Day 37: 29 Apr 2014; Flint to Chester

Day 37: 29 Apr 2014; Flint to Chester
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 37
Date Tue 29 Apr 2014 Start to end time 06h 56m
Start point Flint End point Chester
Miles today 15.70 Cu miles 695.49
Ft today 354 Cu ft 110,360
Route miles left 778.29 Route ft left 87,403
Today’s weather Misty first thing, bright with hazy sun later. South easterly wind in morning, dropped in afternoon. No rain. About 16 C
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Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)

“The way things have worked out, today was a bit of a rest day. And I thoroughly appreciated it! The route was absolutely straight, absolutely flat, and absolutely short. And it passed through Chester, one of the more attractive cities in the UK. To cap it all, the weather was good, too – so what more could you ask for!

I got up relatively late, at 7 am, and made a leisurely start. I was treated to a bacon buttie, courtesy of the proprietor of Oakenholt Farm, so I didn’t rush and wasn’t away until 9 am. The route followed the banks of the river Dee all the way from Connah’s Quay to Chester. It was an interesting journey, despite the lack of hills and the relatively industrial environment. The river itself was fascinating – it is tidal and when I got to the riverbank, the tide was coming in. So the water, rather counterintuitively, was flowing upstream at a great rate. But the time I got to Chester, the tide had turned so the water was flowing back downstream again, at an increasing pace.

Although the area around Connah’s Quay wasn’t particularly scenic, there was still plenty of interest. Until 300 years ago, this was a seaside town, and the Dee estuary was far wider, making Chester a coastal port. It’s only in the last 3 centuries that the estuary has silted up and the coast has retreated further west. There is a long industrial heritage, from lead smelting through shipbuilding to aircraft manufacturing. And as I arrived at the campsite this evening, just as I was putting the tent up, an airbus “Beluga” flew overhead, looking like a passenger jet on steroids, carrying wings and other airbus parts to Toulouse.

On the quayside by the river Dee I also came across a mobile caravan selling breakfast rolls and tea. Of course, I stopped and reflected that there must be thousands of these little cafes around the country, providing a vital service to truckers and local factories, and not just there to benefit ever-hungry walkers.

As I headed into Chester, I crossed the border back into England. As well as being the end of the Welsh Coastal path, which I’d been following all the way from Rhos, it also marked the end of the second of the four “chunks” of my walk. I’ve now completed the South West England and Wales “chunks” and am entering the North West England chunk. Wales took me 15 days and nearly 300 miles. It’s the longest, actually, that I’ve ever spent in the country.

As I was in no hurry, I made a very leisurely transit through Chester. In terms of the “Bakewell tart” model of cities and long distance walks, Chester has a much bigger cherry : Bakewell ratio than most so it’s a really enjoyable city to walk through. In today’s warm sunshine, it was sparking. The streets were full of life, there were musicians everywhere, and it really felt like a place you would want to linger.

After a good look round, I pressed on to my campsite to write this blog, and to plan tomorrow’s hike through Cheshire to Weaverham where I’m staying with friends. It’ll be my first night in a “proper” bed for 11 days and I’m looking forward to it!”

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
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An unusually precise speedlimit outside Connah’s Quay gas-fired power station These stiles on the Welsh coast long distance path are built to stop bikes and horses getting through. They also stop long distance hikers getting through as you can’t get your backpack between the bars. Must have been designed by an engineer.
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At the end of the Welsh coastal mpath and returning to monolingual England To a long distance hiker this shelf in Boots is the equivalent of being a kid in a sweetshop. I noticed that the Dutch for bunions was “eeltknobbels” What a fantastic word.
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In Chester city centre. Fantastic place A shot tower – used for making lead shot for the Napoleonic Wars.
Cityscape, Chester-style
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line
Solid line blue