We decided in 2018 to give Chester a miss and visit it some other time. Now is that other time. Heading from the Middlewich canal up the Shropshire Union towards Chester was quite a surprise. Starting at the staircase lock at Bunbury the journey goes through a further 9 locks and meanders through some beautiful Cheshire countryside. Beeston Castle looks stunning dominating the distance.
The Collins guide complains that these locks need gate paddles because they are too slow. I found them OK. As you enter the centre of Chester the usual apartment blocks and developments are improving the canal side but sadly, only one of the original buildings was worthy of saving, the Steam Mill.
The moorings for the centre are at bridge 123e and they couldn’t be any nearer to town only 5 minutes from the famous clock and city walls. Very safe and secure.
The following day we head towards Ellesmere Port having to first negotiate an impressive 3 lock staircase. Originally built in 1790 by Thomas Telford. They rise (or fall) 33 feet.
Once through this lock we entered the Chester basin. It’s hard to believe that Chester was a Port and the basin connected to the river Dee through locks and out to the sea.
From the basin it’s a lock free trip all the way to Ellesmere Port and the Manchester Ship canal. The first 6 miles were incredibly rural and after 4 miles there were moorings so you could visit Chester Zoo. The scenery changes a little as you approach Ellesmere and the stunning National Waterways museum greets you as you arrive in the basin.