Thursday, February 02, 2012

Two Tunnels, Two Aqueducts and One Lift Bridge

What a busy day, and all crammed into less than 4½ miles!

Another cold night, down to below -6°. My 5 mile run this morning was, I reckon, the coldest I’ve ever done in 10 years of training. Breathing hard makes the throat raw in these low temperatures, so I’ve got a persistent tickly cough. Roll on Spring!

The Rockers and I took Little Molly and Meg down to the pasture below Chirk Aqueduct this morning. We met Ann and Big Molly coming back, she’d had the same idea…

As impressive as the canal aqueduct and railway viaduct are from above, they are awesome from below on a bright morning.

Chirk Aqueduct and Viaduct.SAM_0002 Chirk Aqueduct
We’re on the Welsh bank of the River Ceiriog here. So I should say Afon Ceirog, shouldn’t I?

The viaduct is the higher by 30 feetSAM_0004 Chirk Aqueduct
Spectacular, aren’t they.SAM_0005 Chirk Aqueduct
SAM_0009 Chirk Aqueduct
George and Carol suitably impressed, Molly obviously isn’t!SAM_0008 Chirk Aqueduct

We pulled pins at around 10:45, for a change with us at the front and Rock’n’Roll at the rear. George was aboard alone, Carol had returned to the meadow below the aqueduct to get a picture of us all crossing into Wales. You'll have to go to their blog to see it.

Into WalesSAM_0006


There’s Carol!SAM_0003

Chirk Tunnel comes immediately after the aqueduct, 460 yards long pushing against the flow coming down from Llangollen.

Moore2Life emerges into daylight at the north portal of Chirk TunnelSAM_0008

George waited for Carol to catch up at the other end, then came through to find somewhere to moor for a visit to Chirk. We and M2L pushed on till Chirk Marina, where Chas and Ann peeled off to top up the diesel tank.

Chirk Marina.SAM_0011

The main line of the canal is still ice-free but any backwaters or basins are frozen, about ½ an inch of ice on the water. The staff here had broken the ice up so Chas could manoeuvre to the pump. This off-line freezing gave us a little trouble later on…..

The second tunnel today was Whitehouse, only 190 yards long.

Whitehouse TunnelSAM_0015
Both of the tunnels and both aqueducts are narrow, allowing only one-way traffic at a time. All tend to be bottlenecks during the busy Summer months. Not so today though, only a couple of other boats moving.

After the tunnel the canal bends to the northwest, following the Dee valley, cut into it’s southerly slope.

Over the Dee.SAM_0020
You can just catch a glimpse of the railway viaduct through the trees.

The concrete-edged canal is fairly straight to Fron Lift Bridge, below the village of Froncysllte rising up the valley side.

Through Fron Lift Bridge.SAM_0024

There’s a right hand bend, a short straight (past a water point not mentioned in Nicholson’s Guide), then the vista opens up as the canal moves onto Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Telford’s “Stream in the Sky”.

Onto the aqueduct

The water is carried in a cast iron trough, sat on top of stone pillars. This revolutionary concept was met with doubt, but after 10 years of construction and over 200 years of use the design has been thoroughly vindicated.

Looking down on the Dee.SAM_0037

There’s a railed towpath on one (the eastern) side, but the other is completely unprotected.

Just the original cast iron trough to keep you on the straight and narrow….SAM_0032

Gulp! Don’t look down!SAM_0033

Looking east towards Englandpano
The aqueduct doesn’t really sag as you go over, the bend in the towpath rail is an unfortunate effect of my photo splicing software….

Off the aqueduct the route to Llangollen takes a hard left under Rhos-y-Coed Bridge, but we carried straight on, through the narrow gap between the laid-up Anglo Welsh hire boats, to find a mooring in Trevor Basin.

Looking back on the “chicane”SAM_0040
You can see ice on the water here, this had been broken up by the boatyard’s staff moving boats about, but no-one had moved in the upper basin for a couple of days.

It took a lot of to-ing and fro-ing to break up the surface enough to allow us to wind and moor up.

Moored in Trevor basin.SAM_0042

Moore2Life arrived an hour later, and with the shortage of space here, have breasted up alongside.

We’ll be here for the weekend, now. Visitors on Saturday.

Locks 0, Miles 4½


Carol said...

We've all had a great day then!

Carol said...

Hi Geoff, that water point is marked in our book! Have you seen the video yet on my blog?