After a couple of days at Trevor it was time to move on a bit. We’d not been idle, on Wednesday we were picked up and taken for dinner at our friends, Val and John’s, house. John needed some help in cropping an old willow tree growing in the garden too, so a couple of hours later their wood store was full and the tree was considerably smaller. A good job done.
So Thursday morning we set off, struggling over the mud bank under Bridge 29W and wending our way between the hire boats to the head of the aqueduct.
There’s very little water under Bridge 29W!
The bridge numbering demonstrates that this was intended to be the main line of the navigation, heading over through Ruabon and meeting the Mersey at Netherpool, now Ellesmere Port. Bridge 30 is the now-blocked one at the end of the arm, and 31W crosses the Llangollen feeder channel bringing water down from the Dee.
The chicane formed by the Anglo Welsh hire boats.
Under Bridge 31W. Note the similarity in design to 29W.
We made steady progress against the flow, scraping the bottom occasionally if we drifted off the main channel. We are just about on the limit of the recommended draught for this section.
Heading for the hills…
Through the first single-width section just past Sun Trevor.
This final upper section of the waterway was not originally planned to carry traffic, it was intended to be a feeder for the Ellesmere Canal. Hence the limited dimensions. It was plagued by breaches, the worst occurring in 1945 which resulted in washing out a section of the Ruabon to Barmouth railway line. The first train of the day, a mail and goods train, crashed into the breach, killing one and injuring two others. Most of the train was destroyed by fire.
In the 1950s an enterprising manager at the British Transport Commission, at that time responsible for the navigable waterways, made arrangements with the Mid and South-East Cheshire Water Board for a supply of domestic water to be taken from Hurleston Reservoir. The reservoir was built around 1808 to supply the Chester Canal. The payback was that the water company would maintain the feeder from Horseshoe Falls to Trevor. The reservoir was extended in 1959 to accommodate the increased demand, and the channel here was repaired and strengthened using the concrete edges in evidence today.
We pulled in at a regular spot, just shy of Llandyn Lift Bridge, with a fine view down the Dee valley.
We had a hard frost overnight, a taste of things to come I think, but the clear skies gave us a bright sunny day for the last hour or so into the mooring basin at Llangollen. It’s only 1¼ miles, but it’s slow going.
Setting off this morning
We had to give way to a day boat from Llangollen Wharf at the start of the narrows leading to the linear moorings…
...but that was the only one we saw today.
More narrows above the town
We weren’t surprised to see the mooring basin almost empty, just one other boat tucked into the far corner.
With no free power here now it’s a less attractive proposition…
The white structure on the left is the Eisteddfod Pavilion.
We’ll stay here over the weekend, but will need to be back out on the main line on Monday to avoid being frozen in when the Arctic weather arrives.
Locks 0, miles 4½