Friday, February 20, 2015

Mixed countryside and a bit of luck

Leaving Ellesmere the Llangollen Canal passes through a changing landscape as it heads generally north and west towards Whitchurch. We threaded our way between the meres yesterday, emerging into rolling farmland.
Today we followed the 300 foot contour, winding around the higher ground before reaching the flat, open countryside of Whixall Moss.

Our only opposing boat today, met near the moorings in BettisfieldIMG_3585

The route across the peat bogs of Whixall Moss is carried on two long, straight embankments. The first one, south of the junction of the Prees Branch, is wooded on both sides.

Across the mossIMG_3586

Some of the trees look a little precarious!IMG_3587
We’ve been back in Wales for the last 2 miles!
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Maelor



A historical area of north-eastern Wales is called the Maelor, and includes a peninsular jutting south-east into Shropshire for about 10 miles.





Beyond the branch junction the moss has been more cultivated, and scattered farmhouses follow the line of the canal.IMG_3592

Some fields are more suitable for rice than for anything else!IMG_3594

Although the evidence makes you think otherwise, the peat bogs have been slowly drying out since they were exposed some 20,000 years ago. The land has steadily subsided, making it necessary to shore up the sides of the canal.

Recent bank repairs.
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The open land gives way to undulating pasture again after Platt Lane.

Platt Lane Bridge.
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There are 48 hour moorings here beyond the bridge but they can be a bit soggy. A better option is to moor the other side of the bridge, back around the corner.

A bit big for my 14” chain saw…
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We’d passed one lift bridge near the Prees Branch, there’s another at Tilstock Park, unusually painted a fetching shade of (peeling) olive drab.

Tilstock Park Lift BridgeIMG_3602

Our intention was to get to Whitchurch today, but the new moorings near Duddleston Bridge looked inviting, so we pulled in there instead.
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These rings were installed last summer. I thought I might be able to offer an update to Paul Balmer for his excellent canal guides, but someone has beaten me to it.

Shortly after we stopped I heard the plaintive whine of a chainsaw somewhere ahead of us, then a little later a Trust workboat passed with a couple of large logs in the hold and fresh wood chippings on the gunwale. Worth investigating…
A short walk to the second set of mooring rings closer to the bridge was worth it; they’d dropped a small heap of thinner logs on the towpath. So I moved the boat up, unlimbered the trusty chainsaw and sliced them up. Enough for a few days, anyway. Never look a gift horse in the mouth, I say!

We’ll move on down to Whitchurch tomorrow morning, only about an hour away.

Locks 0, miles 6½

2 comments:

Tom and Jan said...

North and west to Whitchurch???

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hey you two--I've not been able to read blogs on a regular basis, between taking care of Les, teaching three courses and doing all the daily boat chores. I am just now coming up for air and I think the last time I checked in with you, Seyella was on the Shroppie. You don't let any moss grow on you and we are envious indeed!

It has been 3 years since we were last up that way. Seems like an eternity. We are finally cruising again and once we get through the Milton Keynes stoppage on 13 March we are headed up the Leicester arm to the T & M, turning left and slowly making our way ever northward. I do hope we finally meet up some day soon!
Until then stay warm, stay dry,
JaqXX