Sunday, 28 September 2014

Ellesmere 70's party.

Set off at 08:00 from our overnight mooring, weather started off cool but was warm an hour later. We are in a 22 mile lock free pound  so progress was quite swift in narrowboat terms, the River Dee flow in the canal helping by pushing FL towards the east. We make it to Ellesmere's C&RT yard in little over an hour averaging 5mph A top up with fresh water, rid FL of all things dumpable and we move FL down the Ellesmere arm to moor behind a boat decked out with "I'm 70 today" balloons plenty of bottles of beer, wine and spirits aboard, the whole crew were septuagenarians and older.

We all have a walk into town, a 2 mile walk around the shores of The Mere (lake) until our own onboard septugearian has had enough. We refresh Betty with Chardonay and ourselves with ale at the Red Lion. Suitably rested, we were shortly back on board where I did some tinkering down the engine 'ole while the crew went to Tesco's. Betty pulled the  heavy wheeled shopping bag back to the boat and Sue arrived back laden with carrier bags

We set off at 15:00 to get a way from the party in full swing next door to find an overnight mooring in a rural spot, we spotted Mr. Fox stalking a pheasant but I didn't have the camera to hand to record it. We have now moored past Cole Mere in a quiet spot.

08:00 start

Maestermyn Bridge

Forgot the name bridge.

Spotted Tilly but no one was in.

The Mere.

Sculpture called 'The Stairway to Heaven'.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Sue steers over the aqueduct!

We wanted to take the horse drawn boat to the Horseshoe Falls to save Betty's legs, but being a weekend they were all fully booked, we decided to leave it until next time.

This time Sue was at the tiller when we crossed the Aqueduct, she steered FL straight and true. There was a bit of a hold up at Chirk Tunnel while we waited for six boats to pass through, then we were third in a convoy of four to travel eastwards, the day boat behind us had a party going on with beer and beats, the bass was resonating through the tunnel.

We moored up after we had passed through New Morton Locks, 12 miles from Llangollen.

Colourful bread vulture!

Horse boat terminus

Busy at Chirk Tunnel

View from the hatch

Friday, 26 September 2014

Blogger lookalike

While we were enjoyimg a Daves Hoppy Beer  in The Corn Mill in Llangollen I noticed the picture below, the fellow on the right reminded me of a fellow blogger. Can you guess who?

Awesome, bloody awesome.

Well we made it to Llangollen, going over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was absolutly breathtaking, I could never put into words this wonder of the inland waterway system so I wont try I'll just put up the pictures.
The start of the Aqueduct

Half way across

River Dee beneath

Coming to the end.

On route to Llangollen

Narrows before the town


Lllangollen basin our overnight mooring.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Chirk Aqueduct

Untied FL from the bank at 08:00 the morning was cool but without rain. We soon cruised through Frankton Junction where the Montgomery connects to the left. More of the same scenery wise, rolling and distant hills with green pasture land to the waters edge. The Berwyn and Breidden hills are a hazy backdrop on the horizon to the west.

New Marton Locks are busy with almost all the traffic heading east, I'm expecting Llangollen to be empty when we arrive tomorrow. High over the river Ceirog on the Chirk Aqueduct we cruise with the impressive viaduct running parallel carrying trains to Shrewsbury and Chester.

At the end of the aqueduct a sign welcomes us to Wales here the 459yd Chirk tunnel, once through we are in a steep wooded section which takes us onto a high aqueduct overlooking parkland and the River Dee where we will moor overnight, we will do the main attraction tomorrow.

While dinner was being prepared I took a walk to Trevor which includes a walk over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. It is truly a marvel of canal engineering, I am in awe of the men that conceived the idea of a canal in the sky and the men that built it, I and a coach load of Japanese tourist walk along the towpath, 120ft above the Dee valley, we all take lots of pictures.

On the way back I followed the signage to the Aqueduct Inn high up on a Froncysllte hill overlooking the canal and had a glass of Three Tunns Ale.

I had 17 photos to put on the blog tonight but the connection is too slow so just the one for now.

That way to the Montgomery Canal.

On the Chirk Aqueduct with the viaduct running alongside.

Leaving the Chirk Tunnel

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Pint in the Aqueduct Inn

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

In and out of Wales

We have had the first rain on FL's roof for quite some time, luckily most of it drained out of the clouds overnight , we had a few light showers until it brightened up at noon. We got under way at 10:00 on a 20 mile lock free pound, we had four lift bridges to get under but Sue only needed to lift one as other crews were already lifting the other three as we approached. This is definitely the busiest canal we have been on to date, the majority are hire boats from umpteen different fleets. We met two hire crews from back home one from Peel the other from Kirk Michael.

We are beginning to get distant views of Welsh hills, a prelude to some anticipated impressive scenery the further west we travel

To starboard we pass the old Prees branch that was originally built to extract lime products from its terminus at Quinta Brook, the canal never reached Prees as finances wouldn't allow, these days only a mile of the canal is navigable to Whixall Marina.

After Whixall Moss we enter Wales for a short distance, by the time we reach Bettisfield we are back in Shropshire. we won't cross the border until the Chirk aqueduct. Cole Meer to starboard and Blake Meer to port are viewed from the canal on route to Ellesmere.

Ellesmere was packed with visiting boats along the approaches and down the arm that leads to the town. We carry on to moor in solitude in the countryside above bridge 60.

Blackoe bridge

Busy stretch

Prees branch.

Cole Meer

Distant hills