Thursday, January 08, 2015

Catching a weather window.

After yesterday’s damp and breezy weather today started overcast but dry. And quite a bit calmer, which was a relief. By the time we were ready to go the clouds had started to break giving us sunny spells.

In between showers yesterday Meg and I got in a couple of walks, one along the edge of Whixall Moss.

Whixall Moss, flat as far as the eye can see.Panorama_0

The water in the drainage ditches is tinted by the peat.IMG_3146

Near Bridge 47 someone has laid a bit of a garden area, with wood-chipping walkways and Buddhist statuary.

The centrepiece is a representation of Prajñāpāramitā, the Goddess of Wisdom.

IMG_3151 detail
A bit of research shows that the garden is attached to the Taraloka Retreat, a Buddhist sanctuary for women.

Away from our mooring near Bettisfield this morning.IMG_3154
I really must clean that roof…

A mile on and the canal crosses a shallow valley on an embankment, giving great views out over the surrounding farmland.

Crossing Hampton Bank
It’s usually a popular spot to moor, but it is exposed and I think the windy weather has put folk off stopping here. I would have thought twice, too.

We had a bit of a pause at Bridge 52, where a chap was working in the water repairing the bridge approaches. He was soon out of the way though, allowing us to carry on. IMG_3159
But then he had to wait for another boat going the other way. Surprisingly, given the fine weather, the only moving boat we’ve seen today.

Past Lyneal Wharf, the home of the Lyneal Trust charity, the farmland starts to give way to woodland as the meres near Ellesmere are approached.

Looking out across Colemere…IMG_3164

…and Blakemere

The canal threads it’s way between the two meres, large lakes formed when the ice retreated after the last Ice Age. There’s a very pleasant walk around Colemere.

After the meres the canal penetrates a ridge through Ellesmere Tunnel, only 87 yards long and the first of the three met on the navigation. All three are a bit of a pain Wales-bound. The strong flow eastwards makes it slow progress; if you put too much throttle on, the stern tends to screw towards the left wall, too little and you go nowhere!

Ellesmere TunnelIMG_3168

Half a mile beyond the western portal of the tunnel is the junction with the Ellesmere Arm, a short branch that leads to a small winding hole on the edge of the town.

We availed ourselves of the services on the main line before reversing to head off down the Arm for a mooring. It’s a popular spot, but I was surprised to see the bank lined with boats, with just one space available. We winded at the end and dropped into the slot.IMG_3170

The reason for being down here is the proximity of Tesco, on the site of a demolished dairy at the end of the Arm. Our cupboards are a little depleted. The town itself is well worth a visit, too.

We’ll be stopping here for a couple of days to avoid more wet and windy weather due tomorrow. A couple more trips to Tesco and the town shops are needed.

Locks 0, miles 5

No comments: