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Monday, 13 June 2011

Chester to Ellesmere Port

2 Storey Shops

Chester Street

Modern garages aren't like this!

This Georgian building is incorporated into Tesco's car park!

Sign on building within Chester Cathedral complex!

May 29th to June 9th

We enjoyed two periods in Chester, all we can say is you need to visit it, and as the canal passes within a few yards of the city centre & cathedral there is no reason not to do so. Hopefully the photos will give a flavour but what I can say is that whilst the cathedral is interesting, St Johns is wonderful. It used to be the second cathedral in Chester but has been made smaller. It shows wonderfully preserved Normal arches, the stained glass is pretty good, though not as good as in the cathedral, but it also has this tremendous organ.

St John's in Chester
Magnificent Organ
This organ played at Queen Victoria’s coronation when it was installed in Westminster Abbey. It seems the organ in the Abbey was worn out & not good enough & this organ was ready for despatch to Chester, so it was borrowed! Over the road from the Cheshire Taste cafe, & it is well worth a stop for a sarnie.

Brewery Tap Pub
Not too far from there is The Brewery Tap, run by Spitting Feathers Brewery, & after Carol & I had climbed the steps to get in, we both said WOW! Charles 1st stopped here before a big battle, it has been rebuilt a few times, but now is back to being a grand hall. The beer was good too & I gather the chief brewer lives on a narrowboat on the Shroppie. Visit it, it was built in 1620 & deserves a visit.

Cloudy tasty beer
The day before we stopped at what was said to be the pub that has been selling beer longest in Chester, can’t recall the name, & I bought this cloudy beer. It was supposed to be cloudy & was most tasty too. If you have mobility problems Dial House shop mobility close by Tesco give a tremendous service.

Broken Brackets
In between our two trips into Chester we had to be grandparents for our family in Chichester which necessitated a train journey from Chester. It went very well, but we needed somewhere to leave Lily plugged in, so we tootled back to Tarporley marina. It was very good & they had a mechanic who was able to weld back together these two broken alternator brackets. He said he has welded many others from Nanni engines! The power supply was great, except I put my payment card in the wrong slot & all power had gone perhaps 36 hours before we returned, ruining fridge contents but freezer was OK, though I of course was a plonker!

Friday 10th June we set off down the three lock staircase. Incredible building, cut into the rock, just after we passed under Chester’s Bridge of Sighs where prisoners walked across to the church before execution! Note how close the canal was built to the old city walls.
Castle walls on top of lock cutting

Bridge of Sighs. 
Deep staircase lock, note cut rock sides

We stopped by the service station by the locks down to the Dee. I read the blog of  about their trip on the river from the canal but couldn’t understand what they referred to regarding the lock over the weir. Perhaps my photo shows how a slightly greater depth of water over the weir is generated, despite the gate only being about 18” tall.
Weir lock gate

As we set off from the services the weather looked foul, but despite thunder and incredibly dark clouds I only got a bit wet and bright, warm sun was on my back as we headed towards Ellesmere Port. We stopped short just past br 139 to keep us short of the M53 & it was a lovely evening. 2 motorbikes used the tarmac towpath and must have been touching 50mph passing us, I’m taking it up with BW, but I doubt they will be able to do much.

A little restoration project
Sat/Sun 11th/12th and we dropped into the National Waterways Museum, mooring within the museum within one of the top locks, and only charged £4 for mooring. We wondered if we had done the right thing at 2am when a fire alarm sounded for around half an hour with a false alarm. Saturday was a pleasant day and the evening was lovely & sunny, Liverpool looked fabulous across the estuary, especially as the tide came in.

Another restoration project

The museum really deserves a long visit, especially if you want to look at the archive films. Some of the boats are fantastic, but I really doubt that these will ever float again. Interesting too that the original tidal lock gates at the end of the Shroppie are still there despite not having been used for some 130 years.

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