Monday, March 26, 2018

Same old, same old…

I’m running out of things to talk about as we shuffle back and forth on this now very familiar bit of the Llangollen Canal, hence the lack of the recent post. I could waffle on about a Soviet chemical weapon attack on British soil, or antisemitism in the Labour Party, but this is a boating blog, so I won’t.

We left Ellesmere last Tuesday, heading back upstream and stopping near Maesbury and at The Poachers for a few days each, before moving on again today.

Turning round at the end of the Ellesmere ArmDSCF2752
The fibreglass cruiser is in a vulnerable spot now that boat traffic, especially from the hire fleets, is increasing.
Carrying on an established tradition, this is based on a retired maintenance boat.DSCF2754
In the sixties and seventies a lot of private pleasure craft and hire boats were converted working boats, often one full-length hull being cut in two and new bow and sterns welded on to make two new boats. Add cabins and you’ve two forty-footers.

We stopped near Maesbury, with nursery fields full of expectant ewes on both sides of the canal. The local farmer was attentive, checking the flocks from his quad bike twice a day, but inevitably there were some casualties…
He did save one ewe struggling with a breach birth, but unfortunately the lamb died.

Our bird feeders were once again well received…

The robin was desperate trying to copy the acrobatic tits, so I took pity on him and scattered seed on the ground.

I was busy too, hanging upside-down in the engine hole cleaning, de-rusting and painting the triangular bilge below the shaft. It wasn’t fun, but I’d put the job off for the last six months… And it looks better now. Rust treatment, primer and two coats of top-coat should hold it for a while.
The stern gland was repacked too.

On Friday we moved to The Poachers for the weekend, only seeing four boats but meeting three of those at bridges or on awkward bends.DSCF2780


We had visitors yesterday, Val and John came over with our latest mail delivery. It’s been very handy being so close to them for all sorts of packages. Next week we’ll be staying with them for a few nights while Matt at Anglo-Welsh at Trevor slaps a couple of coats of blacking on the hull.

The weather has been pretty good, generally cold nights and fine days. But it’s due to turn again from now, becoming more unsettled. We might even have some more snow!
These ducks kept us entertained. They’re so used to being fed they trail up and down the towpath outside the pub, quaking plaintively at anyone passing by. The only time they return to the water is when a dog gets too near.
I made the mistake of putting a heap of birdseed under the bushes on Saturday afternoon. After that, as soon as I stepped off the boat, I was being mugged!

Lots of boats about today as we moved up to Chirk Marina.

Crossing Chirk Aqueduct

We were being recorded from the air as we crossed the River Ceiriog into Wales, a chap’s drone was up over the valley.
The owner asked if it was ok to save the footage, and offered us a copy. When it comes I’ll post it on here if he agrees.

At the far end we waited for two day boats to emerge from the tunnel and start the crossing of the aqueduct.DSCF2795
The boat on the left is Drifting Angel, selling ice creams and sweets.

We’d had a Tesco delivery at Monk’s Bridge, but there were a couple of things I’d forgotten to order, so we pulled in on the north side of the tunnel so I could make a quick trip up to the Spar in Chirk. Then we moved on, through the wooded cutting, and moored opposite Chirk Marina.

More signs of Spring now the clocks have gone forward…

A bank of daffodils

Wild garlic greening up the slopes of Chirk CuttingDSCF2797

I’d picked up some logs on the way back from Ellesmere, so got them sliced and diced this afternoon.

Not sure how much draught there is in the Trevor dry-dock, so I’ve deliberately kept the coal stocks low. We struggled to get into the shed at Stone for the last blacking, we finished up with four guys standing on the front to raise the stern enough to get over the plinth! We should be alright with a half tank of diesel and a nearly empty water tank by then.

Tomorrow we’ll just pop through Whitehouse Tunnel and moor on the rings on the north side for a couple of nights. There’s some work to do on the aft uxter plates now the bilge is done.

Locks 2, miles 12½ since last post.

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