As I write this we are sitting on the boat at Aston Marina, for a few days visit before the madness of the run up to Christmas etc.
We left Stoak and continued down the Shropshire Union. We saw the Air Beluga overhead on the way to and from Hawarden airport. The shuttle around the European factories collecting the parts to put together at Toulouse. In the UK we make the wings and undercarriage. There are 5 of them going round. The wings for the new Airbus A380 are too big for this plane and a new type, an A340 will be seen in the skies in 2019. (Unless BREXIT gets in the way that is).
We stopped in Chester for a few days and actually visited a few pubs, but for some reason I made no notes about them. Most of the 'black and white' buildings are actually not original but they do make a nice setting for a shopping street scene. Chester is a very nice place for a stop over but the 'high street' is suffering like most places.
We had an extra half day in Chester as the Queen and Meghan were visiting the city to re-open the theatre. There were plenty of folk wanting to see them and we got a spot where we could just about glimpse a part of them, before we repaired to the boat and set off up the staircase locks and out of the city
It really looks like this lock is allowing access into the estate of Broughton Road Water works, that were built between 1851 and 1853. The buildings are Listed and have undergone a £12mil. refurbishment. Not bad for a place that started in Roman Times.
We left the boat in Tattenhall Marina for a week before resuming our trip south. Here we are passing Beeston Castle that has a great view of the countryside
Beeston and Tarporley is an interesting place and after getting fuel from Chas. Harden's we had a walk around. These deer are farmed and look good on the hill. Underneath are the old oil storage tanks from the War.
Our objective was to 'do' the Llangollen Canal before the height of the season and were pleased to see no queue at the foot of Hurleston Locks that take you up from the 'Shropie' unto the Llangollen.
We moored up near Marbury and walked into the village to visit the Swan there, and have a look round the village. The Swan has been there since the 1700's but by 2106 was very run down and needed a lot of money spending on it. When it reopened in 2018 it is a lovely pub with plenty of different spaces, nothing too precious and all very comfortable. Obviously to make their money they have to attract people from far and wide and the 'Build it and they will come' seems to have worked, with a steady stream of cars pulling up. The food looked nice and there were 5 hand pulls to choose from.
Slater's Ales was set up in 1995 at the back of the George Hotel in Eccleshall by a husband and wife team. It was then called Eccleshall Brewery. By 2004 they had grown their trade so much that they had outgrown the original premises. They started a brand new brewery in Stafford using their experience to set it up how they wanted. They changed their name to Slater's Ales at the same time. They have continued to grown and have doubled their staff since the move.
I tried a blonde beer at 4% called Top Totty. It was a good choice on such a warm day as the pint had a lovely mouth, nice and thick, a good head and smelt fruity and flowery and that is just how it tasted. It slipped down a treat. It was £3-65 which is high end for us, especially so when we found out it was 'happy hour' too.
The brewery was set up by a young lad straight out of University with a little experimental kit. It the time the american revolution of keg beer was running and he was inspired by it. He wanted a big kit to be able to experiment and from around 2011 he managed to set himself up. He is from the village of Mobberley and was used to drinking cask beers but was inspired by the new beers. They are still expanding and have opened two of their own bars, one is Knutsford and one in Stockport.
I tried the Whirly Bird at 4% and a pale bitter. It was nice and fruity with a nice after taste of bitter. £3-50 at happy hour prices.
The surroundings were so pleasant and the evening was so wonderful it was hard to drag ourselves away, so we didn't and I had another from the Warrington brewery Coach House. They were set up in 1991, the same year that the large Greenall's Brewery closed. Coach House can say they are the largest brewery in Cheshire.
I had another lighter beer the blonde at 4.1%. It was nice an fruity and the hint of grapefruit was definitely there. A great beer to finish on. We will certainly head back next time we pass, and stop for a bite to eat as a special treat. Lovely price but a little expensive, but well worth the walk up from the canal. Take care on the road back to the lock.