Friday, January 07, 2022

Back over the border.

After two fine days (and one wet one) moored opposite Chirk Marina it was time to move on.

The adage was right yesterday – “red sky in the morning, shepherds warning”

By mid morning it was raining mixed with sleety stuff. Not pleasant at all.

That’s why we held off till today, but we had to be tied up by lunchtime to avoid the next spell of rain moving in from the west.

I’d eyeballed some logs when out with Amber, so we paused to pick them up at the northern end of Chirk cutting, then cruised along to and through the tunnel.

We had to wait for a boat coming across Chirk Aqueduct but not for too long, although it takes twice as long to cross going up as it does heading down.

Over the River Ceiriog and back into England.

we pushed on along Chirk Bank and pulled in outside The Poachers. Quiet here, surprisingly. Tomorrow’s wet again so we’ll stay put I guess.

The new lithium batteries seem to be behaving themselves. They’re fully charged after 90 minutes off the engine, and seem to absorb more amps off the solar panels too. We were showing 22 amps at one point on Tuesday, not bad for this time of year. Of course, unlike Lead-Acid these won’t suffer by not being fully charged. In fact they prefer to stay between 20% and 80% of capacity. I just aim to put back what we take out.

We’re heading back to Ellesmere now, but it’ll be another 10 days or so before we get there.

Locks 0, miles 2½

Monday, January 03, 2022

We're back!

Hi all! It's been a while hasn't it!
I sort of lost the momentum for writing these last few weeks. With very little going on and problems with my laptop it was hardly worth putting pen to paper, or, in this case, fingertips to keyboard.

Anyway, we're all fine, had a quiet Christmas then had a day with friends Val and John on New Year's Day. 

We've managed to avoid the dreaded lurgy, so far at least, so that's good. But with the latest Moronic sorry - Omicron! strain taking over the country I'm not sure how long that will last. What will be will be I guess. We're taking every precaution to avoid infection, hoping that will be enough. 

We spent a few weeks in the Ellesmere area at the end of November and into December, just pottering about up to Frankton and Whittington Wharf and back, then out towards the mosses for a bit.

Storm Arwen towards the end of November was a tragedy for some, a nuisance for others but it supplied us with free fuel for a week or three from the several trees blown down across the towpath.

I was waiting for the components parts of my latest upgrade to be delivered before we set off towards Llangollen. We finally got going upstream in the second week of December, leaving Ellesmere for the last time in 2021.

A fine day, the 14th December.

First time through New Marton Locks this trip.

Not such pleasant weather that day...

We waited for a fuel delivery from Richard and Ruth at The Poachers, they keep us supplied with solid and liquid fuels during the winter, although the stoppage schedule this winter is awkward for boat deliveries. Then pushed on over the aqueducts and through the tunnels, up to Llangollen for Christmas.

Approaching Chirk Aqueduct

 Murky across the big one!

After crossing over the Dee on Pontythingy Aqueduct we cruised along the valley side above the river, arriving at Llangollen and mooring in the basin. It was busier here than we've seen it before, but then we've never been here for Christmas before.

The weather over the Christmas weekend was, as I'm sure you remember, murky, damp and dull. We left it until Wednesday 29th before leaving the basin and heading off through the narrows back to moor in Trevor Basin.

The narrows above Llangollen. 

There was no chance of seeing Dinas Bran from the moorings, the cloud was too low, but I caught a glimpse as we headed off.

It's a lot quicker going back downstream, especially through the narrows, and we were moored up in Trevor Basin soon after lunch.

Walks with Amber around the aqueduct...

As I mentioned earlier, we spent Saturday with friends Val and John, then today squeezed between the Anglo Welsh hire boats and back out to cross the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct again.

A bit clearer this time.

We topped up with water at the other end of the aqueduct, then cruised on to moor near Chirk Marina with a short pause to wait for a boat coming through Whitehouse Tunnel.
I mentioned earlier a project I was working on... well I've been toying with the idea of replacing our lead-acid batteries with lithium ones. They're longer lasting, faster to charge and capable of deeper discharge without damage. They're also considerably dearer...
Anyway I did some research, decided what we wanted and made some phone calls. It was Black Friday Week after all. I managed to negotiate a good deal on 3 x 80ah batteries (they'll give us the same usable power as the current 4 x 100 AGM lead-acid ones) and associated charge controller and bits and pieces to completely rewire the electrical cabinet.
It's a lot tidier now...

It not only looks prettier, it's early days but it performs better too. 

One unforeseen consequence of the difference in weight of the batteries is that we're now leaning a bit to the right. Removing over 100kg of LA batteries and installing 33kg of Lithiums has left us with a list equivalent to an eleven stone bloke stood on the gunnel! I've got to rearrange some ballast. I was using the old batteries for trimming but I've sold them now. 

And that's us up to date. Oh, wait a minute. I'm typing this on a brand new laptop too! Thanks Santa!

Locks 2, miles 50ish