Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A bit of wind, a bit of rain, a bit of wood and a bit of a bump!

The wind has stayed with us from yesterday afternoon, not too bad, more of a nuisance. It rained overnight but was dry but very threatening as we got away around half-past eleven.

Grey skies with just a gleam of misplaced optimism on the southern horizon.SAM_7527

Just up the canal were the last two locks, New Marton Bottom and Top, raising the canal a final 12½ feet.

New Marton Top Lock, with a fine lock cottage alongside….SAM_7531

…and a twee little brick bridge over the by-wash.

At St. Martins Moor the open rolling countryside gives way to hillier terrain, forcing the canal to twist and turn to follow the contour. The A5 crosses near the settlement delightfully named Preesgweene, and there’s a recent but sympathetically designed development alongside the bridge.

Lion Quays, moorings, pub, restaurant and hotel.SAM_7533

The bends reach their height at Chirk Bank, where the canal turns more than 90° left to run along the side of the Ceiriog Valley.

Looking over the valley

The channel along here is concrete edged for strength, and every so often there’s a narrow bit for stop planks. I failed to spot one, navigating in the centre of the channel I caught the right-hand peninsular a fair thump,  causing the boat to heel to the left. A large log I liberated this morning rolled across the roof and disappeared over the side with a splash.

I couldn’t leave this hazard to navigation in the cut, so chased it back downstream, got a rope around it and hauled it back aboard.


We moored a little further on, fairly well sheltered from the rising wind.

We’re only 10 minutes from Chirk Aqueduct, where the canal crosses the River Ceiriog and also crosses in Wales. There’s a footpath across the fields alongside the river with good views of the aqueduct and adjacent and more recent railway viaduct.

Canal Aqueduct and taller railway viaductDSC_0132


It was starting to get duskish by the time we’d climbed back up to the road above the river, so the next shot is a bit gloomy.DSC_0138

Both structures have 10 arches, but the viaduct is 30 feet higher. The aqueduct was completed in 1801, the viaduct 47 years later. I’ll try for a better picture in the morning.

Walking back over the aqueduct

Not sure what we’re doing tomorrow. Rain isn’t a problem, but the wind is. Chirk aqueduct is a bit sheltered by the viaduct, and is less exposed anyway. But Pontcysyllte could be interesting in a bit of a blow! We’ve a couple of hours cruising to decide before we get there.

Locks 2, miles 3½

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