Thursday, April 22, 2021

Ellesmere, then points west–for a little while.

We returned to Ellesmere last Sunday, shopping to be done and tanks to fill and empty as appropriate. We’d had a couple of days watching the boats going past near Prees Junction, then much of the same at Hampton Bank before heading back to the metropolis.

While we were on the moorings near the junction a large log came along, carried slowly downstream on the current. Enough wood there for a week or two once it had dried out. But despite my best efforts I couldn’t lift it out of the canal so finally gave up and left it roped the the bank.

At 4 feet long and 18 inches in diameter I worked out that it weighs in at around half a ton. No wonder I couldn’t retrieve it. I did think of a cunning plan later using the hydraulic Morris Lift Bridge a couple of hundred yards away, but it’s a bit busy on the water to tie up the bridge for a half-hour or so.

Moored at Hampton Bank

Anyway, as I mentioned, we toddled back to Ellesmere on Sunday, arriving soon after lunchtime and mooring opposite the service wharf.

Into the woods at Colemere

Our first ducklings this year, but we’ve spotted another couple of broods today.

Ellesmere Tunnel

Yesterday, having topped up the cupboards and being disappointed by the none-appearance of Mag’s prescription at the chemist (a cock-up at the surgery end, it transpires), we set off up towards the border.

We were planning to head all the way to Llangollen, but we’ll now have to return to town next week for Mag’s meds. Then we’ll try again.

We stopped near Frankton Junction last night, then continued on to moor above New Marton Locks today.

Another beautiful day…

If you going to meet a boat, inevitably it’s going to be at a bridge…

Helped up New Marton Bottom Lock

Moored above New Marton Locks after filling with water and loading half a dozen bags of solid fuel from the local coal merchant.

I know, it’s very warm at the moment, but we are talking English weather, aren’t we. Unpredictable doesn’t really do it justice. Any left come summer will be sheeted up and ready for the autumn.

New Marton Top Lock looking splendid in the sunshine

Coal boat Mounbatten and its’ sister Jellicoe, are in dry dock near Derby at the moment, and the uncertainty about the breach near Hurleston which may prevent them getting back to base has left us sourcing fuel elsewhere. At least we’re hardly using any diesel. At the moment the solar array provides us with more than enough power on a day to day basis.

We’ll probably turn around again near The Poachers at Gledrid, aiming to be back at Ellesmere (again!) next week.

Locks 2, miles 11

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

It's suddenly gotten busy!

 After several months of just seeing the odd boat chugging past, this afternoon has seen a convoy of hire boats heading upstream from Whitchurch Marina to points west. Of course, it’s the first stage of lockdown easing today, and self catering accommodation is now allowed. Boats fit into that category.

There’ll be an large increase in traffic now I expect, as private leisure craft owners can now also have extended trips.  

After a couple of nights on the mooring rings near Roundthorn Farm, during which we had a Tesco delivery (the first for ages!) and Amber and I had some splendid walks around Whixall and Fens Mosses, we cruised up to Tilstock Park today, turned around and returned to moor near Prees Junction.

It’s been a mixed bag of weather, a cold wind with snow and sleet showers, but with spells of warm sunshine too.

On the long straight across the moss last Friday.

A better day today as we left the moorings.

Morris Lift Bridge

Eighty-five turns of the windlass to raise it!

We were lucky to have this done for us by a boat coming the other way on Friday, but weren’t so lucky today.

With boats now allowed to move there’s been a steady stream passing westward towards Wales, mostly hirers, and a few going the other way. Those heading towards the Main Line are going to have their plans thwarted though…

Notice Alert

Llangollen Canal
Location: Between Bridge 3 and Bridge 4, Hurleston, Llangollen Canal
Starts At: Bridge 3, Martins Bridge
Ends At: Bridge 4, Lees Bridge
Up Stream Winding Hole: Stoneley Green Winding Hole, close to Bridge 10, Stoneley Green Bridge
Down Stream Winding Hole: Hurleston Junction

Monday 12 April 2021 13:00 until further notice

Type: Navigation Closure
Reason: Repair

Original message:

Please be advised navigation is closed between Bridge 3, Martins Bridge and Bridge 4, Lees Bridge on the Llangollen Canal due an issue with a culvert.

Stop planks are being installed and we will be dewatering this section of canal to enable our teams to complete the necessary investigations.

An update will be provided Friday 16 April.

You can view this notice and its map online here:

Just as lockdown eases and folk can get out and about the most popular cruising route on the network is closed. Typical.

Locks 0, miles 7½

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Just killing time…

Thanks Carol, we’ve taken your advice and confirmed that booking for hull blacking in Chirk Marina in the middle of next month. It’ll actually be good to spend a few days off the boat, I reckon.

So we’ve got a bit of time to kill now, shouldn’t be a problem, we seem to have spent the last 12 months mostly doing just that!

We moved down to Ellesmere last week and spent the Easter weekend there, then another couple of days waiting for that strong northerly to ease a bit. Such a shock after several fine, warm days to suddenly have a bitterly cold wind and snow!

Still, it was calmer yesterday (not calm, calmer…), so we pushed across to the services for sanitary arrangements then headed off downstream.

The Ellesmere Arm is only half-full, almost unknown for an Easter week. It’ll all change after this coming weekend though! The Glorious 12th has taken on a whole new meaning!

It was quite a dull day, just odd spells of sunshine but not enough to offset that wind.

Ellesmere Tunnel…

…and past Blake Mere.

This chap was looking smug in his best bib and tucker – off to impress the ladies no doubt!

We weren’t sure how far to go; I toyed with the idea of stopping on the rings above Hampton Bank Bridge, but we toddled on another 10 minutes and pulled in on the embankment instead. 

With the wind blowing straight in off the towpath it was somewhat interesting getting tied up… 

Worth it though, it’s sunny all day here. If there is any sun.

While we were in Ellesmere I picked up and installed a remote monitor for the solar controller. The hardest bit was running the comms cable back to the engine room.

As you can see, it’s sunny today. I won’t need to run the engine, the batteries were fully charged again by 11:00 this morning.

Amber met a playful 18 month old malamute called Tia this morning and had a whale of a time.

A couple of days here then we’ll push on to Whixhall Moss and Prees Junction to spend a little time there. Fabulous walks across the mosses that we both enjoy.

Locks 0, miles 5½ 

Thursday, April 01, 2021

New month, new loo.

Regular readers will know that I’ve intended to remove our separating loo, reverting back to a cassette due to the change in CRT’s policy regarding the disposal of solid waste.

Well, while we’ve been pottering about for the last few weeks the bathroom has been reconfigured, the wash basin is now where it started out in the corner and the new Thetford 403 sits just inside the door. I’m quite pleased with the result.

If at some point in the future a workable solution is developed I will be putting a separating loo back in as it’s the most environmentally way forward. It’ll be a DIY solution though, in the space where the Thetford lives now.

Emptying two cassettes the other day reminded me why I disliked the system so much before… Still, needs must.

Mags has had her second Covid jab, so that’s sorted now but we’re still being careful.

The old loo and associated bits and pieces went off to its’s new home yesterday where it’ll be installed in a converted horse box. Good old eBay, eh.

We’re a half hour outside Ellesmere today, and will be heading there for the weekend again. There’s a few more boats about as well now, but it’ll get really busy in a week or two as lockdown restrictions ease further.

A few photos from the last week or two…

Those strong winds brought down a large tree across the River Ceiriog…

Mags enjoying a sunny trip down New Marton Locks.

That pair of Mandarins again

Bovine gongoozlers near Val Hill.

We’re still up in the air as far as plans are concerned; I‘d like to get Seyella’s bottom blacked while we’re on the Langollen, we’ve an invitation to stay with friends Val and John when the rules allow, and have a chance at a slot in the middle of May. Not sure whether to take it or book a dry dock for DIY further away.

Locks 4, miles 27