Friday, 31 July 2015

Finally, its farewell to the Llangollen...

So that's it. Today we exited Hurleston and turned south down the Shroppie. It is sad to be leaving such a beautiful canal, but we have given it enough time, for now!

Having returned to the basin in Llangollen, we made good use of having unlimited power. It also proved a good spot to meet family and friends. Just a pity that the weather last Sunday failed to oblige, a cold and miserable day. This did us one favour. Llangollen itself was very quiet. We enjoyed a marvellous roast at the Old Corn Mill, overlooking the river. At this time of year, on a fine day, this is rammed full. But it was a lot more civilised and the food was excellent.

Early morning on the Ponty - not a boat in site!

We walked up there!

 Rain clouds gathering

Since Monday, when we left the basin, we have wended our way down. With the flow, this is a doddle and the engine needs to be only just over tickover to make fair progress. This canal is more like a river. A gentle one, but the flow is not inconsiderable, especially when going upstream.

Looking down from the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to Gate Road bridge

Looking up to the Aqueduct from Gate Road Bridge

 Looking down on to the football field

and from below looking up 

 and this one is different (look closely) 

the one this end reversed (eventually!!)

It is busy, but that adds to the fun. Ok, on occasion I will admit to some exasperation at some of the antics you see and once or twice I did get a tad annoyed, but not for long.  Having to throw the boat into reverse in order to avoid a boat travelling on the wrong side, on a blind bend, then getting a discarded, knotted rope around the prop, stopping the engine dead, did not endear said boaters to me.  But soon cleared. (with muttered profanities)  (Ali - MUTTERED???)

This canal has some fantastic scenery and we'll spaced small market towns like Whitchurch and Ellesmere to enjoy. The services for boaters are clean, mostly! I say that because when visiting Ellesmere, someone (and we think we know who!) Blocked the Elsan point, then sat there all innocent. Ali reported the problem and a CRT staff member was on scene almost before she had put the phone down. Great service. It's an Elsan point, not to decant ones tank into, especially when the contents is mostly solid matter!

Today we had a chance meet with NB Bisbigliando, Beacon Boat No 18, owned by John & Ann, unfortunately it was a somewhat fleeting meeting as we exiting the lock as they were approaching to enter, only a few brief words and a very quick photo.

I digress. We are now moored just prior to Nantwich Canal Centre arm. The Shroppie shelf is back, but we have a straight bankside, so not a problem. A bit of retail therapy tomorrow and then south. It is hoped that the weather in August is an improvement on July. We have not had much rain, but neither has the sun be over evident and it has been cool at times.

So, those that tell you to avoid the Llangollen in July/Aug, are trying to keep this gem to themselves. It can be busy, but not once have we failed to moor where we planned and only had a queue of four boats at a lock once. It seems a shame to leave, but all good things come to an end and its time for pastures new.

So farewell, see you again soon, I hope.

51.5 miles
21 locks
11 lift bridges
737 yards of tunnels + Chirk and Pontcysylite aqueducts.

and finally a question, why has one of the narrowest canals got the largest winding holes?

Friday, 24 July 2015

Over the Aqueducts

We crossed back into Wales today, over the Chirk & Pontcysyllte Aqueducts in drizzle and rain.  Remind me, what month is it??


Mink or baby otter?  (we think mink, but was swimming east of the ponty)

7 miles

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Llangollen Canal. A warning (and lots more photos)

Please avoid going onto the  Llangollen, anytime!

It is full of hire boats, share boats and grumpy private owners. This canal is a bloody nightmare. Please find an alternative...

So we can have it all to ourselves!

Yep, still on the canal, which must be a record for us!  After our visit to the Eisteddfod, walk in the hills and passage once again over the aqueduct, we started travelling back down with a heavy heart. It is just so nice.

Back over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct 

and then Chirk

We moored at Frankton junction and as the Montgomery is restricted to some four miles of Navigation, due to a breach, we walked it. A beautiful canal.  One fly in the ointment was being told by the lock keeper that he would rather we did not moor on the 48 hour moorings at the mouth of the junction, as we were causing an obstruction!  He then told us this advice was for future reference when it was pointed out that we were on recognised and signed, moorings. CRT need to alter the moorings and signs if they prefer people not to moor. Needless to say, we stayed put and caused no nuisance to the four boats descending!

Frankton Junction (as you can see we were really a problem)

Anyway. We slowly bimbled back down the canal and reached Wrenbury. Over a meal in the Dusty Miller, we spoke of our next move.

Povey Lock

Tools of locking

& stocking up on eggs and veg at Quoisley Lock

And decided to turn and head back to Llangollen....

It really is a beautiful canal. OK, there are a lot of boats, but we have not found this to be problematic. Funny on occasion, but no cause for angst.

So we are in the process of retacing our steps and may well tomorrow hit the aqueducts once again, weather permitting.

Heading back to the hills

Going against the flow has certainly given the engine a work out, and this has been reflected in our fuel consumption. We topped up from the fuel boat Mountbatten on our way up, the first time, and we will need to top up again before long. The flow is quite considerable and especially noticeable through the bridge holes when you almost come to a halt on occasion.

Apart from the Mons & Brec, this has to be my all time favourite canal. It can be challenging in regard to other boaters at times, but the scenery more than makes up for it.

So back we go. So please Do Not vist, it is horrible and we want it all to ourselves.

Footnote. For some reason, Ali has taken exception to me storing my maggots in the fridge!
So much so, that she has bought me a mini fridge, just for bait storage. Bless.

 Around Ellesmere

 We have had a bit of rain (well we are in Wales)

 Miles 65.5
Locks 24
Lift bridges 16