Thursday, 7 April 2016

Locks, wind and a Beluga

Welcome back, I hope you're well.

We left Chester yesterday just as the heavens opened. It was typical April Showers; very heavy rain for a couple of minutes followed by brilliant sunshine but interspersed with hailstones as well. It was also incredibly windy too.

The canal leaves Chester following the old Chester Walls down to the staircase of 3 locks. There's a lot of temporary fencing along this stretch as works are about to start to stabilise the bedrock below the wall as it's started to crumble and fall down onto the towpath.

We were helped down the staircase by the volunteer lock-keeper. There are 3 different keepers who are on duty Tuesday to Thursday, mainly to help the many hire boaters.

Passing under the footbridge from the top lock into the middle one. It's a popular place for gongoozlers.

The gates are huge.  As usual Roger had the pleasure of working the staircase. I always drive through staircase locks as I have a fear of heights and find it difficult looking down into these very deep locks to keep an eye on the boats.

These locks are cut through the red bedrock.

Once we'd got down the staircase we pulled in at Taylors Boatyard to fill up with water and then had to reverse into the lock to use the pump-out machine which is lock-side. This lock is hardly ever used as it goes down onto the River Dee cutting but the pump-out machine was so efficient we would've only held up other boats by 5 minutes or so.

By this time the wind was really strong and we couldn't wait to get to the next set of moorings as cruising was becoming quite unpleasant.

We passed a building with a beautiful unusual curved roof. Turns out it's the local crematorium.

Just  before we moored up this Airbus Beluga flew over. They're really weird looking but designed for carrying the huge Airbus components from their manufacturing plants around the world to the final assembly plant in Toulouse.  This one was about to land at Broughton which is where the wings are made.

This is the front view and shows where the plane gets it's name from - the Beluga Whale

 (photo courtesy of the Airbus website)

That's all for now, take care and come back soon.

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