Boatwif Blog

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Busy, busy, busy

Calveley to Coole Pilate Moorings: 9.5 miles, 2 locks       Busy this morning: one crew member showered, washing machine in action, water tank refilled, mint and basil watered, rubbish disposed of, toilet compartments dealt with – and all before breakfast.      Busy on the canal this morning: boats from five different hire boat companies returning to base.        Busy at Barbridge Junction, boats approaching from the Shropshire Union to the south and the Middlewich Branch. The A51 Nantwich Road was noisy...

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New experience at Bunbury Staircase

Christleton to Calveley: 11.2 miles, 6 locks        Retracing a route allows views of familiar things from a different angle. Today’s course involved first the eight mile long lock-free pound from the Chester outskirts to Wharton Lock. Whereas on Saturday the route was boated in gentle sunshine, today the morning skies were leaky and the air chilly. Gloves again! The houses in the village of Waverton have those pretty gardens – and the one with the boathouse. Slowly the boat cruised...

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A tramp round historic Chester

Chester to Christleton: 2.5 miles, 8 locks        A guided walk – with a tour guide? It seemed like a good idea and indeed it was. At 1030 the little group of UK nationals (and one visitor from Minnesota) congregated outside Chester’s Town Hall for a 90 minute stroll plus commentary around the city.       In a place like Chester it helps to have some idea of historical era: the city has developed via contributions made by the Romans, Saxons,...

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An umbrella day

Ellesmere Port to Chester: 8.5 miles, 2 locks      It was a great day for umbrellas – but less of a good one for boat mooring.      Get up the two locks early from the lower basin before there was any boat traffic, assemble rubbish for drop off at the bins behind the Visitor Centre, sort laundry for the washing machine, refill with water, proceed to Chester, find a good mooring at Tower Wharf – that was the plan.     ...

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Tied up at Ellesmere Port

            10 am on Monday and the Cleddau crew were ready to start their exploration of the National Waterways Museum. From their mooring behind the Holiday Inn they wove their way off the islands, climbed a steep ramp to top lock level, wandered past a number of old working boats in varying states of restoration, trudged past a building or two and found a bridge across two locks to arrive near the Visitor Entrance.           “Can you advise us where is...

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Arrival at the National Waterways Museum

Chester to Ellesmere Port: 8.5 miles, 2 locks            It was an extremely quiet Saturday night in Chester and only the crunch of early morning joggers and dog walkers along the gravelled towpath disturbed the crew’s slumber.             Prepare for take-off are words very familiar to the jet-flying and TV drama-watching public. Likewise on a boat: check water, check diesel, check oil pressure, check engine. This morning the tank dipping for diesel and the fuel consumption spreadsheet didn’t quite tally. Hence, before...

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Down the stairs to Chester

Beeston to Chester, 10 miles, 8 locks          Saturday – what, no wind? No rain? The sun really shining…?  Beeston Castle seemed to be shimmering this morning on top of its rocky outcrop. There were seven miles of Shropshire Union Canal ahead before any locks; a decision as to whether to tie up for a lazy day or proceed on down into Chester would be made en route.            For the past two days thermally-lined hats have been rammed on heads and...

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Up two, down six…

Church Minshull to Beeston, 9.14 miles, 8 locks Usual preparations for departure were momentarily delayed this morning.  The Captain grabbed the camera to photo the chimney to which he had made some emergency adjustments last night. Early evening the stove had begun to belch smoke, oozing and billowing it back into the cabin, it unable to escape because of the force of the wind. A quick tilting and weighting of the “coolie hat” had been the solution to that problem.  ...

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Not all Plain sailing…

Middlewich to Church Minshull, 7.4 miles, 5 locks      A lesson for the day: make your interpretation of a weather forecast – but do not assume your interpretation will be accurate… Heavy rain early this morning led to a decision to delay a start until about midday. The Captain went shopping – got thinking – then said: “It’s not raining now (about 9.30) so if we move now we can sit in the sunshine this afternoon.”      Off Cleddau set,...

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Wind-lashed to Middlewich

      Arrived in Middlewich today: after a total of 37.35 miles (and 47 locks) since last Friday. The direction had been generally south from Macclesfield to Harding’s Wood Junction and then mainly north to Middlewich.        At one point during the morning there had been a long drifting about wait for a lock, during which Boatwif from the back deck had been gazing into back gardens at Malkin’s Bank. They have brown bins round here, she observed, property of Cheshire...