Friday 6 July 2018: Nantwich (1 mile, 0 locks)
We have had a few days in Cardiff, supporting our daughter Jo, who was being interviewed for a Consultant Anaesthetist job. Sadly, she didn't get it, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger! She was told that her interview was very good by one panellist, so as biased parents we figure they were frightened by her brilliance! She has great plans for the next year, so go for it, Joanna!
We had a difficult four hour journey back to Annie at Nantwich, so filled up with food and drink at Morrisons, before moving Annie towards the car, loading up at the aqueduct, and moving just out of town for a sunny evening watching Belgium beat Brazil in the World Cup: What a game!
Saturday 7 July 2018: Nantwich to Bunbury Iron Lock (7 miles, 4 locks)
John reversed to the nearby winding hold and winded, before idling past all the moored boats, over Nantwich Aqueduct, past Nantwich Marina and Nantwich & Border Counties Yachting Club through sunburnt countryside to Barbridge Junction. Lambs were quenching their thirst in the canal. There seemed to be a few dodgy steerers around this morning: four elderly ladies sharing the tiller, were keeping to the left, and John had to stop and reverse for them; two boats came out 30 yards in front of us, causing more manoeuvring. One let us past, eventually, not that we were in a hurry. At Bunbury double staircase Locks, the two volunteers had us go down with another boat and cross over with a third, which we have never done before!As the chambers levelled, we were shuffled!: One boat moved forward into the bottom lock (beside the boat coming up), we moved sideways to take their place, while the third coming up moved forward into Annie's old position. Interesting!
We moved gently to Tilstone Lock and Beeston Stone Lock, taking our time in the strong sun. As we couldn't get a tv signal for the England v Sweden soccer match, we moved on to just above Beeston Iron Lock, where Liana met a particularly idle young man: He and his young lady sat beside their boat moored on the lower lock landing, and didn't help with the boat going down ahead of us. When Liana started to close the bottom gates before filling it, he shouted that they were coming up, and could she shut the gates once he was in, as he was single handed! Odd, as his lady was present. When Liana did, he stayed on his boat and asked her to do the lock for them! Liana returned to Annie, in disgust, to find I had got a tv signal, so we reversed off the lock moorings, moored and sorted the tv for the England v Sweden World Cup match. When the young man and his companion left the lock, they left the top gates open, so John pointed out the error of his ways to the young man, politely. Luckily, there are not too many boaters like that.
What a great England performance! England 2 Sweden 0, a well deserved victory :)
We decided to chill and watch the Russia v Croatia match, too. This World Cup has been really good.
Sunday 8 July: Bunbury to Christleton near Chester (8 miles, 2 locks)
Up in the relative cool of the morning, we shared Bunbury iron lock, to see if we could fit: Although it recommends one boat at a time, we fitted with inches to spare. There are horizontal projections and the lock probably narrows as you go down, but we were ok. Liana let the water out slowly, just in case! On the left you pass a huge artificial hill, once a World War II secret fuel store. Now, small concrete doorways hint at the complex below. One more lock together, then miles of flat countryside to the outskirts of Chester. Beeston castle stands proudly on a high hill as you pass. Two miles of moored boats alongside a farmer's fields seemed excessive to us: Maybe there should be a maximum length before people have to build a marina so boats are moored offline? Also, there is clearly little regulation of boats moored in this way: Liana counted 52 out of 104 boats not displaying current CRT licenses, which must cost CRT tens of thousands of pounds lost. At our boat club, we all have to have current licenses, bought through the club, which gets 5% of the fee. CRT maybe should extend this, rather than trying to remove it, as 95% is much better than 50%, making the farmer take some responsibility in return for the income!
We moored by the Cheshire Cat pub in Christleton, a mile or two before Chester, as advised by local boaters, and enjoyed a Sunday roast.
We decided to collect the car from Nantwich, so caught the hourly 84 bus (from Chester to Nantwich and Crewe) at Littleton, the next village to Christleton, on the A51 road. The nearly 2 mile walk probably did us good!