The last two days have seen us move back over the border, stopping last night near Whitehouse Tunnel, then arriving this afternoon to moor on the Poacher’s moorings, only to find them full! We managed to squeeze on the end, though.
The continuing cold weather has finally had an effect on the canal. Slushy, soft ice started forming on the canal on Wednesday night, carried in slicks on the flow downhill. Slightly thicker bits clung to the vegetation on the bank.
After we tied up we were kept entertained by this chap on the hunt for food…
One of our transatlantic cousins of course. The local population of indigenous Red Squirrels has long since been pushed out.
As dusk fell and the temperature dropped, more and thicker rafts of ice went floating past, a sign of things to come…
It snowed on and off throughout the night, leaving us with about 3” on the towpath.
Whitehouse Tunnel just ahead of our mooring
As we entered the tunnel we were treated to a glittering display of icicles hanging from the ceiling, caused by water dripping through the brickwork.
I don’t remember seeing this phenomenon before, usually tunnels stay warm enough to prevent ice forming. The freezing wind must have been blowing through the bore.
Out the other end the ice was getting thicker, stretching across the channel, and varying from about 4mm to 10mm thick in the more exposed patches.
I don’t think anyone’s going to be coming out of Chirk Marina for a few days…
The tree-lined cutting leading to Chirk Tunnel was mostly ice-free, the overhanging branches keeping the frost off, and then we reached Chirk Tunnel. I thought the icicles in Whitehouse Tunnel were pretty good, but was unprepared for the astounding showing here…
Some were longer, the roof of the boat broke them off and I had to duck under the remainder.
It was only at the north end of the tunnel, the south end is drier.
Back out into daylight there was a bit of thin ice to crunch through to get to the aqueduct, but it wasn’t anything like as thick or widespread as to the north.
Crossing back into England
The track-bed drains under the viaduct arches had frozen as well, but they weren’t a patch on the icicles in the tunnel…
We cruised the ice-free water above Chirk Bank, then turned to go under Gledrid Bridge to see a row of boats here outside The Poachers.
We snuck on the end, though. It’s been quiet on here all winter, sometimes we’ve been the only ones here.
It’s been warmer today, above zero from dawn to dusk. An improvement on yesterday, and the way things are shaping up for next week according to the forecast.
I riddled out and relaid the stove this morning as normal, it keeps ticking over so was still hot. Then I noticed something odd. The throat plate in the upper part of the firebox was looking a bit out of sorts. I knew it was getting past it’s life so had already sourced a replacement…
That’s what it should look like…
…I think we’ve had our money’s worth!
The fire draws better now as well!
Locks 0, miles 3¾