Saturday, February 13, 2010

Canal Walk: Chester

Today we took the train from Liverpool to Chester. 100 years (and two days) ago LTC Rolt was born in Chester so a trip to Chester seemed fitting. Added to that was the chance to have a nice lunch and see a few of the city's public houses. 


From the station its a short walk to the canal, straight ahead up City Road. We crossed the bridge over the canal and then went down to the towpath and underneath the bridge. We walked towards the city centre. Under Frodsham Street (where the Chinese dragons were getting ready for their firecrackers) and up to the usual moorings of Albatross when she is in town. 


Here I identified the remains of the bridge which once took the towpath over the arm belonging to Shropshire Union Railway and Canal Company. 


Something else we noted was the large sign telling us the towpath was closed! We carried on hoping that whatever work was being down on the towpath was on hold for the weekend. Round the corner, under the city walls, it became clear what the work was. All the trees and saplings along the rock cutting up to the city walls had been cut down. Rather than spoiling this picturesque section of canal it has opened it up, exposing the rock cutting and city walls above. 


Under the Bridge of Sighs and on to the staircase locks. There was a boat in the locks, crewed by three lads. They were in the 2nd chamber from the top, locking up. Or rather they were wondering why they were not locking up. The top chamber was empty and they were going nowhere. I suggested they open the top paddles if they wanted to get anywhere soon but I think they were about to figure it out for themselves. 


Past the locks and under the railway and road to the basin by the Dee Branch. We walked up to the iron bridge which has the plaque to LTC Rolt on it. Its an interesting spot with its dry dock, metal bridge and boatyard with all the boats that go with it. There are a couple of Normans in amongst the sorry looking boats there. 
We followed the Dee Branch as far as we could. There was a family of swans in by the lock and a cat on the lift bridge. 






We went up to the city walls and walked back the way we came but along the top of the city walls looking down. As we came to the Bridge of Sighs the boat from the lock was passing below. Following the walls round to the river we went to the Bear and Billet pub for a massive lunch which kept us full for the rest of the day. 



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