After leaving the marina, I descended the four locks at Hurleston and turned left (north), heading for the historic and beautiful city of Chester. The encircling Roman sandstone wall was begun around 100 CE and took about a century to complete. It’s nearly 3 km long, and (nearly) completely surrounds the city centre. It’s well worth the walk around it… I’ve previously highlighted it in a blog post, although that time I didn’t take the boat through.

The canal was cut alongside a portion of the wall in the late 18th century, in places having been cut through solid rock with hand tools…

The pick marks can still be seen in the rock

Heading north out of Chester, the canal wound through some lovely countryside. As I approached a likely spot to moor for the night, I said hello to another boater already tied up. He looked at me and said “Hi Doug!”. Wow. Turns out we had done a lock together about 3 years ago, and he remembered me! His boat had subsequently broken down and if we hadn’t stopped to chat he’d have been in the middle of nowhere but the delay put him right at a marina where it got fixed…so he had a reason to remember the encounter!

Great to see Steve and Pam again…

At the end of this stretch of canal is the town of Ellesmere Port, home of the National Waterways Museum. I had pre-booked a mooring in the basin of the museum, hoping to get a good look at the facility. I wasn’t disappointed! It’s a very well presented museum, with lots of displays and live exhibits. I particularly enjoyed the machine room where the volunteers keep the old engines alive.

It really is a good museum but the mooring system leaves a bit to be desired. Nothing to tie to (rings or Armco), no monitoring (nobody leaves on time), no signage whatsoever (not clear what spot has been booked). It was a quiet, safe location however, which makes up for small frustrations.

The museum had several ‘cottages’ set up as they might have been when the port workers were housed here:

I’ll be heading back southward to Nantwich for a visit with friends and to do some restocking. Hopefully the weather will stabilize soon so I can also get some painting done!

2 Replies to “North to Chester and The National Waterways Museum”

  1. Nice, Doug! The museum was closed when we were there two years ago. We did spend a couple of nights right in the downtown of Chester (Asda store steps away), but didn’t venture north on the canal as it was too overgrown. However, we did cycle the path for a few miles and returned past the zoo. Yes, Chester is a real gem. Any thoughts on going to the Anderton Boat Lift?

    1. I moored behind the zoo both directions. Yes, it’s fairly weedy North of Chester, I was dodging large clumps all the way but didn’t have to go into the weed hatch once. I’m heading to the boat lift soon, just getting some laundry, shopping, and visiting done.

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