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Monday, 29 July 2013

Avoiding the showers.

There was rain again in the night but we have been fortuitous today as we have missed all but a few drops. Our first hurdle was the two lock stair case b y the Anglo Welsh Hire Base at Bunbury. At the top lock is a very long stable block that was for the horses of the fly boats from Ellesmere Port to Birmingham that used to cover the 80 miles in 24 hours! There were plenty of boats waiting at the Anglowelsh Base so not too busy just at the moment.

Stables at Bunbury Lock.

Bottom of the Staircase lock at Bunbury.

Tilstone Lock came next and the number of boats also increased. There was a nice little round building by the lock that were for the lengthsmen who used to look after the canal to keep their tools and equipment.

Round House store near Tilstone Lock

Helen was at the helm as we approached the next lock, Beeston Stone Lock and as nobody was around she contiued on and did the lock all on here own. Her first, and a wide lock at that. She had broken her duck and so went to enter the Beeston Iron Lock. How ever we had to wait for two boats to come and then by the time that happened there were crowds of people about but still she did it. Two boats came up and then we entered. There was a warning saying that the lock was not suitable for two wider boats so the next one wouldn't come down. I think the problem is really for older boats that were built by eye and so dimensions were not standard. the lock is a riveted cast iron lock, built by Tomas Telford as the ground here was really loose sand so stone/brick locks collapsed. The iron lock worked well and is similar to the Llangollen aqueducts.

Beeston Iron Lock.

Helen went on to do the Wharton's Lock too so I got my chance to do some locks. Helen has managed these wide locks, with an audience and in a bit of a wind so will have no trouble with the narrow locks further on in out journey.

All I can do is stand and watch as Helen brings the boat in with great skill.

We stopped not far after Wharton's Lock and this gave us a view of Beeston castle on it's rocky tour. It is on the Cheshire Sandstone ridge laid down in the triassic age. The glacial period eroded a lot but when the ice melted the whole area was covered with soft boulder clay, almost up to the height of the crag. This soft clay has been eroded again and left the crag prominent, along with other outlayers in the area.

The view from our boat, Beeston Castle.

I washed the port side and then polished it whilst Helen was making bread using the spelt flour that we bought at Bunbury Mill yesterday. Spelt flour is apparently made from an older type grain that is smaller and harder than modern wheat. It was very tasty. We had a quick visit to the Shady Oak pub just up the tow path before getting out tea.


  1. Well done Helen on doing the "driving" into the locks. I really can't imagine steering something so long in a straight line never mind round other boats and into locks!

    Ann x

  2. Hi Ann, she has watched it done so often she was a natural. She just needed to get on and do it. Now there will be no stopping here and I am looking forward to equally sharing the driving and lock wheeling. Hope the home search is going well. Cheers for now, Tony and Helen.