I was off on my morning run soon after 7 o’clock this morning. It was chilly but dry, and thankfully that annoying wind hadn’t picked up by then. A 9 mile fast run saw me back, breakfasted and dog walked ready to get underway before 10.
Note, no shower. We ran out of water last night! Well, not quite. We had enough for brews this morning and basic ablutions. I knew we were getting low…
Off we go, the wind has started to rise again now.
Two and a half miles to cruise to the services at the top of Hurleston Locks before I could shower and have a cup of coffee!
Ah, refreshment in sight.
I had the unusual luxury of being able to leave the shower running while a lathered up. It’s a waste of water normally but as we were filling at the same time… Followed by a fine strong mug of black coffee. All’s right with the world again.
Water filled, loos and rubbish emptied, we set off down Hurleston Locks.
Looking down the flight on a beautiful, clear morning.
The rising ground on the horizon is, I think, the fells around Shining Tor on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border.
Spring daffodils nodding in the wind
Out at the bottom, Mags heads around the corner to pick me up.
The Chester Canal, the earliest of the waterways around here, was built to take Dee barges and is therefore wide and moderately deep. The bridge arches, like the locks, are 15 feet wide.
A right turn at Barbridge Junction…
…and under Bridge 1 on the Middlewich Branch
The Middlewich Branch was completed in 1833, having taken 60-odd years since it was first approved by Act of Parliament. It was intended to be a part of the Chester Canal, the broad-beam waterway from the Dee at Chester down to the salt town of Nantwich. But it wasn’t cut until construction of the Birmingham & Liverpool Junction Canal was started in 1825. It links the early Trent and Mersey Canal with the later and more efficient route to Birmingham and the south.
This would inevitably have had a negative impact on the T&M company’s income through tolls, so they insisted on building and controlling the first 50 yards at the Middlewich end. This allowed them to charge outrageous tolls for the short length up to Wardle Lock in compensation for loss of trade.
The 10 mile Branch cost £139,000 to complete, and passes through rural Cheshire countryside, crossing over the River Weaver near the village of Church Minshull.
Cheshire farmland looks much the same as Shropshire farmland…
We moored above Cholmondeston Lock, just about a mile towards Middlewich. Tomorrow we’ll stay put, then drop down the lock to Venetian Marina on Thursday.
Thanks KevinToo, for your donation to my fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support. You’ve taken me up to £237!
I’m sure we can better though, eh, folks?
Locks 4, miles 4¾