Last night was mainly fine and moon light but we did have a couple of showers of rain early this morning, it also turned quite cool almost dropping to freezing at one point
Several boats on the move this morning so we waited till a lull before setting off at 1030 am. even then there was a boat in sight behind us who I am sure felt we nipped out in front of him. At Minshull Lock we caught up with the boat ahead, they had just entered the lock as we arrived and as we entered the boat following pulled in. It was a bit more congested at Cholmondeston lock with a boat turning round in the marina as well, but we were son on our way again heading to Barbridge Junction. This is the limit of navigation for boats travelling on a Bridgewater canal licence, they can also go up the Trent and Mersey as far as Harecastle Tunnel. Likewise boats with a CRT licence can travel for 7 days on the Bridgewater canal.
Through the junction we turned right towards Chester, we are now on a waterway with broad locks, so wide beam boats could travel up as far as Nantwich. The first broad lock we came to is actually a staircase of two and we arrived just as 2 boats had entered the bottom chamber and drawn the middle paddles a few seconds earlier and we could have been going down as they came up. There are some fin buildings by the lock which were being used for boat fitting last time we were this way. I don’t know if that is still the case. The cill in the bottom chamber could do with some TLC and is well knocked about. This is what it should look like, a photo taken a lock further down. Also staircase locks have to be worked in a special sequence so as not to flood them, when you enter the top one going town the second has to be empty and the water from the top one fills it. If its already full due to a boat coming up if you don’t empty it you can overflow it onto the towpath, to help prevent this there are large overflow slots in the side of the lock. Following this we did a couple more locks before mooring for the night above Beeston Iron lock, as we arrived there were deer on the hills above but by the time I had the camera out they were gone. In case you are wondering why its called Beeston Iron Lock its because the chamber is actually a large iron trough not brick or stone like many other locks.