Beeston Stone Lock
Last night's mooring was just below Beeston Stone Lock, shown above. One of the features of the old Chester Canal, as this section of the Shropshire Union was originally known, is the survival of many of the old lock cottages such as this splendid example at Beeston.
Our destination for the day was Chester, but first we had to stop at Christleton for water, using the most inconvenient water point I have yet come across. Almost under a bridge, with nothing to tie up to except your own mooring pins!
Christleton Water Point
The approach to Chester by canal is rather more pleasant than that to many towns. Even the more "inner-city" areas are quite pleasant with the section through Hoole being dominated by this iconic water tower, seen here as Starcross was waiting to enter Hoole Lock.
The water tower at Hoole
It was at Hoole Lock that I lost a windlass. I'd got off the boat to open a gate for an uphill boat and had taken a windlass with me "just in case". Returning to the boat I placed it on the cabin roof before untying the centre line and jumping back on. I remember thinking "that's not a very sensible place to leave a windlass" and so it proved. As Starcross entered the lock I jumped off, with the intention of taking the centre line to a bollard (these are broad locks) as I took the rope it coiled itself underneath the windlass and as I stepped off the windlass was flicked very neatly up into the air - and down, gracefully, into the full lock! We are now down to three!
The city centre visitor moorings were empty, although the crew of the boat we'd just met warned us that TV reception there was poor. As if we cared - I don't need to go to Chester to watch television - I can do that at home! We carried on down the three-rise Northgate staircase to Tower Wharf and tied up on the visitor moorings there instead.
Starcross at Tower Wharf, as seen from the city walls
They proved to be very pleasant moorings for a couple of nights although we did have one anxious moment after bedtime when a group of youths had gathered on a seat near the boat and seemed to be drunkenly discussing the possibility of untying our ropes! However after a while they thought better of it and wandered away with nothing more than a lot of shouting and hollering, leaving us in peace for the rest of the night.