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?

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