Day 9 Rhos-on-Sea to Chester
If yesterday was one of the days I was most looking forward to before the trip, today was the exact opposite. I'm definitely not moaning, any time in a boat is good but when the days before have been so diverse, there was just a lot of getting on with it required today.
The plan for the day was to try and get into the canal network which needed some large mileage. The first section isn't my favorite, as most of the time you need to stay offshore to keep the mileage down, combine this with a headwind and opposing tide as it was too far to make on one tidal push. meant that the next four hours basically consisted of just getting the miles done.
I arrived at the Point of Ayr having spent the last hour wondering what the point of air was (it was a long crossing) to make the right turn into the Dee estuary with its magic shifting sandbars and bouyage that doesn't appear to follow traditional convention.
It's tricky navigating through here, it looks like sand as far as you can see but in that are channels you can use but you're never too sure whether the one you're in is a dead end. A few dead ends later I was finally in a channel that looked like I would make it through to the road bridge on.
The estuary narrows really quickly so squeezes the tide through a small channel creating a super quick conveyor belt if you arrive in time. Fortunately I did which made the slog to the Point of Ayr worthwhile, at one stage I was registering 6mph without paddling.
Just short of high tide I finally arrived in Chester. When I was here in 2013 the local canal volunterrs were restoring the locks to connect the Dee to the canal network. It appears work has gone slowly. I couln't get out at the locks, so spent 15minutes hunting up and down for the least worst option. The glamour of the storm drain outlet won.
I hadn't got my trolley with me and with the joy of hindsight I should've got Lou to meet me in Chester to take the excess gear as carrying the boat on my shoulder through Chester's backstreets was a little challenging after 42 miles.I jumped onto the canal and headed for the final destination for the day, which was a campsite just South of Chester so I got a few miles and locks out the way this evening to ease myself into canal life tomorrow.
Really happy with today, got there in the end. 46.52 miles for the day. I'm now on the long and twisty home stretch.