We left Ellesmere yesterday morning after a final bit of shopping for perishables, cruising out of the arm and onto the service wharf for water and to dispose of the rubbish and recycling. On Friday Val and John and Harry the dog had been across to spend the afternoon with us. We’re going to miss them now as we move further away.
Back through the brick-lined bore of Ellesmere Tunnel.
We cruising waters now that we’ve not seen since last December. It seems to have been a very long winter…
The canal threads it’s way between the meres, shallow lakes left behind by the retreat of the ice at the end of the last Ice Age.
Blake Mere to the north…
…and the larger Cole Mere to the south.
That’s a beautiful thatched cottage overlooking the water. Chocolate box.
Oncoming boat at Bridge 55
I was surprised at how light the traffic was, but of course Saturday is traditionally change-over day for the hire bases. It did get busier later in the day.
We left the meres behind as we headed towards Bettisfield, crossing the embankment of Hampton Bank just as the sun broke through the hazy clouds.
Just west of Bettisfield the canal crosses into Wales again. There’s a spur of the Principality extending south and east into England, known as the Maelor Region, or Maelor Saesneg in Welsh.
The canal cuts across the southern extremity, then skirts the border on the English side until it reaches Whitchurch. The region has been part of several counties in the past, Cheshire, part of Flintshire, and nearly Shropshire. It now comes under Wrexham County Borough Council.
On the long straight across Bettisfield and Whixall Mosses. We cross the border back into England along here somewhere…
At the western end of the region the mosses are wild and uncultivated.
But beyond the Prees Branch junction they’ve been drained for grazing. But they still flood in wet weather…
The Prees Branch goes off to the right, south.
Just past the branch is Morris Lift Bridge, the first of several going this way, and the hardest to lift. It takes 80 turns of the windlass to get the thing up… and another 55 to drop it. I know, I counted them!
We had a bit of luck with a boat coming the other way at Tilstock Park, we were waved through the lift bridge as another boat was coming the other way. Then we had a very pleasant hour in the sunshine before mooring up near Duddleston Bridge.
Today we’ve stayed put, the day has been cooler and we’ve had rain this afternoon. Tomorrow is supposed to be fine. though. Hope so, we’ll be dropping down Grindley Brook Locks in the morning.
Locks 0, miles 10