Monday 10 August 2015

Weaver trip Days 1 to 3 - Toad, Ratty and friends plus a distressed Signet rescued.

Day 1
After fuelling up and pumping out the nasties we left Tattenhall at 10am.  The morning was setting out to become a lovely day and so it did.  The run into Chester was fine with only a few boats encountered.

Purple bushes lining the banks on the way into Chester
 At the locks we broke out the folding bike for the first time and Chris put it to good use cycling between the 5 locks down into Chester.

Just as I rembeber Chris in our school days. Big ahhhh.
 At Chester the moorings looked busy but we managed to pick up the ones outside Waitrose and stayed the night.  After shopping we settled down for the evening enjoying drinks in the cratch soaking up the sunshine.  Several people commented how relaxed we looked and one American gentleman spent an hour asking us about the canals.  Seems he was over for the summer touring all the towns across the UK going home in September.  He was so taken with AmyJo he intends to book a holiday on the canals next year.

In the evening we took ourselves into town for a meal and ended up in La Tasca, Tapas bar.  I had been in before but this time sadly service was so slow but most annoyingly every time I tried to order a desert the waitress came back informing me they had sold out.  After the 4th attempt I told her not to bother.  This rather spoilt the meal and the ambiance of the place.

On our return to AmyJo we happened apon Bloggers from Princes Lucy (clic)  Sadly we did not get their names but had a good chat as they follow our blog.  Good to meet you and sorry for not getting names.  Great to met Mr Jones too, lovely dog.

Day 2
We moved all of 400 yards along the cut towards Cow Lane bridge.   Today was to be an easy day as we had an appointment with Toad and Ratty in the Grosvner Park theatre in the Park in the evening.  We sat and took things easy all day pottering about the boat then made our way to the park.

The seats were sold out and a magnificent performance was laid on for us.  The talent of the actors was to be applauded , having the audience in copious bouts of laughter throughout the play, Wind in the Willows.  Toad in particular gave a very humorous performance giving his character the childhood pranks we know and love, all the broom brooms and toot toots included.

Settling down with a bottle of Prececo before the show starts

Chester looking fantastic in the sunset.

Day 3
After some early morning rain we got under way at just after 9am.  We got to Northgate locks to find them in our favour and another boat ready to ascend.  We swapped places in the middle pound, they continuing up and us going down. Turns out they were headed for the Weaver and the Anderton lift too.  No doubt our paths will cross paths again.  

 I often wonder why people shrink away from Northgate Locks.  Yes the middle pound upper gates look daunting but they are some of the most gentle locks we have used so far.  Even our friend the pigeon from last year was there to accompany us again.

Presiding over events the Northgate pigeon locky watches on.
The temptation to stop in the lower basin was put aside and we continued on towards Ellesmere Port.  If you read the Pearsons you would be given to thinking the stretch from Chester to the port is industrial and run down.  We were pleasantly surprised to find this leg quite peaceful and well kept.  The tow path and bank sides well maintained.  Only one boat passed us all the way and so we had the cut to ourselves most of the time.

Well maintained tow path and clean waters make this stretch quite delightful.
 A mile short of the port the sky darkened and the heavens opened up.  Thinking we were in for a long shower we kitted up but no sooner had we donned wet gear the rain stopped, the sun came out and temperatures soured into the 20s making it a pleasant run into the museum.

Here we were greeted by a cheerful volocky who helps us down the locks and advised how to enter the low basin in the refreshing wind.  I admit to being most grateful for his spot on advise.

We had a slight incident descending the locks into the lower basin.  A young signet had got separated from its mother and was trapped in the middle chamber with no room for it if I moved into said chamber.  Poor thing was even more distressed when the lock gates opened and it was confronted with AmyJo's bow.  Both the volocky and I were concerned it would crushed if AmyJo entered the pound.  
Fortunately the said pound between the lock and next one was two feet wider so after discussing a way forward with the volocky so as not to harm the signet I ever so slowly nudged AmyJo forward with the volocky gently waving his arms  we managed to usher the signet down AmyJo's flanks and into the lock we had just left. 

By now the poor mite was beside itself calling for its mum all the while.  I felt awful but there was simply nothing I could do but just glide AmyJo ever so gently past it all the while with a growing crowd of gongoozlers watching on.  I was so relieved I did it no harm after it passed.  I do so hate seeing animals in distress, really chokes me up.

Descending the locks at the museum.  Chris keeping a close watch in the signet as the level dropped.
 After seeing the Signet was unharmed we left the lower lock and have settled on the mooring island next to the Holiday Inn hotel. We took our selves off to reception to pay our overnight mooring fee and then have a look round.  To our huge relief we found our lost Signet had been reunited with its family and looked none the worse for its ordeal.

Shad and behind, Gifford on their moorings

The forge workshop

New tapestry in memory of Narrow boat Friendship exhibited alongside

Basking in sunshine does not give a hint of the fresh breeze at the time.

Shad and Gifford
 Finally we just had to go and have a peek at tomorrow's route, the Shipping Canal.  Looks daunting but the forecast tomorrow looks even better than today's.  All being well we'll lock out at 10 am in the morning.

Looking towards Stanlow refinery and the way we'll be heading

Looking the other way towards Eastham and the exit onto the canal in the foreground

The correct lock we'll be descending onto the shipping canal not the double lock

Lock is situated to right of picture just beyond the flags and entrance to the Shipping canal dead ahead.


Nb oakapple said...

We are heading to the weaver , hoping to go down on the lift tomorrow , hope to see you on the river

nb AmyJo said...

hi Sharon
We'll look out for you if you could give us your boat name.

nb Bonjour said...

Looking forward to reading about your adventure! Enjoy the Weaver. When are you expecting to be going back down the Middlewich Branch? We are going that way later this month on our way to Llangollen.
Best wishes
Debby and Dave