Monday, February 27, 2017

A helping hand on the way to Llangollen.

Yesterday we moved down to Froncysyllte, mooring overnight just short of the aqueduct. Large mats of vegetation  were floating down the canal again, this time I’m blaming Storm Doris rather than the veg cutting crews. There was a extensive raft at the northern end of Whitehouse Tunnel, but it had broken up by the time we left.

Whitehouse tunnel.

With it’s north/south orientation, at this time of year in the morning the sun almost shines straight into the southern entrance. If we had any, that is!

We were followed along the Dee embankment to Fron Lift Bridge by a couple in a canoe, and I was thinking that they’re deliberately holding back so they could take advantage of me lifting the bridge rather than having to carry their boat around it. I shouldn’t be so cynical; as we approached the bridge they shouted across that if they could borrow a windlass they’d open the bridge for us! I handed one across, they went past and Megan jumped off, lifted the bridge and we both went through.

Thanks, guys

We pulled around the corner and moored just past the water point while they carried on across the aqueduct to Trevor.

It was a windy night, but it had dropped by this morning. Our guests, Val and Caroline, arrived just after 10 and we set off after coffee.

Caroline and Val (and Meg!) on Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

We’d waited for a shower to ease, and had good views both up and down the valley as we crossed the aqueduct.

Cefn Mawr railway viaduct crossing the Dee downstream.IMG_3612

Gate Road Bridge just upstream
A fair bit of water in the river today.

We swung hard left under Bridge 31W and headed for Llangollen. At this point we had a decision to make. Plan A was to turn around at Bryn Howell Bridge and go back to where we started, but the alternative was to push on to Llangollen if the girls could get picked up from there. A phone call to Val’s husband John OK’d that, so we carried on through sunshine and showers.

All went well until we’d passed the first narrow section just beyond The Sun Trevor. There we came upon a CRT gang removing a tree that had fallen, blocking the channel.
We were asked to wait for a few minutes till they got the worst out of the way, then we were waved through as they moved the work-boat over to the offside. As we got alongside the tree we ran aground, not on the towpath side as I’d feared we might, but in the middle, leaning over to the left. And no amount of forward and reverse, rocking and pushing, would get us off. After 15 fruitless minutes one of the guys came up with a brilliant idea of towing us off backwards – with their Landrover. No problem with that!

With us out of the way they could poke around for the obstruction, and it turned out to be another limb of the fallen tree, broken off and trapped under the water at one end. With the aid of their boat they got it free to clear the channel.IMG_3620

If it’s still around when we come back it might get cut up and on our roof!

The rest of the trip was uneventful, and we arrived at the mooring basin at around 2 o’clock in a heavy, sleety shower. The rest of the crew were conspicuous by their absence…

Through the narrows above Llangollen

Heading for a pontoon in that squally shower.

I had to get changed when we were tied up, then we had lunch before John came over to pick our guests up.
Although the weather was a bit mixed we had a good day, I think Caroline has now got the boating bug. She was asking about hire boats… We’ll no doubt see her again before we leave the locality.

Now we’re here again we’ll stay a few days. Mags has a niece over on the coast, and she might be able to get across to see us. All go, ain’t it!

Locks 0, miles 7 (2 days) 

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