Sunday, August 21, 2005

Beeston Castle / Northwich Floatel

Returned to Chester, which I'd visited months before, simply having lunch and a stroll on the city walls. En route to our hotel in Northwich, we visited Beeston Castle in North Cheshire. Sited atop a crag, and overlooking 8 counties, it's a truly spectacular site (and very fine picnic spot).

Starting life as a hill-fort in the Bronze Age, some 4000yrs ago, it has been redeveloped time and again. For the distance, I'm reminded of one of the Mayan pyramids at Tikal in Guatemala that I'd visited in 2000: centuries of growth had covered all but the very tips of these structures. Beeston's fort is actually perched on top but is very overgrown and ferny within its walls. From the top you can see Chester, Liverpool and the Pennines.

The Floatel at Northwich turned out to be a bit of a let down. It's been around since 1989, and while OK as a cheap pet-friendly hotel, it's suffering from neglect. While the staff are cheerful enough, I don't think anyone had cleaned the water-level porch of my room in months - it was dirty, cobwebbed and strewn with cigarette butts: not a place where one would go for a romantic getaway. I did luck onto a really nice restaurant just up the road - The Curious Orange. The Northwich town centre is mainly timber-framed, but from Victorian times, not Tudor. I'm curious about the human gargoyle that looked like QEII.

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