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Tour 2004

Index

12 - Farndon to Ellesmere Port, River Dee, Tidal River Dee, Dee Locks Branch and Shropshire Union Canal.

Tuesday 6th April 2004

Rather a lay in, during intermittent rain and a fry up before shoving off at 12:50. We had to go upstream to safely wind, away from the water surging through Farndon Bridge. Just upstream from Farndon Bridge is the old wharf and quarry, the normal limit of past commercial traffic. Barges were built at Bangor-On-Dee, but these were probably only sent down during high water levels. 
Farndon by-pass bridge in the limit for most people, the flow though it putting most off. We wavered through this, using a fair amount of power, a large tree trunk sticking out from the inside of the bend under this modern deck bridge. Beyond the river straightens out and the flow rate diminishes. There are also not many trees, so a messed up wind would at least mean you did not end up in the trees. Ed got Auriga up to around this point, but did manage a few more of the now serious meanders in Ibex. 
Neil took over the helm and found a quiet flow "hole" in the right hand bank, with the stern level with this and a bit of reverse, the bow shot round and we were off back downstream. (13:15) The large tree trunk at Farndon by-pass bridge was never seen again and the passage through the flume of Farndon old bridge requiring a lot of power to take us through the central arch, the current wanting to take us through the arch to the left of this. 
Because the tidal ebb effect had worn off by this time in the day the expected hair raising descent through the chalets meanders did not happen and the passage was rather tame. Just down stream of the Iron Bridge a strange tidal effect was noted, 5 large amplitude waves hit us travelling upstream, the shunt of the flood tide over the weir. 
That night we really wanted to be moored to a floating pontoon seeing as the tide over the weir would be the one before the highest of the year, that we would be using travelling back over the weir the next day. The only opportunity above the town centre was the "Red House" pub, high on the north bank as you come into Chester. The pontoon was free, but was only 30ft long and had an outboard sticking out on the upstream side, with Ed steering we gently nosed onto the pontoon and eventually using the bow rope, tyre fenders and centre rope through the side fender eye we were safely moored up (15:50). 
The pub was open, but only a barmaid present, she thought it was OK to moor and tried to contact the landlord. Upon his arrival we were made very welcome, no food normally in the evening, but this was again laid on as he was proud to have another "barge" on his pontoon. Also yet more on form Timmy Taylor's Landlord. Food was booked for 19:15 as the landlord was cooking it himself before the Arsenal / Chelsea match. That evening we endured the many enquires about "barging" Rather excellent spread with salad,  bread and butter chucked in.

Wednesday 7th April 2004

We ambled down to the "high" jetty mooring just above Chester weir (10:20 - 10:45), with the idea that once we were getting our feet wet, it was time to go..............or if not to start panicking!!! Yet more passers by heard commenting "The last time we saw one of those it was stuck on the weir!" David Kitchin and Steve Parish arrived in plenty of time and the BW Chester bods were phoned to say we were in place. They said the Lady Edwina Grosvenor trip boat was in the bottom chamber ready to go. 
David Jones readied the Watergate by rowing boat, in case they needed it seeing as the trip boat was 3ft draught. Come 12:45 the tide (9.9M Liverpool, highest of this year, due 14:29) came stonking in over the weir, no messing about this time and was soon flowing up river and the jetty getting quickly near the water level. David Jones then arrived through the bridge in the beautiful Edwina trip boat. After spinning round and watching were we were (water already completely covering the jetty) with bins, the trip boat surged round and trundled off up river as though the weir was not there. 
We waited a bit then gently took off (13:15), with at least another hour of flood to come. The surge through the bridge was no problem, using a fair bit of power to ensure a clean passage. Amazingly we startled a tidal based small GRP cruiser that was coming upstream wrong side and NOT expecting to see a blessed "slug". The BW bods were all waiting at the Dee Locks tidal lock, by now not a lot of wall showing. Ed did a slow and controlled entrance (13:40). 
There was then a bit of excitement as we all quickly worked the locks and just managed to get under the low road bridge, before the slowing off Springs flood tide shut us out the wrong side. After picking up a bit of crud in the heavily silted Dee Locks we were out at 14:10. David then departed, but Ed and Steve decided to stay on as we decided to make the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port that night. 
Uneventful trip to Ellesmere Port, we did not mess about with museum tickets until the next day, but went straight down the narrow locks to get the last decent mooring on the island by the Holiday Inn. We were moored in the shadow of the about to be rescued "Daniel Adamson" steam tug and was soon joined by Mike Carter's Bridgewater Duker Barge Parfield. 
That night we braved Ellesmere Port. The Goa Indian takeaway was passed and we headed down to downtown Ellesmere Port, somewhat heavily boarded and shuttered up, Peter remarked resembling downtown Falluja.................but there shinning out like a beacon was the welcoming sight of the Thomas Telford Wetherspoon's................ALL beer at 1.25 quid a pint and the as usual, well prepared pub grub.


Farndon Bridge. River Dee.


The view downstream from Farndon Bridge. River Dee.


Our mooring at Farndon. River Dee.


Our limit of navigation above Farndon By-Pass Bridge. River Dee.


We have just winded and are heading back downstream. River Dee.


Neil seems somewhat relieved. River Dee.


Approaching Farndon By-Pass Bridge. River Dee.


Farndon By-Pass Bridge. River Dee.


The remains of Holt Castle. River Dee.


Farndon. River Dee.


The remains of Farndon Wharf. River Dee.


Farndon Bridge. River Dee.


The sandstone cliffs at Farndon. River Dee.


Farndon Bridge. River Dee.


 River Dee.


The River Alyn enters here. Almere. River Dee.


"I can't remember going that fast on the way up!" Almere. River Dee.


Iron Bridge. Aldford. River Dee.


Eaton Hall. River Dee.


Our mooring at The Red House pub in Boughton, Chester. River Dee.


The Red House pub in Boughton, Chester. River Dee.


Coming back through Chester. River Dee.


Chester suspension bridge. River Dee.


Threading our way through the trip boats to get on the last mooring before the weir. River Dee.


Now begins the wait fro the flood tide to crest the weir. River Dee.


Tide coming in fast........


Crew wander about expectantly!


The tide crests the weir..........


.....................and the Watergate! 


Where's that bloody weir gone?


David Jones readies the watergate  for emergency use. River Dee in Chester.


The splendid wooden trip boat comes through the bridge and stems the tide. River Dee in Chester.


Ed Mortimer, David Kitchin, Steve Parish and Martin Clark wait fro the jetty to be flooded............


.....which comes quicker than they thought!


The Lady Edwina Grosvenor trip boat over the weir..............


................Earnest over the weir!


Looking back at Chester Old Bridge. Tidal River Dee in Chester.


Ed and Neil seem to be still be reflecting on the whole experience.


Grosvenor Bridge. Tidal River Dee in Chester.


 Tidal River Dee in Chester.


Railway Bridge. Tidal River Dee in Chester.


Nice old warehouse on the river front. Tidal River Dee in Chester.


Coming into the Dee Locks Branch tidal lock - the tide is still flooding. Tidal River Dee in Chester.


Coming into the Dee Locks Branch tidal lock


Coming into the Dee Locks Branch tidal lock - bloody willow tree!


Coming into the Dee Locks Branch tidal lock - we now rush to clear the low bridge deck before the tide comes in further.


Phew!....just cleared the bridge. Dee Locks Branch tidal staircase lock.


Dee Locks Branch tidal staircase lock.


The low bridge over the Dee Locks Branch tidal staircase lower chamber.


Dee Locks Branch.


Dee Locks Branch.


Dee Locks Branch.


Dee Locks Branch second  lock.


Dee Locks Branch second  lock.


Dee Locks Branch second  lock.


Dee Locks Branch.


Dee Locks Branch top lock.


Leaving the Dee Locks Branch, now bound for Ellesmere Port. Shropshire Union Canal.


Leaving Chester. Shropshire Union Canal.


Stone Bridge No 128. Shropshire Union Canal.


The Deva Aqueduct. Shropshire Union Canal.


Railway Bridge No 128 A. Shropshire Union Canal.


Mollington Bridge No 130. Shropshire Union Canal.


Railway Bridge No 132. Shropshire Union Canal.


Backford Bridge No 133. Shropshire Union Canal.


Caughall Bridge No 134. A good stopping point for Chester Zoo. Shropshire Union Canal.


 Shropshire Union Canal.


Croughton Bridge No 135. Shropshire Union Canal.


Moorings in Stoak. Shropshire Union Canal.


 M 56 Bridge. Shropshire Union Canal.


Picton Lane Bridge No 136. Shropshire Union Canal.


Mason's Bridge No 140. Shropshire Union Canal.


New Stanney Bridge No 140 A and the ex-boatyard, now being turned into tin business units. Shropshire Union Canal.


Stanney Mill Bridge No 141. Shropshire Union Canal.


 Shropshire Union Canal.


Bewley's Bridge No 144. Shropshire Union Canal.


Looking back at Stanlow Bridge No 145 and M 53 Bridge. Shropshire Union Canal.


Coming into Ellesmere Port. Shropshire Union Canal.


 Shropshire Union Canal.


Pickerings Bridge No 146. Shropshire Union Canal.


The ridiculous narrow M 53 Bridge. With less fendering and a narrower towpath full width boats could again reach / come up from the Manchester Ship Canal. Shropshire Union Canal.


Powell's Bridge No 147, Bridge No 148 and the Ellesmere Port Boat Museum beyond. Shropshire Union Canal.


The Ellesmere Port Boat Museum. Shropshire Union Canal.


The Ellesmere Port Boat Museum. The wide and narrow flights of locks down to the middle basin and the Manchester Ship Canal. Shropshire Union Canal.

The Tour Continues...


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