Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Back down the Llangollen

Saturday was not as bad as forecast and the weather improved throughout the day.  We had another walk around Llangollen, John had another fishing session with little success though.   A few boats left the basin but many more arrived.  As the evening was looking the best part of the day we decided to make our escape, thinking that it would be much easier to get through the narrows at that time of day.  We were correct as well, two boats approaching as we came out of the first section, and one (bless them) waiting in the lay-bye in the second section as they thought it was narrow all the way to Llangollen, I explained that they could move on as boats can pass in the middle section, so they let us past and then moved on.  Another couple of boats as we approached Trevor and that was it, we are sure much easier than on Sunday morning!

Leaving Llangollen

Trevor Basin

We continued over the Pontcysyllte, the view as always stunning, although with the flow of the canal the boat was banging against the sides which is a little unnerving at that height.  We passed NB Islonian and Ashdown,  who we had seen and had a quick chat with in Llangollen, the fishing rods were out.  We continued a little further and  moored for the night by Whitehouse Bridge.

Sunday we set off,  straight through Whitehouse tunnel, not so at Chirk tunnel, as we approached there was a boat in the tunnel, as we looked there was another further back as well, as that got near the middle we realised there was another one behind, in all seven before we managed to get through and as we stuck our bow in the entrance another boat did at the other end but they flashed us and backed out.  We had better luck over the aqueduct and had a pleasant cruise to New Marton locks.  These locks are always a bottleneck and six boats in front of us waiting to go down was not unusual, we soon discovered that one of them, had actually moored up to watch the F1 GP.  Movement was really slow and after a coffee, I took my windless to help out,  along with one other lady whose boat was about 3 in front of us.  If ever there is are locks that need a CRT volunteer its these.  I really am amazed how many people, a) stand holding onto their centre line until the lock is ready for them to come into it, at which point someone walks forward with a windlass or  have absolutely no idea how a lock works and don't think that it might be a good idea to suss it out before its their turn.  I don't know what else the hire companies can do, the people I spoke to did say they had been sent a DVD which they said they had watched and had been shown on a model at the hand over, 'but its different when you get here'.  One lady had a book with her so she could follow the directions (better than nothing), and John heard the boat behind us having a domestic as she refused to work the lock as no-one was there to help her.   I will help anyone and are more than happy to do so (John said he thought as he was waiting that I could be a CRT volunteer), however one tried to take the pee, he did come to the lock without a windlass, whilst the boat was well and truly tied up, she played with the dog on the towpath, it was his turn and we had to tell him to go and bring the boat in, she then took ages to catch the dog, then she put the dog in the bow and got in herself, he eventually brought the boat into the lock and she sat looking very pretty.  To be fair he did look really embarrassed as myself and another lady worked him down the lock, as he existed she never said thanks or anything, just looked straight through us, he did say thanks, apparently she did get off at the second lock but didn't wind a paddle or open a gate just stood with the dog!  Rant over ......

We got through the second lock without so much of a hold up and then down to the Jack Mytton, moored up the quickest we have ever done and got into the bar at 2.25, we knew they stopped serving Sunday Lunch at 2:30.  We were the last in but we enjoyed the food and the beer wasn't bad either.   Following lunch we continued down to Frankton Junction.  A wander down the locks later in the day and a walk along the Monty and back along country lanes with some very nice houses.

Chirk Aqueduct

I love this house!  

Frankton Locks

A short hop on Monday to Ellesmere, not very far, 3 miles.  Moored up and had a wander around, very quiet for a Bank Holiday Monday, not very much going off at all.  A lovely day so we wandered back to the mooring and enjoyed the afternoon watching the boats negotiate the very sharp bend at Ellesmere and enjoying the lovely sunshine.

Today we did a bit of shopping in Ellesmere, got some lovely pies from the Farmers Market (which we have had for tea), and some really nice stuff from the bakers and butchers, we then topped up with other stuff in tesco.  We were about to move over to the water point when NB Islonian appeared around the corner, it was one of those times, one minute no one was there, we untied and three boats were on the services in minutes, never mind, no rush, we pulled over and hung back from the services and then pulled in when there was a gap.  We then cruised along through the meres and woods, a lovely stretch of canal, we then approached the nature reserves and Whixall Moss, so much work has been done on these reserves over the past few years and it is really showing now. Three lift bridges broke up the cruising and we soon reached our destination for today Whitchurch Arm.  We have managed to get in right down the arm and got a tv picture, well we have to tonight its the Great British Bake Off, its about the only thing I watch on tv.

Blake Mere

Back into England

Whixall Moss

 Another lovely sunset

24/08/13 Llangollen to Whitehouse Bridge 6 miles
25/08/13 Whitehouse Bridge to Frankton 9 miles 2 locks
26/08/13 Frankton Junction to Ellesmere 3 miles
27/08/13 Ellesmere to Whitchurch 12.5 miles 3 lift bridges

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