Sunday, 31 July 2011

A day in Liverpool

The Chinese takeaway arrived successfully last night and was excellent.  We sat out on the dock most of the evening as it was such a warm evening.  We then all took a walk along a very short stretch of  the Manchester Ship Canal just in time to see two ships and two tugs passing by.  The wash made by the tugs was a sharp reminder that the MSC is not the safest of places for little old narrow boats.

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Today (Sunday) James, Doug and Ann took the train to Liverpool.  John stayed on the boat to look after Oscar and spend some time in the museum. The train was only £2 return for each of us!  We walked down to the docks and along  by the Royal Liver Building (Britain’s first skyscraper).

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Ann and Doug in front of the Royal Liver Building

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The recently completed Museum of Liverpool on the water front.

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James at Albert Dock.

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Liverpool Cathedral designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and built in the twentieth century – a truly awesome building and the largest cathedral in Britain.  Inside the size, detail and design is magnificent.

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The organ, some of which can be seen either side of the chancel, is the largest in Britain with 10,268 pipes.  It also has the highest and heaviest peal of bells and Britain’s highest and widest gothic arches – and who says size isn’t important!

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That’s Ann by the way.  We went up the tower (which cost £5 but entry to the building is free with a donation of £3 requested) and was well worth it with views over the city. 

We had lunch at the Cathedral Restaurant, Doug tried “Scouse” -  very tasty meat hot pot while Ann had a roast lunch and James having the veggie option. With a bottle of red wine the cost was £30.  We can highly recommend the cathedral for a lovely and reasonably priced meal.

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…… and the surroundings are pretty impressive as well!

We travelled back on the train to Ellesmere Port arriving back at 5pm - set off back towards Chester and moored at 7pm back at Chester Zoo.  We’re now ready to make our way into Chester in the morning so Ann and John can get the train from Chester to Penkridge -  sadly their week with us has come to an end….

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Ellesmere Port

The view this morning at 6am from our mooring by Chester Zoo.

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We started a little latter this morning at 9.30am as we all had a lazy morning reading and sitting about.  We met a team of soldier volunteers doing a charity pull of a traditional wooden narrow boat from Ellesmere Port to Chester and back.  We’re sorry we didn’t catch the name of the guy who made it known that he followed our blog!  Thank you for following us – we hope we’re not too boring at times!  Anyway, all of you were working very hard and we hope you’ve done well for your charity.

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By 11.30am we were entering the two locks at the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port.  There were plenty of gongoozlers watching us entering the locks so we very much felt  part of the exhibits!

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Mooring in the museum basin only costs you the price of the entry to the museum £5 per adult.  The surroundings are very pleasant and safe and we spent a lovely afternoon looking round the museum.  It’s well worth a visit. Ann and Doug walked into Ellesmere Port (town) to do some shopping and also had a KFC for lunch!!  Ellesmere Port  seems a much nicer town than it was a few years ago when we visited last.  It  has a very good shopping centre with a large Asda.

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‘Chance’ moored in the basin at the museum (Ellesmere Port).

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A view from the top of the museum basin across to Liverpool.  The very hazy grey blob in the far distance is the Anglican Cathedral.

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A very handy bollard – obviously made for the job!

Tonight we are sitting on the mooring awaiting our Chinese takeaway to be delivered. (ordered via the internet!)



We finally arrived in the wonderful city of Chester at 11am this morning.  After visiting the town hall and looking around the inside (well worth a visit) we walked down to the River Dee and had lunch by the river.  Having been to Chester several times before we’d never got to the river frontage – very pleasant.

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Chester Town Hall

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The beautiful buildings that are the city centre shops!

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The Grosvenor shopping centre.

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The famous Eastgate clock overlooking the centre of Chester, supposedly the second most photographed clock after Big Ben!

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Doug at the helm of ‘Chance’ passing under the city walls (hewn out of the solid rock) heading towards the three staircase locks at Northgate.

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The massive lock gates at Northgate.

The paddles were quite hard work on the staircase locks although better than they were when we last passed through 3 years ago.  There was certainly a lot less litter and graffiti than we had previously encountered.  Again, we have to say there are far fewer boats on the canal than expected - we have only seen 4 pass us all day!Chester 036

Amazing to find solid rock as part of the lock wall – this is the middle lock of the three at Northgate.

Leaving Chester (we thought it best not to risk an overnight stay on a Friday!) we’ve made our way towards Ellesmere Port, and the canal boat museum, and stopped for the night on the 48 hour moorings by Chester Zoo.  We’ve used these before on our previous boat ‘Spirit’ – it’s very rural and quiet and the cows are very friendly!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

On our way to Chester

We are enjoying fabulous weather so far on our trip to Chester!  On Wednesday (27th) we moored at Nantwich for lunch – the annual show was on today and the moorings were extremely busy.  We took a walk into the town which we’ve always enjoyed – superb architecture.


Alms houses in Nantwich.

We continued our journey, passing the junction to the Llangollen Canal and the Hurleston Flight of locks at the entrance.


We moored up for the evening just after bridge 104 at Calveley.  We spent a lovely evening (on the towpath for a change) enjoying the balmy temperature right up to 10 o’ clock with Ann and John (day 3 of their stay with us).



Thursday 28th July

We moved on towards Chester today.  The Bunbury staircase locks (where one lock passes straight into the next one) were shared with nb ‘Mylor’.  The Anglo Welsh hire fleet, based at Bunbury, still had 10 hire boats on the moorings -  they must be charging too much if they can’t hire them now in peak season!



‘Chance’ in Wharton’s lock with Beeston Castle in the background.


Ann and Oscar enjoying a rest on the front deck.

We’ve moored for the night at Christleton (just before we start our decent into Chester tomorrow) and took a walk into the village this afternoon -  and what a lovely Cheshire village it is.


The ring of bells pub in the centre of the village.



A couple of properties which we liked the look of!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Back Home!

Doug had a busy weekend back at home tidying the garden and cutting hedges, as well as catching up with friends and neighbours,   With an unexpected invite to join Adam and Adrian  (nb Briar Rose) for dinner at their house on Saturday evening, thanks again guys it was great to catch up with you both!  James and Oscar had a busy weekend at Wheaton Aston cleaning and maintaining Chance.

Doug returned to the boat on Monday morning with our good friends Ann and John, who are staying for a week with us.  We set off from Wheaton Aston by 10am and headed north towards Chester.


Ann, John  and Doug enjoying some good weather and a glass of wine!

We met Angela and Graham on  nb Banjo at Gnosal Heath (who we met previously on the River Soar at MGM while we were having some snags sorted).  They have been to York and back since then!  We had a quick chat with them and then onto Goldstone Wharf where we moored for the night.

Tuesday 26th July.

We set off early at 8.30am as it was a beautiful sunny day. We passed through Woodseaves cutting, luckily without meeting any boats coming the other way as it is very narrow.  The 5 locks at Tyrley were a delight as always.


After stopping at Market Drayton, and paying a visit to the new Asda for supplies, we continued on to the Adderley flight of 5 locks and then onto the flight of 15 locks at Audlem.  At the top of Audlem a ‘chance’ meeting with Diane (known as “the Lady with the engine in the front -  long story!) and Dave.  They remembered us from 3 years ago when we met them, again, on the Shroppie! Great to see you both again and hope to meet up for longer next time.


Ann and John walking ahead of “Chance” to prepare yet another lock at Audlem!

We passed the Shroppie fly pub at the bottom of the Audlem flight.


Here’s John with the 23rd lock of the day under his belt! We have moored up just passed Overwater marina and had a lovely BBQ and watched the sun set.



Thunder clouds threaten but don’t come to anything – a lovely warm evening.


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Sunset over the Shroppie.

12 miles and 25 locks!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

School Reunion

After winding (turning around) Chance at Brewood we headed back to Wheaton Aston on Thursday, the weather was good so at least we could get the washing out when we moored up!

On Friday morning, Doug travelled on the train from Penkridge to Swindon to stay with eldest daughter Vicki and partner Tom for the night as he had a school reunion to attend at Hardenhuish School in Chippenham.  Whilst James and Oscar are staying on the boat for the weekend.


The class of ‘84, well some of us anyway!

A great evening was had by all, it was incredible to meet up with people you hadn’t seen for 27 years! so there was certainly plenty to talk about, funny how so many of us were nervous about going back to school though….


Clare, Doug and Julia


Chrissie (one of our very loyal blog readers!) and Rose..


Paul and Doug, (said I would put a picture of you on the blog mate!)

Sadly I left my camera at home so had to make do with these pictures from my phone that were taken.

Today, Doug is travelling back home to West Sussex for the weekend, until Monday when he will return to nb Chance.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Arriving in Brewood

We left Norbury Junction this morning -  refuelling at the boatyard on the way out (now 75.9 per litre).  We had a pleasant cruise on to Wheaton Aston, where we stopped for lunch, mooring next to Lynne and Paul on nb Piston Broke.


Doug chatting to Paul and Lynne.  Great to meet you guys, very impressive new engine!, and hope to see you next week near Chester!

We carried on to Brewood where we have moored with nb Niamh and went to The Bridge Inn for dinner as they had a Wednesday night special (2 steaks and a bottle of wine for £19.50!!), and they were lovely!


Even Oscar had the energy to walk with the boat today!  Just outside Gnosal Heath.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Norbury Junction

We have had a couple of easy days, travelling through Market Drayton, on Monday, where we both took on water and dumped the rubbish.  Low water pressure dictates a fairly long stop here.  Pic shows Chance and Niamh ‘breasted’ up waiting for a water point.



We passed a famous old butty ‘Saturn’ on our way towards Tyrley locks.  These rare moments are quite often a great highlight during our travels.


Niamh and Chance waiting to go up the five Tyrley locks.  The approach to these locks are in a sandstone cutting covered by a tunnel of trees (always very damp!)



A couple of pictures of the Woodseaves Cutting – cut through solid rock and sometimes prone to the occasional landslip!


Last night (Mon) we moored at Goldstone Wharf and went for a meal in the Wharf Tavern after having drinks on the back of nb Niamh.



Today (Tuesday) another cutting – this time Grub Street cutting.  This one is a mile long and, in some places, 80 feet deep – hence this double arched bridge carrying the A519.

Just after lunch we arrived at Norbury Junction and went for a pint in the afternoon at the Junction Inn.  Tonight we shall stay here before travelling onto Brewood tomorrow.