Tuesday, 13 September 2016

48 hours in Llangollen and we head back again

10-12 September 2016

Unexpectedly I have internet this evening, hence two posts in one day!

So back to our visit to Llangollen - as mentioned previously Sue, Monty and I went to explore the town when we arrived on Saturday.  To get into town you have to cross this large bridge

Which is beautifully decorated with stunning floral displays

You get views of the steam train track and station

And of course the River Dee

Across the river is The Corn Mill - somewhere we had hoped to have Sunday lunch as we had mutual friends arriving to visit that day.  Sadly they were fully booked

So we booked at Fouzis across the road.  Four of us had the roast beef - probably not the best choice, but the pizza and lasagne were very good.

As we approached The Hand Hotel we came across this eclectic group of people who asked if we would take their photo. I went to hand Monty to Sue when they said they wanted him in the picture! I am not sure how impressed he was, but he stood there patiently until the deed was done.  On inquiring what the occasion was - the answer 'Nothing - we have just escaped from the local asylum'! A happy band of people having fun.

Behind them was some lovely gardens with picnic tables - I think they may have been part of the hotel - they are certainly in a great position.

And how is this for a private terrace?

From the town is a good view of Castell Dinas BrĂ¢n some 750 metres above the town - not somewhere we will be able to visit this trip.

Mind your language when in Llangollen!

The weather on Sunday was hot, dry and sunny and we had a great time with our friends Jane and Chris.  The reason for their visit was to deliver their black lab, Kiera, to be with us for the next two weeks whilst they are on holiday.  Monty was delighted to see her.

After they left Chris, Monty, Kiera and I set off to walk to the Horseshoe Falls.  We were following the horse drawn boat

After we had overtaken them the horse (either Hercules, Harley or Taffy) was allowed a break to trim the bushes.

The walk was worth it for the view of the falls.

 Kiera had been true to her breed and had a dip in the river on the way and would love to have gone in here had we let her, but we were concerned about the current, so kept her away.

Around 12 million gallons of water per day are drawn into the canal from the River Dee.  It is to supply water to the canals and help supply Cheshire with drinking water.  The water is directed into the canal by the Horseshoe Falls, which is a J-shaped weir designed by Thomas Telford. It was completed in 1808.  There is a grill to prevent river fish entering the canal.

 Retracing our steps we decided to stop for a beer at the Chainbridge Hotel - we had our eyes on the terrace overlooking the Dee.

 We had a long wait for a free table

but it was worth it for the view of the newly restored chain bridge

 and the River Dee

We were even lucky enough to be there as a steam train arrived

When we got back to the basin we found nb Chance had arrived.  We knew they might be on their way and since reading their blog we found they had pulled out all the stops and had a very long day motoring to get there in time to meet us.  We have met them before, but only in passing at locks.  Sue, Ken, Chris and I spent a great evening on their truly wonderful boat.  Thank you Doug and James - it is good to not be 'ships that pass at locks' any more!

Having missed out on lunch at The Corn Mill on Sunday, Chris and I headed there for lunch on Monday.  It was a little chilly, so we opted to sit inside, but we still had a good view

There is a working water wheel, but it is not easy to take a photo.  Inside are many items from its working past

We climbed to the top floor before we left where the views are even better.

So was it worth it?  Most definitely - Chris had a Welsh Rarebit and I had a duck, orange, pomegranate and pistachio nut salad.  Both were truly excellent.

A question to our Welsh relatives (or anyone else who speaks Welsh) - what does this mean?

The oddest thing I saw in Llangollen was this taxidermy studio - something I have never come across before.

And finally as we were about to leave Doug and James were heading back to their boat, so there was time to say farewell until the next time.

Monday 12th September 2016
Llangollen to Sun Trevor Pub moorings
2.25 miles, 0 locks

We headed off around 15:30 just before our 48 hours was up.  Just a very short trip today as we needed to be somewhere where Ken was certain he had a good phone and internet signal as he had a teleconference scheduled for 18:00.

Sue, Monty and I had an extra escort as we walked the route - both because the dogs needed a walk, but also to check that the narrows were clear.

 I did

and this was my reward

Chris is approaching our moorings for the night

The dogs were safely tied up allowing me to help moor when a disaster occurred

necessitating a fishing expedition

Sadly it was unsuccessful.  So what had Chris lost?  He had knocked his glasses off as he came into moor.  A phone call to the insurance company assured us that we could contact them when we get home.  In the meantime he has a spare pair.

Tuesday 13th September 2016
Sun Trevor Pub to above New Marton Locks
9.5 miles, 0 locks

Today was a day of contrasts.  It started hot, dry and very sunny.  The dogs and I headed off to walk the first couple of miles to the basin at Trevor.  So far, so good. However as we got round the corner to head for the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to find boats all over the place.  We managed to creep over to the right to wait our turn.

which came before long and we were able to proceed.  Kiera seemed to enjoy the view as much as Monty had on the way across on Saturday and yes, Jane and Chris, her lead was on and I was holding on very tight.

They settled down to view from the safer side

Once across the aqueduct the dogs and I jumped ship to attend to the lift bridge which turned out to be open, so there was nothing for us to do.  Unfortunately there were so many boats around it was a while before Chris could pull in to pick us up.  I just had to take this view again!

Onwards to Whitehouse tunnel to meet yet another traffic jam.

but we made it through safely

The next jam was at Chirk tunnel where we found a lady who had walked through to beseech with oncoming traffic to let them through.  Apparently they had been stuck whilst 10 boats had stormed through.  We let her and another boat through and off we went, Cleddau in the lead and we were followed by a Canaltime boat.

Cleddau emerged and we were nearing the end when I heard Ken shout 'STOP'.  I relayed the message to Chris and he to the boat behind.  We got the message to edge forward - again Chris passed the message to the boat behind us.  Slowly we crept out to find

Boats all over the place! We moved over behind Cleddau to wait for the hire boat on the aqueduct to 'uncork' the jam.  They, however, got to near the end, saw all the boats and stopped!!  There were people all over the place trying to encourage them to move forward!  They did eventually

and we were able to proceed

and once again the dogs chose the 'safe' side to monitor our progress.

There was a conflagration going on far below us

And so to Chirk and past our moorings from last Friday when I mentioned houses and gardens of interest which I promised to photograph on the way back, so here we go

and now to the gardens that back on to the canal - you go from those who have gone back to nature

A lost haven maybe

To people's pride and joy

to a riot of colour

And then at around 1pm the day changed!  We had thunder, lightening and very heavy rain.

 I wonder how often this gentleman has been photographed?

Just as we were approaching the New Marton locks an oncoming boat warned us that there was a cow in the canal and it certainly was well and truly stuck.  She kept swimming across the canal and back again and constantly trying to get out to no avail.

The side was just too steep.  I gather Ken had offered a rope which was declined with the quip 'No thank you - I might just use it to throttle it'!!  I guess the cow was not worried about the rain!

By this time we were stationary with the engine in neutral as she clumped her way further along the canal with the man from C&RT constantly urging her on.

The cow man was walking ahead to find somewhere she could get out before they could take her back from wherever she had started from.

The plan had been to go down the New Marton locks and stop somewhere along the cut.  However when we got there the queue was substantial and Ken walked back to us to suggest the call it quits and dry off.  A good move and the bonus for me is internet!

We are hoping this sky bodes well for tomorrow.

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