Wednesday, 22 September 2010

September Cruise - Day 6

The most Septemberish morning of the trip so far:  misty, with the sun breaking through.  We set off at 8am through beautiful countryside.  We started meeting boats coming the other way almost immediately, but by the time we got to the New Marton Locks, they were coming thick and fast.  There were three waiting at the top of the second lock, and three more were just approaching.  Fortunately, we didn't meet any in the narrow sections at Chirk Bank, immediately before the aqueduct.  When we reached the aqueduct it was clear so we went straight across.

It was a different story in the short pound between the aqueduct and the tunnel, both of which are one-way working.  There was one boat moored and two ahead of us waiting for the tunnel.  A boat emerged coming the other way, but another couple of boats had already started coming through behind it.  By the time they emerged, a boat was coming across the aqueduct, so they had nowhere to go.  There was a bit of chaos for a few moments much to the amusement of the gongoozlers.

Once through the tunnel, we had our first encounter with a hire boat from Maestermyn.  It appeared the boat was going to leave its moorings right in front of us, but the crew thought better of it, and decided to drift out from the bank instead.  The woman at the helm was standing on the rear deck tugging furiously on a rope -- which was attached to the roof.  She seemed surprised the boat wasn't responding.

We stopped for lunch at the moorings just before the lift bridge at Froncycllte.   While we were eating on the front deck, the Maestermyn boat came past, weaving all over the canal and crashing into a narrow.  Unfortunately several boats were coming the other way, all of whom were confused by its antics. 

Then it was time for the main event, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.  It took ages to get across, as the Maestermyn boat was in the lead, and seemed to have trouble steering, even though the trough is wide enough for only one boat.  But we enjoyed the crossing in the sunshine, talking to loads of people on the towpath, all of whom were enjoying the view.

We were dismayed to see the Maestermyn boat trying to make the turn to Llangollen.  But after a fair section on tickover while it veered back and forth across the canal, the crew let us pass.  The views of the mountains, one of which has the ruins of Dinas Bran Castle on top, were great.

The narrow sections were hard work against the flow, but at least nothing was coming the other way.  We stopped at the BW portacabin to pay for our moorings (the first time we've ever paid to stop anywhere), and went into the basin.  It was quite busy with boats, but Adrian did an excellent spin and reversed onto a pontoon.  Rain had begun to fall, but we took a walk into town (where the shops were just closing, it being 5pm).  We had a drink at the Bridge End Hotel before returning to the boat.  It's now raining hard, but at least tomorrow's forecast isn't as bad as it was earlier.

15 miles, 2 locks  (71 miles, 48 locks)


Simon said...

hurrah! sounds like you had a good day, and good that you got past the hirers - most of that section you couldn't have passed anyway.

If you fancy some live music wander up to the Sun Inn (top of high st & turn right, I think). And make sure you walk up to the horsehoe falls, too. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Reading about your cruise brings all the memories back of our time here earlier in the year.

John said...

I am enjoying your trip as I have wintered on LLangollen twice so feel I know the area quite well though have never done it as quickly as you do. Worth going to Cotton Arms in Wrenbury if you have time on your way back, great food and not expensive.

Anonymous said...

Like nblazydays, I, too, am having great memories of my trip. I was on board a friend's cc boat,(one of your fellow bloggers) back in June. We also had poor weather, but it all paled into insignificance amongst that beautiful scenery. I beat the vertigo!!