Rising out of Chester in Goole Lane LockTuesday 21st, Wednesday 22nd June
We started our climb out of Chester this morning, first the 3 rise staircase, then a last bit of provisioning in town, and we were on our way.
You may have noticed the term climb, and it is that. The Shropshire Union canal doesn't have a'summit' level as most others do. Instead it climbs all the way from Ellesmere Port on the Manchester Ship Canal to its southern end, the junction with the Staffs & Worcs near Birmingham.
The weather report told us that the day should be not too bad with the possibility of a light shower early on but clearing up around midday. I should have known better! The day started reasonably fine, but by about 11.30 the rain started and didn't cease until about 2.30 when we decided to moor up for the night.
Today, Wednesday, we set off again with the intention of making it Barbridge Junction where the Middlewich Branch 'T's off. Although the weather man was saying it would rain lightly early and then clear away, his stock wasn't high with us so we prepared our wet gear. The first lock we encountered was Beeston Iron Lock which, because the iron sides are warping will only take one boat at a time. The boat ahead of us had waited for us because they didn't know of the problem and the signage could be a bit more visible. They used it and then said they would wait for at the next one. This gave a good pair to complete the rest of the days locks.
Our preparation for rain was right as once again at about 11.30 the rain started and continued almost all of the time 'till we reached the junction. Here the heavens opened, and I wouldn't have been surprised to hear thunder. I had intended to moor up around here, but felt that keeping going was a better option until it abated. After about 15 minuets it slackened off and we found somewhere to tie our ropes for the night.