It took a little longer than planned to do yesterday’s engine and gearbox service. I spilled the old gearbox oil getting the container out from under the engine, so had to clean all the area underneath. It needed it, really, it’s just messy job I’d been putting off.
So this morning we were away with just over half a mile to our first lock.
After two beautiful days we’re back to normal, overcast, breezy and cool. But at least it’s not raining…
Approaching Beeston Stone Lock.
We were joined by a hire boat in this one, then I told them to go ahead as they were going much further than us today. The second of the Beeston locks is Beeston Iron Lock, it’s distorted and not recommended for two boats side by side.
The Iron Lock was built to solve a problem with subsidence. The original stone chamber required regular maintenance to prevent leaks, so the engineer Thomas Telford was brought in and had this iron tank constructed. Unfortunately it too has succumbed a little to the unstable nature of the ground, hence the advice.
Apparently it causes problems to boaters through the season, not least because of the bottleneck single boat operation on a broad canal causes. I came across this while I was looking for more information…
Below the lock is Chas Hardern’s hire base and boatyard.
Although not new, the boats here look tidy and well presented.
The two Beeston Locks are only a quarter mile apart, there’s a longer pound of around mile to Wharton’s Lock. From here there’s a fine view of Beeston Crag, with just a glimpse of the remains of the 13th century Beeston Castle sat on top.
Beeston Crag is the highest point on the sandstone ridge that runs south to north across the Cheshire Plain.
The Peckforton Hills is the next prominence on the ridge to the south, also capped by a fortification but this of a much more recent history. John Tollemarche acquired the estate, including Beeston Crag, in the 19th century, and had the Gothic mansion called Peckforton Castle constructed.
Beeston Castle to the left, Peckforton Castle just visible over the ridge to the right.
We’re on the long 12 mile pound now to Christleton, where the canal drops sharply down through Chester to the Dee.
The weather started to improve a little after lunch, some sunny spells but that wind was still brisk…
I started to look for a suitable spot for the night, and a pleasant stretch, just beyond the River Gowy Aqueduct, beckoned.
A little shallow, but just deep enough.
Tomorrow we’ll head to Rowton Moor, aiming to moor at the Cheshire Cat. We should be meeting Val and John there for lunch on Wednesday.
Locks 3, miles 3½