Sunday, 10 May 2015

We have made it as far as Beeston.

After watching the snooker and then enduring two days of howling winds and driving rain we eventually got away on Thursday heading north towards Chester.

We were soon passing the Middlewich Branch at Barbridge Junction and after a stop at Calveley for water and a pump out we fetched up at Bunbury locks.

The most southerly of the wide locks of the old Chester Canal, a sharp contrast with the narrow locks of the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal.

The locks here are a two chamber staircase and have an impressive row of stables alongside the upper chamber.

Spotted this on one of the stones in the top chamber. It's a mason's mark, it would have been put there by the mason who shaped the stone so he would be credited with the payment due, it was all piece work in those days.

At Tillstone Lock is the first of the charming little circular lengthsman's huts. Note the way the domed roof is gleaming. Yes, normal service had been resumed and it was chucking it down so we donned full foul weather gear and plodded on.

Just to give an idea of the size of these locks.

The second of the two locks at Beeston is unique in that it is made of cast iron plates. originally there was a two chamber staircase here but in November 1787, owing to an unstable sub-strata it collapsed, forcing the closure of the canal. It was eventually rebuilt as two separate locks but once again the quicksand on which the lower lock was built proved it's nemesis and in

it was rebuilt in iron. It has stood up fairly well over the intervening years but now even the iron has bent to the forces of nature and the chamber has become distorted and although it is technically two boats wide C&RT recommend that only one boat at a time uses it.

We stopped on the moorings just above Wharton's Lock,

in the shadow of Beeston Castle, set on its rocky crag, towering over the Cheshire plain. There are traces of an iron age fort up there so it has been recognised as a defensive position for a year or two.
Beautiful moorings here, no roads near and just the occasional whoosh of a train on the nearby line. The only drawback is a lack of mobile signal, it has taken me the best part of two hours to cobble this post together. I hope you appreciate the effort I've put in.
Especially as today is our forty sixth wedding anniversary, you have to hand it to Jill, the girl's got stamina.
Off towards Chester tomorrow.

Watch this space.......


Halfie said...

Belated congratulations from us.

Graham and Jill Findlay said...

Thank you.