Friday, 4 June 2010

Market Drayton to Chester

Captains Log Canal Date 4th June 2010 Travels Miles 10 Locks 3 wide Staircase Lock 1 wide Current Location Tattenhall (9 miles SW of Chester) OS Ref SJ 496 604 We carried on towards Chester, we had planned to make it in one trip, but after 5 hours in the heat I decided that we had gone quite far enough so we stopped in a small village. We had several attempts at finding a mooring, each time finding that the “bottom is too close to the top at the edges” Eventually we found somewhere. Not long after mooring up the sun went in and the rain poured down –Proper summer storm stuff. I guess that must have been the summer then! The canal has changed in character since leaving the Llangollen turn. The locks are all wide now - room for 2 boats at a time. Unfortunately we shared the locks with complete first timers and things took a little longer than expected. It’s a good job that we are not in any rush to get anywhere fast. At last we are in an area where we can get an internet connection, all be it silly slow. Again, it a good job we are not in a rush! One thing of note. One of the locks was made of Cast Iron rather than the usual stone & concrete. Being an ex iron foundry man I found this to be of much interest. I don’t know if it has been replaced at anytime but it is showing very little sign of corrosion. Good old Cast Iron. We will stay here until Monday when we will make out final attempt at making Chester. Captains Log Canal Date 2nd June 2010 Travels 8 Miles Locks 2 Current Location Hurleston Junction (3 miles north Nantwich) OS Ref SJ 624 555 We stayed at Aulem for longer than we first thought; we found that there was to be a music festival over the bank holiday weekend. Never wanting to miss out on a freebie we decided to remain there until we had had enough or it became too busy for us. We made the right decision. There are three pubs and a number of other locations in the village, each one had a selection of live music going on from mid day until mid night. We had never heard of any of the acts so had no idea what was going to happen. The music ranged form folk music though to heavy blues. All was at a very high and professional standard (some perhaps a little on the loud side for the size of the venues) Most importantly, all was free. You don’t get that very often these days! I was just so nice to wonder round the village and having a listen to some live music, then going to another venue and listening so another style. If we are in this area next year we would be very tempted to do it all again. We stayed at Audlem for eleven nights that is about as long as we have ever stayed in one spot during the touring season. It was helped by a daily visit from a local butcher providing us with some of the best sausages we have ever had. We also had friends visiting over the period. It is such a nice village and a beautiful mooring spot that I was not in any rush to move on. Usually the batteries would have long since given up but now they are still good after all that time. However, we had to move on as we were almost out of fresh water and the loo tank was getting a bit whiffey and I need get to Chester to try and sort out the internet connection. Some thing is not right; I can only get it to work very occasionally. (I don’t think it was ever so very happy at getting wet one night!) We set off on Tuesday mid day, the heavy rain of the morning had give way to a very light drizzle. As we travelled the rain again became heavier but eventually it did as the weatherman had said and gave up. On route we passed what is probably the worst kept secret in Briton. The “Secret Nuclear Bunker” How ca it be secret when it is marked on the maps and has signpost? We arrived at Nantwich by mid afternoon. After filling the fresh water and pumping out the loo tank we went into the town to replenish the dwindling food stock. It was about a 20 minute walk to the shops and felt like a 3 day hike back to the boat. We were not happy with the mooring location so we continued our journey to Hurleston Junction. This is where the Llangollen canal branches off the main line. It has been interesting so far, watching the “Hire Boaters” getting the turn completely wrong. I hope I get it right now I have said that! I expect to arrive a Chester just as soon as the schools go back i.e. Monday, however we do have quite a number of pubs to pass on the way! Captains Log Canal Date 23th May 2010 Travels 7 Miles Locks 20!!! (And every single one was against us) Current Location Audlem OS Ref SJ 680 346 Weather was fine – blue skies – no wind – above average temperatures. Just right for a full day wheeling locks! We planed to do the first 5 locks today and find a pleasant spot to stay over night. We did find a nice spot but once again we could not get into the bank although it was an official visitor mooring spot. Perhaps my boat requires more draft than some? We did stay long enough for bacon & egg sandwich, all very good for you. As there was no suitable moorings we carried on and completed the hole 20, we even pasted a few welcoming pubs how is that for will-power, passing open pubs with sunshine and temperatures in the mid 20’s. We have found an idyllic spot; we are on a high embankment, overlooking the river Weaver. The views are magnificent in all directions, pity that the internet will not work here. Must sort that out next. You can’t have it all can you? This a the sort of location that we could easily have an extended stay, we have boats either side, both have to run their engines every day to keep some charge in the batteries, It is a nice smug feeling knowing that we no longer have to do that. At the time of writing this we have been here for 5 days and not run the engine at all. The batteries are still at full at12.8 volts. What a difference good quality batteries make, with the old batteries we could not last more than 48 hours! At last I do believe we have sorted the battery problem once and for all! (Thanks Martin) I expect to remain here for a few more days before heading for Chester. I have been told that Chester is a particularly nice place, but as it is a city and I hate towns and truly loath cities time will tell if I can get to like it. Watch this space.

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