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!