Well the “Beast From the East” arrived in Llangollen yesterday, though compared to other parts of the country ours is more domesticated than wild…
While others have suffered with deep snow and drifts, this neck of the woods has only had a dusting of powdery stuff, no more than an inch or two.
It has been cold though. Minus four and minus five these last couple of nights. We decided to move on today, so, after a quick provisioning trip down into town, we set off through the narrows.
Fine views as we clear the trees and head down the Dee valley
I wasn’t looking forward to crossing Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. The bitter easterly would be blowing right up the valley, or so I thought. In fact it hadn’t bothered me much at all so far, just short stretches where it funneled in but it was instant numb cheekbones when it did.
But for some reason there was little wind across the valley as we passed over, just a brisk breeze at the far end.
Looking downwind, up the valley
We got to the lift bridge at Froncysyllte and I told Mags to stay inside. It was still cold, even though we’d seen a bit of sunshine.
I tied up, walked up to the bridge with my windlass and started turning the manual pump for the hydraulics to raise the bridge deck. And nothing happened. The shaft was hard to turn, and I thought it was just thick oil from the very low temperatures. So I wound it harder and faster, working up a sweat to no avail. I tried turning it backwards and forwards again, and still the bloody thing wouldn’t lift. So after 5 minutes I gave up and called the CRT helpline.
The two people who came out had an idea what the problem was. It had happened earlier in the week with a work boat. The bridge deck gets stuck down to it’s support base as water running into the joint freezes. I’d already got a kettle full of boiling water ready, so with one pouring and the other winding it should have shifted…but it didn’t.
“Give it a nudge” was the suggestion. So I did. With 18 tons of narrowboat. That did it.
So I got away with not having to raise and lower it. Nice one. I left them scraping off the build-up of ice , so hopefully it’ll not happen again. Today, at any rate…
We tied up a half-mile further on, in sunshine which wasn’t to last. I’d just got the dish set up for tonight’s TV and the snow started.
I’m glad we didn’t have to cruise in that!
It’s another cold one tonight, half-seven now and we’re down to -4°. Add in the wind chill and it’s considerably less. That’s outside of course. In here it’s 28°. Just about warm enough for Mags. I'm in shorts...
Hi Diane, Brian. Yes, the electric points in the basin are taped up so they aren’t used, but here on the main line they’re still available for the winter moorers.
Locks 0, miles 5