Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Visitors for lunch, bits for the stove fan and a cruise into Wales. Not to mention a dusting of snow…

Hmm. After that title there’s hardly any point in writing a post!

Good friends Val, John and Carol arrived yesterday, bearing gifts. Val had made lunch and brought it along, saving me a job, as well as cakes, biscuits and a selection of jams and chutneys. Christmas all over again!

It was a bright but chilly day, so after lunch Val, Carol and I walked off the food with a toddle to Chirk aqueduct and back.

Carol, Val and the hounds on the aqueduct, overlooked by the railway viaduct.IMG_3194
Little Harry has had two major operations operations on his back. Being a Dachsund he’s prone to back trouble. He’s not so bad now, although he gets a bit sore if he walks too far. He’s very fond of Meg, hanging off her ears and beard if he gets the chance. She tolerates the attention, only giving him a gentle warning if he pulls too hard.

Snow followed by frost left the untreated roads and footpaths a bit slippery in places when I set off for my run this morning, so I took it a bit steadier than I would have otherwise. A slightly less challenging training session is preferable to A&E with a broken ankle…  

After Meg walking I walked the short distance to Calfire, picking up an new motor and fan blade for our 7 year old Ecofan. It’s still working, but the motor bearings are badly worn and it’s very noisy.

A job for later…

It was nearly noon before we got away, unfortunately the early sun had disappeared behind increasing clouds by then, but the temperature had risen a bit.

Leaving our mooring at The Poachers
The pub used to be called The Poachers Pocket, but it’s signed as just The Poachers now.

The canal turns left at Chirk Bank to run above the River Ceiriog until it crosses on Chirk Aqueduct.

Looking across the valley into Wales  IMG_3197

Someone’s seen The Hobbit
"…In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat; it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle….."
The Hobbit, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien CBE. First published 1937 by George Allen & Unwin Ltd.

There are eagles in the book, too, but no buzzards…

Out onto Chirk Aqueduct, with the dark entrance to Chirk Tunnel at the far end.IMG_3207

Over the river and the border into Wales.IMG_3208

Ta lots. Diolch yn fawr

It’s slow going across the aqueduct and through the tunnel. A rough mental calculation as we pushed our way through the tunnel gave me a result of just under 1Km/hour for the opposing flow. Add this to the fact that 20 tonnes of water has to squeeze through the narrow gaps between the hull sides and bottom, and the internal profile of the bore for every boat-length travelled and it’s understandably slow. Applying more throttle doesn’t help; you just dig the stern in, further increasing the boat’s draught, and the stern tends to screw over to the left with the torque from the prop. So it’s best to run at just above tickover, just making headway.

In Chirk Tunnel
It took 14 minutes to pass through the 459 yard long tunnel… That’s just over 1mph…

Chirk Tunnel cutting is often a good place for a bit of firewood foraging, and today was no different. Someone had already been at a recently blown-down birch, but there was enough left to make a stop worthwhile…IMG_3214

The canal rarely freezes due to the continuous flow down to Hurleston, but the basins off the main line can sometimes be locked in. Not so at the moment though, it’s too warm.

Chirk Marina, not ice-bound… yet

We had the last tunnel, Whitehouse, to negotiate, another tedious though shorter journey, balancing the throttle with the tiller to try to stay in the middle of the narrow channel. If anything, this one seemed worse than Chirk.

Then we were out and turning left onto the side of the valley of another river, this time the Dee.

Looking back at the railway viaduct crossing the Dee valley near NewbridgeIMG_3222

It’s seemed a long trip to cover just less than 4 miles, but at least we got tied up, looking out over the valley, before the rain started.

Having just seen the weather forecast promising gale-force winds for tomorrow, I think we might postpone our crossing of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct…

Locks 0, miles 3¾

1 comment:

Sue said...

Day off tomorrow Geoff!!

Don't you dare!