Saturday, 9 January 2016

More maintenance and a disappointment

Pip & Mick (nb Lillyanne) left a comment on Wednesday’s post about the river lock.  Apparently in 2004 NB Ernest (The Tuesday Night Club) made the passage from the canal down onto the River Dee and then returned.  The blog post about the trip can be found here.  Then Steve & Chris (nb Amy-Jo) left a comment on yesterday’s post advising it’s possible to see the remains of Chester Harbour below the city walls beside the racecourse.  Apparently the racecouse is the site of the former harbour.  I’ll have to go for a walk and see if I can find the remains.

Jan and I went to the retail park this morning.  Jan was after food  You can guess who eats It    whilst I needed to visit Maplin for a replacement laptop power plug.  The plug on the 12V power brick had broken.  It’s my fault as my soldering wasn’t very good.  A combination of shaky hands and poor eyesight.  Fortunately Maplin had a replacement which I managed to fit before lunch.  It was a simple task made more difficult due to the above personal impediments.  The phone rang after lunch just as I was preparing to walk to Halfords.  It was Go Outdoors phoning to inform us the two pair of shoes I ordered at the store yesterday had arrived.  That was very quick and an even quicker decision was made to defer the walk to Halfords and collect the shoes instead.

The is now my fourth walk to Go Outdoors and the route is becoming very familiar.  During the walk I spent more time looking at the junction of the canal and river.  It meant scaling a fence to get a better look at the exit to the river lock.


In the above photo you can see the stop boards acroos the lower mouth of the lock which form a weir.  I hadn’t realised this part of the river was tidal and if you’ve read the blog post from nb Ernest you may have noted they required a high tide to pass over the stop boards.  The junction is now starting to look rather overgrown and I suspect no boat has come this way in quite some time.


Entrance to the canal in the foreground with the river behind

I managed to find a map of the canal and connection to the River Dee as it would have appeared around 1809.


We are currently moored where the top arrow is and the bottom arrow points to the Water Tower with the city walls shown in brown. Most of the large canal basin adjacent to the river has now been filled in and is covered in apartments.

The connection of the canal to the river in 1770 enabled an exchange of seaborne and inland waterway cargo to occur here.   At this time the entire area around the Water Tower was a harbour.  There is an information board near the river lock which mentions the lock is rarely used these days because of structural issues and the problem crossing the upstream weir across the River Dee.  Chester Council have commissioned a feasiblity study to restore the canal river lock and build a lock through the existing weir on the River Dee.  However my guess is that in the current financial climate the likelihood of that occurring in the near future is very remote.

Armed with my new knowledge about Chester Harbour and the upstream weir I stopped at the railway bridge to take a couple of photos on today’s walk.  Unfortunately they were all taken using the phone camera.  20160108_140057

This is the top of the Water Tower.  You may recall I had previously written the tops of some of the towers were looking either rebuilt or rather dilapidated.  This is the latter.


A view across Chester Racecourse which would have been the harbour.  In the middle of the photo on the skyline is a church steeple.  Halfway from it to the left edge of the photo is Chester Castle.  In the middle of the photo on the skyline is Grosvenor Bridge which has a single stone arch span across the river.  When it was opened in 1832 it was the longest single span stone arched bridge in the world. The next upstream bridge is Old Dee BridgeThis bridge dates from 1387 and replaces an earlier Roman bridge at the same point.  The weir across the Dee is on the upstream side of the bridge.

I arrived at Go Outdoors only to discover there was only one pair of shoes awaiting collection.  The shoes sent for Jan were the wrong size and had been returned.  It looks like I’ll be making a 5th trip!  The walk back provided to be interesting.  I noticed a rainbow which is usually an unwanted sign if you’re out walking.


Yes, I looked behind and there were large black clouds over Wales heading In my direction.  Then it started to rain and some of the rain was solid. Fortunately it was only a passing 20 minute shower and the sun eventually returned, albeit very low in the sky.  I was rather glad I was walking away from the sun rather than into it.

20160108_153332 Looks like we will be here a few more days waiting for those elusive shoes to arrive!

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