Monday, June 23, 2008

Interlude and visitors at Llangollen, an odd duck and a one-legged Coot

We’ve had a mixed weekend at Llangollen. Saturday’s weather was appalling, rain all day, sometimes light but often heavy. We spent the day indoors, watching the hire boats arriving with the steerers faces showing attitudes ranging from “I don’t care it’s raining, I’m on holiday” to “I bet it’s not raining in Ibeza”!

Sunday was much better though. The rain had been blown away by a gale force wind, felt across most of the country. We braved the elements, Meg and I, and climbed up to Castell Dinas Bran, high on a hill overlooking the town. Certainly bracing up there!

Dinas Bran

Llangollen from the ruins

The castle is a thirteenth century fortification, and was quite sizeable. But it was sacked and burned after only a few years.

In the afternoon we had visitors. First it was Mag’s niece and namesake, Margaret, who drove across from Llandudno Junction, followed by friends Carol and Amanda, who live near Wrexham. It was very pleasant to catch up; we haven’t seen any of them for over a year.

Like Carol, we’d wangled an extra night out of the BW mooring warden, but, as she had arrived earlier than us, she had to move out. Not so far though, just 15 minutes down the canal to the end of the long narrow bit. We were able to stay last night, and moved out today, after a last bit of shopping and using the “facilities”. It’s handy on the moorings here; although it costs £6 a night, you have access to water points and free electricity at bollards along the moorings. So we left today, having done several loads of washing, and with our batteries stuffed full of volts!

Leaving Llangollen Moorings

We caught up with and passed Carol, and headed down to the 2nd section of narrows, where we had a bit of a hold up as 4 boats were coming through from the opposite direction. We were off again after 25 minutes or so.

Waiting for our turn through the narrow bit.
Mags carefully negotiating the narrows. Watch the new paint!
Another short wait for a couple of boats, then we popped out into Trevor basin, and made the hard right turn onto Pontcysylte Aqueduct. After meeting so many boats in the last couple of miles, we were amazed to see the long channel clear of boats.

Onto the Aqueduct.
We weren’t so lucky at Chirk though. We had to wait for 2 or 3 boats to come through, although the wait was mitigated by the chance to admire the pair moored near the entrance. They’re going to have fun on the narrow shallow bits!

I missed the name of the motor, but it’s just about to take up the tow on Butty Gosport.
On the exit to the tunnel, it was almost as bad as last time, with boats waiting for those coming off the aqueduct. But once again, we only had about 20 minutes before we were away.
I noticed something a little odd on the way over. The sign that welcomes you to Wales is at one end of the trough, and the one that tells you you’re back in England is at the other. So is the hundred yards or so of suspended water officially no-man’s land? The border follows the line of the River Ceiriog at this point, so you’d have thought that a vertical from the middle of the river up to the structure would be the actual boundary. On the other hand, does it really matter? Although it would be a fine spot, in the middle of the span, for a Customs Post!
If you've a reasonable connection, BBC Shropshire has some good pictures.

From Chirk Bank we met 7 Wrenbury Mill hire boats, one after the other (and usually at bridges…). It must be a timing thing. Pickup was probably Saturday, so this would be day 3 of a 6 day dash to Llangollen and back.

We ended the day at the 48 hour mooring not far above the first of the New Marton locks.

Just alongside is a field that is perfect for dog ball flinging…
Can anyone identify this duck at Llangollen? It might be a hybrid. It hangs about with a group of Mallards.
And also spotted… a cootling (there’s that word again..) on one leg. I hope it actually does have 2…
We had a dry day, warm in the sunny spells but a bit cool in the shade. The week is set to improve, though. Could be painting weather!

Locks 0, miles 11½


Adam said...

Gosport is normally teamed with a motor boat called Bascote. They came and moored behind us as Hawkesbury Junction last year, and I was amazed how they managed to get a 70 foot boat so easily into a 71 foot gap, and then bring the other alongside. I chatted to the owners about the boats, and they said that apart from one trip a year when they take a load of coal down to Newbury, they usually just take the butty with them for fun!

Geoff & Mags said...

Thanks Adam
You're right, it was Bascote. I made a mental note as we went past, but the memory is not what it was!

Anonymous said...

thats a mandarin duck, not a hybrid lives in asia