Open canoe trip – Farndon to Chester
The weather was too good to miss, and we had agreed to meet up in Farndon to paddle down to Chester. We had agreed to paddle as two groups on the river with social distancing made easy in the opens.
Put-In: Holt (Roman) Bridge in Farndon, Bridge Street, LL13 9JH
Take-out at Sandy Lane CH3 5UT
At Farndon we stayed on the English side of the bridge but observed many cyclists and locals crossing to the Welsh side. Fortunately, the border ran down the middle of this part of the lower river Dee, so we were not breaking any Covid-19 rules. Whilst waiting for the shuttle we chatted to locals about the large flood in January which damaged part of the bridge which was closed for 4-5 days. We put in at the small public car park by the new build called “the boat house” just in case anyone is looking for a new 5 bed detached with nice views of the river and town.
Despite being pretty low, there was a good current to help us whisk us along the pleasant countryside. Several large logs blocked part of the river channel in places, but we were able to chat to each other as we paddled. Elevenses arrived and we managed to get out and enjoy a brew. Both groups stopped in the same place, but we all kept our distance. I even observed some high hills in the distance – after some discussion we agreed they were the hills around Llantysilio.
We paddled on past the Duke of Westminster`s old Estate (Grosvenor Estate and Eaton Hall) under the Iron Bridge and stopped for lunch at the sharp Elbow bend with the sandy beach. Mark had his “Kelly Kettle” and stove and was keen to fry up his lunch. We had all just about finished our lunch when he finally got his stove going. The smoke from the wood was blowing out across the field and he was just about to dig in when a very polite lady security guard / warden from the Grosvenor Estate appeared and forcefully told us that we were trespassing and needed to leave. She explained that there had been ever increasing problems with lockdown parties, litter and large groups paddling up from Eccelston Ferry and Chester and finally the Estate were trying to put a stop to all of it. We of course said we would leave and began to pack up. We chatted to her about the difference between kayaks and canoes and Kingfishers and anything we could think of to give Mark a few more minutes it eat down his potato waffle and hot drink. We departed a few minutes later, on good terms, but should remember to stop on the opposite bank next time.
We quickly made good time down through the large houses of Chester to Sandy Lane. We moved the cars around to the car park and Andy offered a lift back to Farndon as it was on his way home. We were well spaced in the car and followed government guidance by wearing face masks and having the windows down.
Unfortunately, just as Phil and Clare were about to leave, a small white camera car entered the car park, did a quick loop, and swiftly left. On checking the signs, it seems car parking MUST be between the faded white lines and restricted to 4 hours only. We were loading by the slipway and fear that we may get a fine in the post. Please watch out for this if using Snady Lane Car Park in future.
Despite everything, it was still great to be out on the water again