Tag: boating

Walking in Runcorn.

A Heron in the Water.

Couple of months ago, I did some work at a company called AppSense. While travelling there, I realised there was a sort of pony track between Runcorn east Railway station and Daresbury park.

I’ve been working out routes around Helsby/Frodsham/Runcorn East for my regular Sunday walk, and since the path crosses a canal, I thought that would make a good start.

The idea was pretty simple. Head out from Runcorn, about 4 miles along the Canal, then leave the Canal, and follow the river weaver, a couple of miles back into Frodsham.

I met Tony at Runcorn Railway station (he was an hour and a half late, but I had the new Dan Brown, so I made good use of the time).

A bridge on the Canal.

Weather was fab all day. The views along the bank of the canal were remarkable.

After walking through forests, walks next to water are my favourite. There is something very relaxing about Canals, and you constantly meet people coming the other way walking dogs or the occasional barge.

An abandoned boat.

Everything was going fine and Tony and I were discussing our first trip around the world in 2004.

Time seemed to fly and I had a thought. Shouldn’t we have reached the river weaver by now ?.

When we saw someone friendly, I whipped out the map, and asked where we were. We had gone 5 miles too far !. We started heading back along the river Weaver.

We had miles to go, and instead of walking along the left bank (which would have allowed us to “cut the corner into Frodsham”), we ended up walking along the right (which according to the map, doesn’t actually have a path !).

The banks of the river weaver are probably the nicest scenery I have seen while I’ve been walking in the area (and I go walking around there every Sunday now). Problem is, we couldn’t enjoy it, as we had limited time.

There was overgrown long grass, sunken boats, biting insects and mounds of horse sh1t. It was like something from Indiana Jones.

After hours and hours, we finally got back to Frodsham after 9pm at night (4 hours later than expected).

The Tunnel pub in <name>.

After hours and hours, we finally got back to Frodsham after 9pm at night (4hrs later than expected).

Unlike Indiana Jones, there was no beautiful girl and treasure, only Tony and a pint of Fosters, but what an adventure all the same.

Freezing Weather.

A sunny day. We won't see those for a while.

Well, we won’t see many days or have the opportunity to do things like, this for a while. In short, the weather here in Chester (and indeed the rest of the UK, is pretty terrible).

Lunatic walking across the frozen Canal.

Walking back from a shopping trip the other day, I spotted this “yoof” walking across the ice, being egged on by his friends (from the safety of the bank).

He made it all the way across, and back again, before lampooning at the waters edge, and sinking to his chest in freezing water, before his friends pulled him out.

A Snowman in someone's garden.

On a more traditional front, some of Amelia’s neighbours made this rather excellent snowman, complete with hat, buttons, the whole lot.

Its a sad indictment of society, that they had to put up a sign saying private property, to stop hooligans from destroying it.

Me, well, I’m wearing 2 jumpers as I type this !.

Norfolk Broads at 21

Its been a while since I updated johnsunter.com

Ive been catching up on a series called Jericho. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled after season 2, but its pretty ace, so if you get a chance, have a look.

Well, an old friend from years ago, got back in touch recently, and sent me scans of these photos from a barge trip many year ago.

We went on a few other adventures, including a camping trip to Llanberis and a rented cottage in Llanwrust. Still, our most ambitious adventure, was the barge trip,  you can see some pictures bellow.

Its a while ago now, and I cant remember that much about it, so the naration may be limited.

Norfolk Broads 1

One of the great things about my youth, was that cider was less than a pound a pint. Another great thing about travelling on a barge, is that each evening you stay over in a different destination, so its like several holidays in one.

On the left, is my brother David, next to him is the illustrious “Mac” in the center of the picture, is Frank (more about him later) next a girl called Janeen, who Caz picked up from somewhere (Caz is taking this picture) then Me, then Lee.

Norfolk Broads 2

The barge actually had a maximum number of occupants, but we were young then, so we just chose to ignore it.

We  had friends sleeping in the kitchen, on the sofa in the main cabin, and just about everywhere else.

Norfolk Broads 3

The actual boat from the trip. Traditional longboats might look more romantic, but they are more expensive, slower and an absolute bugger to turn around !.

Norfolk Broads 4

As we travel across Bradon water, you can see that it was a very choppy section of open water.

At one point, smoke billowed from the engine and it appeared that we might be in distress. As it was, we were okay, we simply poured a can of coke over the engine, and everything seemed to be alright

The engine was probably scrapped later, but we weren’t around for that.

Norfolk Broads 5

Showing just how small and pokie the rooms were. The jumper I was wearing was a Jo Brown sweatshirt.

Lee had seen me admire it in Wales, and bought one by post for my birthday. Even when we were young and skint, we were always kind.

Norfolk Broads 6

This is a one off picture of the cottage we stayed in at Llanwrust. I only stayed for the weekend, as it was New Year, and I was starting a new job.

I remember around the town square, we got a bit drunk, and actualy offered some Police Officers a fiver to take us back to our cottage (it was about 2 miles out of town) they said that ordinarily, they would, there were just too many people about.

I believe later in the week, Caz got drunk, fell down the stairs and ended up coughing blood, but he was okay in the end.

Norfolk Broads 7

Back to the barge trip, we had moored up for a pub lunch, and since we were only just finding out feet with the controls, ended up driving away and Lee had to run and catch us up, after unhooking the boat.

The first of the main adventures on the trip, when Frank drove the boat away, without uncoupling, and damaged the boat (a piece was ripped off, I was sat in the barge at the time, and I felt the boat “stretch” 3 feet).

Later,  the excellent Janeen, dropped a kitchen knife in the water (never to be seen again) while trying to “disgorge” the landing rope from the Jetty.

Norfolk Broads 8

The 2nd adventure, involved being stopped for speeding. Apparently 7mph is the fastest a boat may go on the Norfolk Broads, as the wash from the boat damages the broads.

But we didn’t know that, so after a brief warning, we were stopped and fined more than £100 (at the time, a kings ransom).

I also remember Frank going to negotiate with the River Policeman, wearing Union Jack boxer shorts. Not surprisingly, his plea for clemency fell on deaf ears !.

A brilliant trip, and a defining moment in my life. Thanks to all of you that came.

I have some of my own pictures from the original barge trip here.

Promenade trail, Rowing boat and Museum trip.


I spent the morning wandering around the Riverside Promenade trail here in Chester (the leaflet from tourist information is free, or you can download one, from the link above). The highlights of the walk for me, were the Water tower, the Grosvenor Bridge and the Suspension Bridge (sometimes annoyingly called the Holyoaks bridge, as its featured in the opening titles. That program went downhill, once Becka left).

After  spending 2 hours exploring I debated having a Pie and Pint at the excellent Boat house pub (previous winner of the credit crunch lunch award here at js.com).

Instead, I decided to content myself with my trusty packed lunch and bottle of water, and instead, use the money to rent a rowing boat. Okay, your not exactly navigating the channel, but the feeling of freedom and exhilaration of “piloting” your own boat, are remarkable.


Ive lived in Chester now, for 8 years and the Chester regimental museum is somewhere Ive never gotten around to seeing. At only £3, it was an opportunity not to be missed.

I couldn’t believe how many interesting artifacts and displays were there. The picture above, shows a replica of a WW2 fighting trench. In the middle of the picture (a bit hard to see) is an authentic periscope, used to look “over the top” without getting shot.

There was a great deal mentioned about the Cheshire regiments involvement in Bosnia, and elsewhere, an account of the 2 VC’s awarded to the regiment.

One that I found interesting, was where a private in the regiment, had jumped out of the Allied trenches, and jumped back into the enemy trench having noticed that their machine gunner was dead. From here he was able to traverse the gun down the length of the enemy trench, take the position, and 42 prisoners with no loss of life on either side.


Some of the displays showed barracks and some of the activities performed by the regiment, throughout the world (it was pointed out, that even outside of wartime, soldiers will routinely be sent to places like Borneo and Norway for advanced training.  Above an imaginary scene of a soldier in the Borneo jungle). Having spent time there myself, I can tell you its authentic.

One other aspect of the museum, was its honesty and sense of humour. A display showing all the different ranks of soldiers and what they do, mentioned the Colour Sergent major, who is responsible for quarter-mastering and supplying the regiment. It was stated, that when he isn’t there, he is referred to by everyone as “the colour bloke”.

The museum was run by former soldiers of the regiment. As I entered, they told me the rules about photography, gave recommendations for things I might find interesting (they were extremely helpful) and politely, asked me to show respect at all times.

He said with humility that brave people (some of them his friends) had died in uniform.  It was a humbling experience.