Monday, 13 August 2018

Day 19 - Llangollen to Poacher's Pocket

It has come to my attention that my posts may have implied that those in our fleet have been partying and getting drunk most nights.  My apologies if that is the impression my posts have given.  Please rest assured that is NOT the case.  Whilst we have had some "heavy" nights, most have been sat round a log fire chatting and enjoying each others company.  Some have to drive to work next day so do not have much to drink, the rest of us do have more sober nights than drunk ones.

That out of the way back to the blog in hand

Today was time to say farewell to Llangollen and start our trip back.   It felt a little cooler today but still a nice day none the less.  We pulled out at about 9:30am and found that a large number of boats were towards us.

Leaving the basin.
Llangollen Wharf was busy as ever,  all the trip boats were lined up waiting for their passengers.

Our fleet make their way down from Llangollen one by one.

Its going to be busy in the basin tonight as boat, after boat, after boat was passed going upstream.  Chris went ahead as lookout per usual and reached the Trevor basin to see the trip boat just leaving to cross the aqueduct.  

Being only a short way back from the junction I made the turn and followed the trip boat onto the aqueduct.

Approaching the junction with the all clear from Chris
Having crossed the aqueduct we joined the busy section at Froncysyllte.  This time the trip boat was trying to wind but a hire boat was moored on the winding hole.  I can only imagine the exchange from the trip boat captain at this point as the hire boat soon moved out of the way.  We have heard the colourful language from the trip boat crew before so had a good idea how the exchange would have gone.

Waiting for the trip boat to wind.  The errant hire boat can be seen to the right of the boat in front.
 At the lift bridge Chris raised it and waited for the fleet to pass through, first Paul....

Then Eric....

Next was Graham

and finally Marie.  It should be ladies first but Marie prefers to follow.

We crossed Chirk Aqueduct and Tunnel without hitch and with only two boats waiting to come through.

Another trip boat waiting to enter the tunnel

After a brief pause at Chirk Bank for lunch we continued our way and eventually moored at the Poacher's Pocket for the night

Total distance:9.20 miles Elapsed time:6h16m0s Locks:0 Bridges:22 
Average speed:1.47 mph (1.47 lock/mph) 

Friday, 10 August 2018

Day 18 - Llangollen Basin to Horsefalls

We decided to take advantage of the 48 hour mooring in the basin so this morning we paid our mooring fees and went for s stroll in the town.  From the canal wharf the town looks great with the hills behind.  

We then decided to have breakfast and whilst in the cafe the rest of our friends joined us.  Seems they had the same idea and by chance had chosen the same cafe as us.

In the afternoon I wanted to walk to the horseshoe falls and Graham, Marie and Eric came too.  As it was Chris's turn to doggy sit so she stayed behind and chilled in a chair in the sunshine reading her book.

The stream train was running again today and came past us slowly enabling me to take this photo.

Halfway to the falls there is a motor museum that we have walked past many times.  This time Eric and I decide to go and take a look.  Entry is £4 but for me it was money well spent.  The museum is an Aladdin's cave of motorbilia.  It is stuffed full of Motorbikes, cars and car parts.  It bought back so many good memories when I was a kid and these vehicles were commonplace.

Motor enthusiasts heaven

When I was a kid I always dreamt of having one of these.  Now I'd need a lottery win to get one.

But I did own one of these!

We got to horseshoe falls and they looked super in the sunshine.  Some people were swimming nearby so we decided to sit and dip our feet into the water.  It was icy cold but felt good.  We sat there for a while, just resting.  It felt like heaven.

Horseshoe falls.  There was a lot of driftwood last time we were here but much has been cleared away now.

After a while we walked back to the Chain Bridge hotel and had a refreshing drink.  The bridge is now complete and looks great.

On our return to the boats another friend, Bob, joined us and we all went for a meal in the Corn Mill Inn.  We were seated on the top floor and whilst the food was great service was very poor.  We had to go downstairs and ask for a drink, and waited ages for it.  What we can't understand is why we were on the top floor despite plenty of tables being free downstairs.  It would have made life a lot easier for the waitresses.

Cleggy, foggy, and Compo are nothing compared to the antics this lot get up to.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Day 17 - Froncysyllte to Llangollen Basin

We got underway about 11am today as we wanted to miss the early morning traffic leaving Llangollen and this turned out to be a good tactic later

There is a house here that used to be full of blooms and really colourful.  Sadly this year the garden looks a bit neglected.

Not as colourful as last tie we passed by.

As we approached the lift bridge a boater was walking back to his boat having just raised it.  He waved us through so we thanked him and once through turned onto the last leg of canal before the aqueduct.

There are a couple of water points just passed the long term moorings so we took the opportunity to top up.  Meanwhile these canoeist were getting in the way of passing boats and a queue was forming coming downstream because of them.  This is always an entertaining stretch of canal with much boat shuffling going on, in the middle of all this, the sweet boat, once again making it difficult for boats to pass each other.

Canoeist had held up boats on the aqueduct .
 Topped up and just as the fleet arrived I cast off and we got under way again.

Getting underway again

On arrival at the aqueduct boats were going our way so we followed them onto it.  The sun was giving us an excellent view all round including our shadow far below

I simply love going over this aqueduct.

the view never disappoints

And that sensation of flying again
 Once over we found Trevor surprisingly clear, only two boats waiting to cross.  I made a perfect turn under the bridge without hitting anything only to catch the wall beyond.  Good job no one saw it.

Empty basin.  Never seen it like this before.

Chris being artistic with the camera.
 We proceeded up to Llangollen meeting very few boats coming the other way so leaving later worked out just right.

Passing moored boats with Paul following behind

Smudge acting as forward look out
 At one point we came across these sheep drinking from the canal.  We later heard the one nearest to the camera was seen up to its neck in water and in distress.  I do hope it got out OK.

Just before the narrows a private boat pulled off feet in front of me causing me to use reverse to avoid hitting him.  It was clear he knew I was there but gave no apology.  He then proceeded the rest of the way on tick over.  We were later to find out he was a nasty piece of work.

In the narrows he proceeded without sending anyone ahead.  He could see the trip boat approaching the other way but did nothing to pull in to let it pass.  As we were already in the narrows aware of the trip boat thanks to Chris up ahead we held back.  

The chap then shouted at the trip boat yelling at them to reverse siting they had already spoilt his holiday last time he came up.  It got him nowhere and eventually he gave up and reversed back to us so the trip boat could pull into the passing pace.  We could all then get underway again.

The rude gent making the turn into llangollen

We found several empty jetties in the corner of the basin furthest in so all moored one after the other.  After 3 weeks we had arrived at our destination.  For Marie, who has not long owned her boat, this was a major achievement, and for some others, the first time reversing onto a mooring so, in the evening we celebrated with a bar-b-q long into the night and early hours.

Basking in sunshine in the basin

Celebratory Bar-b-q

Total distance:5.30 miles Elapsed time:3h34m49s Locks:0 Bridges:18 
Average speed:1.48 mph (1.48 lock/mph) 

Day 16 - Poacher's Pocket to Froncsyllte

Another warm sunny day greeted us in the morning.  After breakfast and discussing our plans for the day those who work shuffled cars around ready so they would be available if needed.  It was gone 10am before the fleet was ready to move off.. The plan was to find moorings at Froncsyllte just before the aqueduct if possible.

The trip was uneventful but pleasant just the same.  Everyone enjoying the warm sunshine and pleasant views.  At Chirk Bank this unusual log store was in one water side garden, styled in the form of a hobbit house.

At Monks bridge the garden that used to display a few pots seems to have many new additions and now looks more delightful than ever, every inch covered with duck statues.

My favourite little cottages just before Chirk aqueduct still look the same as ever.  Such a pretty spot spoiled only by the growing number of cars parked outside.

Picture postcard perfect if it was not for the cars.

We made the turn leading up to the aqueduct just as a hire boat was going onto it so all 5 boats of our fleet followed behind, lady luck was on our side today.

Lead hire boat opens the way across for the rest of us.

Looking behind AmyJo

Yours truly and Smudge showing his not so good side to the camera, he was too busy play biting my hand.

At Chirk tunnel a queue of boats had now built up waiting to come across.  They had a bit of a wait as we all passed by.

Once again our lead hire boat opened up the way for us to go straight into Chirk tunnel.

There seems to be a new ploy by boaters to stop another boat entering the tunnel.  Take a bright torch and shine it into the tunnel to make any boat coming the other way think twice before entering the tunnel so the boat, whose crew bearing the torch, can enter.  What they forgot is a boat light does not waver about much as a torch so when this was done to me I continued into the tunnel much to their dismay.

One can't see too well unfortunately, but the boat ahead wass our lead hire boat.  The bright light was from a torch.

Once out of the tunnel these two day boats, manned by young Millenials, started to move off to go in.  I informed them four more boats were coming through and that they would have to reverse out if they continued.  They were not happy about this and still continued to proceed until they saw the tunnel light of the boat behind me.  Resigned to the fact they would get nowhere, they grumpily tied up again.

Impatient day boaters trying to barge their way into the tunnel

By Chirk Marina we then had to negotiate past lots of paddlers.  All gave us a cheery wave and a thank you as we crept past them.  Seems Chirk Marina now hire them out and judging by the numbers of paddlers its proving popular.


This handsome chappy gave us a wave as we passed by, his arm operated by a string that disappeared off somewhere inside.

The bear the waves

We arrived at the visitor moorings just downstream of the wharf moorings at Froncsyllte and once more were amazed to find them completely empty!  For the fourth day in a row the fleet was able to moor up line astern of each other.

Chris and some of the others took a walk to the Aqueduct and I stayed behind with Smudge, much to his disappointment, so I consoled him with some crisps and a cuddle.  He did get a little walk later when they all returned and ran the short distance to greet them.  He then trotted back with Chris with a spring in his step obviously pleased to see her.

Lunch for me and a cuddle for Smudge, or was that a cuddle for me and.....

Total distance:3.91 miles Elapsed time:2h0m55s Locks:0 Bridges:4 
Average speed:1.94 mph (1.94 lock/mph)