After a rainy Saturday night Sunday dawned bright and clear. We took the footpath through the fields from Wharton lock towards Beeston Castle. Set on its huge rock, it is quite a climb up to the remains of the keep. As things are still in Halloween mode there were spooky guided tours on offer so we tagged along and were treated to 'scary' tales of the castle's gruesome past. Left to explore the ruins, we marvelled at the stunning views over the countryside. To the north you can see across Ellesmere Port and the Mersey into Liverpool, and to the south and east you can spot the peak district and the Pennines.
A fairly early start today took us into Chester. It was clear but quite cold, however, when we started working the locks down into the city we soon warmed up. They are hard work, the gates heavy and the low gearing on the paddles makes for a lot of winding. After the canal passes the old warehouses it enters a rocky cutting with the old city walls towering above, eventually reaching the three lock staircase which takes you down to Chester basin. For such a fine historic city we found the basin a disappointment. Not a lot of mooring space and building work going on all around, some of which does not seem to have progressed since we were here three years ago. After finding some rings to moor to we are ready to explore.