Thursday, December 19, 2013

Across the border

I took Meg for another walk up to the Chirk aqueduct and tunnel this morning, to get pictures that weren’t quite so gloomy as last night’s.

That’s a bit better…SAM_7543
There’s even a train on the viaduct.

From the towpath

Last night was a bit wild and wet, but this morning was bright and calm, at least until mid morning when the cloud built up, the wind returned and we had the first of several showers.
We were away at around 10:30, 5 minutes later crossing the aqueduct and the border into Wales.

Looking west from the aqueduct

The River Ceiriog under the aqueduct and viaduct marks the border here…

It’s quite slow going across the aqueduct; a combination of the opposing water flow and the constricted channel. There were a group of walkers watching as we crossed, one asked if there was a speed limit on the aqueduct!
The tunnel is also slow going for the same reasons.

Brick-lined Chirk TunnelSAM_7545
The long exposure (3 secs) has caught leaves in the water as streaks. That shows how fast the water flows through the narrow sections. It’s a lot easier coming back!

Between this and Whitehouse Tunnel there’s lots of wood on the towpath, contractors have been busy cutting back for quite a distance. That should deal with the fuel supply for the way back.

I won’t be arguing with these guys for ownership of this bit…

Chirk MarinaSAM_7554
Last chance for diesel before the end; but we’re OK.

At Pentre the canal swings to the left again, this time clinging to the slope above the Dee valley. The railway, which has accompanied us since Chirk, heads north over another viaduct.

Newbridge railway viaductSAM_7558
This and the crossing at Chirk were both designed by Scottish engineer Henry Robertson. The Dee valley is broader than the Ceiriog valley, this one has 19 arches, almost twice as many as Chirk’s.

The village of Froncysyllte clings to the hillside to the SW of the river, with the canal running between the two. Limekilns were built here, handy for raw limestone and coal deliveries by canal.

Froncysyllte limekilns
There are linear moorings along here, restricting the canal to barely more than two boat-widths. Interesting in the summer when the hire boats are swarming…
A little further along a wider section is all that remains of the dock, used for loading and unloading stone and coal.

There’s a small lift-bridge to negotiate before the canal bends to the right, onto the massive embankment that carries it to Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

Fron Lift BridgeDSC_0131 

From here you can catch a glimpse of the impressive span….DSC_0130

We filled with water then moored, just 200 yards short of the start of the aqueduct. It was starting to get quite breezy by now, and the span is very exposed. We’d have had to scrape all the way along the side in the wind.
If the weather patterns remain the same, we should have calm, bright weather for crossing in the morning.

I got my recently acquired firewood sawed up, so we should be OK now for our stay in Llangollen.

Locks 0, miles 4


Sue Hunter said...

The photo you took of a gap in the limekilns moorings at Froncysyllte is our mooring! We won't be needing it till March though! Sue NB Beefur

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi Sue
You weren't there last time we came, either!
One of these days I'll get a picture with NB Beefur in it...
Have a good Christmas