Having been down and back this way several times before, (the remains of) Beeston Castle looming on the horizon and towering over the Cheshire Plain was a familiar sight, but neither of us had ever actually visited it.
As it was (a) blazingly hot – a real surprise, (b) a Sunday and (c) we had already worked several hard broad locks in the morning, the Captain gave us permission to have the afternoon off and visit the castle, if only because it was likely to have somewhere selling ice creams.
Setting off over the fields and across the railway, the outcrop and castle was rather further than it looked. Eventually, after quite a climb, we reached the entrance. Just before there was a rather fine farmhouse, that proudly announced that it was a milk supplier to Tesco, and hence presumably losing loads of money. Hmmm.
Toiling further uphill into the castle proper, you eventually come to the central keep, cunningly surrounded by a deep ravine on one side, and steep cliffs on the other.
We were quite impressed by the early 11th century bridgework, and although it was a trifle steep in places the situation and views were superb.
The top/keep itself seemed a little lacking in facilities (unless you count multiple five-year-olds skipping around while us old’uns recovered our breath).
Still it was nice to look back at our endeavours and see the canal and railway, and ponder that it was a jolly long way to climb just to get an ice cream.
Still, you could always see across to the Welsh Hills, or peer at people going about their business…
… and you could also see Jodrell Bank.
Stumbling back down, the return to the boat took rather less time, and heading down the canal a little we aimed to moor near the new and huge Tattenhall Marina where our guide said there were a couple of pubs. Mooring up we soon discovered that the nearest pub was now totally demolished, and the other one was over a mile and a half’s walk, and was stopping serving food about ten minutes after we’d tied up.
Rumours that the new marina (whose water entrance we’d already passed) might provide nourishment momentarily raised our hopes, but a quick investigation showed that access on foot would involve a couple of miles’ walk along roads a long way around to the other side of the marina then a hike into the interior. We raided the freezer and had an early night.