Thursday, 9 October 2008

Hawks and Stags

4 Locks, 10 Miles. Now moored above Beeston Iron lock.

Yesterday was a good day to chill out as it was very windy with the occasional shower. We headed off into town to top up the larder before heading off to Chester.

This morning was a complete opposite with a clear blue sky and the sun blazing down making it a brilliant cruising day. We actually travelled further than planned but in weather conditions like today it was a pleasure. We called into the BW facilities at Calveley but were only able to take on water as the pump out hose was to short to reach over the roof of the boat. Instead we carried on up to Anglo Welsh at Bunbury and got a pump out there once they had finished their lunch.

It was at the Bunbury staircase locks that we came up against an Anglo Welsh boat that had slipped its moorings and was blocking the canal. As AW staff were at lunch I had to secure the boat myself, no problem. The next problem was that there were only 2 boats to go down the flight and 3 waiting to come up which meant not much room at the bottom of the flight with AW boats breasted up all the way to the next bridge. With a bit of manoeuvring we got one boat out of the lock and bought the first boat in so that the other boats could start to move forward. We then moved forward to let the next boat into the lock . I sat under the bridge waiting for the third boat to move forward onto the lock mooring clearing the way for me to move up to the pump out facility. How ever the skipper of this boat was reluctant to move even though he was aware of our intentions so I just moved forward and breasted up against the AW boats that were already breasted up.

This put us 3 abreast forcing him to go through the overhanging trees which knocked off his chimney and the cooly hat got hung up on a branch. Madam first mate was not very impressed over loosing the chimney but the skipper managed to save the chimney and we recovered his cooly hat later which they came back for after clearing the locks.

Former Lengthsmen storage shed beside Beeston Stone Lock

After clearing Beeston Stone lock we found a suitable mooring with a flock of sheep as neighbours in the field opposite. We hadn't been here long when a Land Rover pulled into the field opposite and 3 young men proceeded to unload a pair of Goshawks and 2 white ferrets. They were clearing the farmers property of rabbits by putting the ferrets down the burrows and then any unfortunate rabbit to emerge above ground was then run down by a hawk.

Unfortunately there were not many rabbits to be had due to most of the burrows being flooded out with recent rain, but they did manage to get 1 rabbit and a pheasant so the birds will dine well for the next few days.

While watching the Falconers I kept hearing a deer stag roaring but I couldn't see where they were. I suspected they might be in some trees between Beeston village and the mound of Beeston Castle. A short while later while looking up at the horizon to the North of the Castle which is fenced 2 red deer stags and 2 hind's appeared. One stag had a good 7 or 8 point set of antlers but was too far away to photograph. We might have to go for a walk tomorrow and investigate this further because the fencing around the field is not the usual type of fencing used by deer farmers in NZ. So are they wild or domesticated?

1483 locks, 3125 miles, 51 Tunnels, 42 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006


************** Brian and Diana on NB Harnser******** Maps by said...

There are loads of stags on the mound behind Beeston Station. I think it was an old war time fuel dump. You can see them above the roof line of the house and as suspect they are farmed.

Derek and Dot said...

Hi Brian and Diana
Thanks for that info we wondered what it was and were trying to find the answer. Enjoy your cruising.
Regards Dot