Captains Log Canal Date 6th June 2010 Travels Miles 17 Locks 5 wide Staircase Lock 1 wide Current Location Ellsmere Port Boat Museum OS Ref SJ 406 770 We changed our minds again, you can when don’t have to go to work. It was decided that we will go to Chester today, we need to find a Vodafone shop to sort out the interweb thingy and I also want to get a pump from Machine Mart. The Idea of going today is that if anything has to be ordered then we can pick it up on our way back later in the week. As it transpired, Machine Mart no longer stocks the pump and we were only a few minutes it Vodafone, so we did what we always do, we found somewhere to eat! After refuelling ourselves we then changed our minds again and set off for the end of the Shropshire union canal and the boat museum at Ellsmere Port. The canal takes a spectacular route through Chester, travelling along side the ancient city walls through deep sandstone cuttings. There is a small basin as you pass through the staircase locks, it had about 5 boats moored there and was just about full. In a few weeks there will be a Tom Rolt memorial rally and the organisers are expecting around 100 narrowboat to turn up. That should be a tight squeeze. Why is it that if you run a caravan rally you have to have 20 foot clear space between units but boats are OK to be touching in all directions? (This is a rhetorical question and does dot need an answer) Whilst in Chester basin we were called upon to carry out a recue and recovery job on a stranded sailing boat. It had become entangled in the weeds and its outboard motor would not work. After some nifty manoeuvring we came along side and picked it up out of the water and returned it to the chap on the bank. We did receive a good round of applause and a hearty cheer from the onlookers. That should have given us a clue as to what to expect for the last few miles of this canal. The reeds are growing almost bank to bank in places, much of the way we were dragging along the bottom. I don’t think that this section of canal sees very much traffic these days. We made it to the Boat museum without any real problems, however, when we tried to moor up, once again the top was too close to the bottom and we could not get to within 5 foot of the bank. We had several attempts at different locations before settling for one about ¼ mile from the museum. Even this site we are 3 foot away but at least we can step on & off. It’s not the sort of location we would normally choose, we are between 2 road bridges and can hear the traffic noise. I expect that we will be fine here for the night. Tomorrow we shall spend the day at the museum and then set of back towards Chester and find a nice rural spot for a few days to try and build up enough enthusiasm to spend a day or so in Chester.