Middlewich was lovely this week in the sunshine, but this morning the winds and rain arrived as forecast so we jumped in the car and did what all good boaters do on their day off; went to see some boats.
The first thing I noticed about Ellesmere port, apart from the incredibly industrial landscape, was the twinned locks descending from the Shropshire Union Canal into the Manchester Ship Canal – like the reels on a fruit machine dropping into place I suddenely remembered I had been here before, possibly on a day trip from University in the 70s.
The location is wonderful as the wide locks, alongside the narrow locks descend to the basins around the new Holiday Inn and onwards through lock number 1 into the Ship Canal. I have never paid to see a flight of locks before but the frustration of looking through a fence was too much and I just had to go in!
I recently read about the downturn in fortunes of the museum so rather than pay the £5.50 entry fee I opted for the £13.00 annual pass, although I guess this may be the first and last visit here this year. However it also works at Stoke Bruerne and Gloucester and so seems quite good value all in the aid of a good cause.
Admittedly it was late in the day, but there were in fact only 6 other visitors still on site, which presumably is due to the credit crunch. Well everything else is, so why not blame it anyway.
I must admit to quite enjoying the visit, although it was very sad to see so many old boats decaying without any form of restoration, other than the odd pump to keep them from hitting the bottom.
It certainly passed a rainy afternoon.