Friday 10 April 2015

Easter 2015 Cruise - Day 6

We had decided to stay over in Llangollen today as we wanted to do some exploring.  High on the list was of course Horse Shoe falls.  One simply cannot do the LLangollen without a visit to the very head of the cut and the iconic falls.  Once here it becomes a sort of pilgrimage to pay homage to Thomas Telford by visiting them.  Not, however, before I corrected my school boy error and winded AmyJo so she was bow in on the little jetty.  No more running the gauntlet down the gunwales in our best flannels.

Sadly the horse drawn boat only goes to the falls on Tuesdays and this being Wednesday our only option was to walk the 1.5 miles to the falls.  Not that we minded as we could do with a stretch.  Again the cut did not disappoint.  The walk is through some pretty scenery and lovely tree lined vistas.

This lovely cottage is just upstream from the basin

The railway in steam today
 To my delight the railway was in steam and this 2-6-0 loco came past just as we were at the closest point to the track.  It bought happy childhood memories back for me as at 8yrs of age I had a Hornby OO model of this very class of engine, being my  favourite train back then. 

Wooded section on the way to Horseshoe falls

The route to the falls is about 40 minutes walk or 1.5 miles.  Just before reaching the falls one is greeted by the Bridge Inn where we had a morning coffee in glorious sunshine right beside the River Dee.

At the falls themselves we found several paddlers getting into the water and preparing to shoot the falls.  Some took the simple route and slipped in but some found a nice 10 foot bank to slide down into the water.

Just before the falls these guys were literally plunging in.

The falls themselves.  
 It must have taken such hard work for Telford's navvies to divert the flow of the river so they could build the wall.  No big mechanical equipment for them in those days.  Whilst the falls may look small one cannot imagine the effort that must have gone in to building it.  At 460 feet (140m) long  the falls allow some of the river to be diverted through an adjacent valve house and flow meter and then into the canal.
Up stream these guys were taking a less dramatic approach to entering the river

But they did at least shoot the falls.

Before we left we simply had to show the very beginning of the cut.
The above photo shows the water leaving at the base of the valve house and entering the head of the canal.  The water here is so clear you can see the canal bed for quite a way long the cut.

Looking back towards the basin from the start of he canal
 As it was now mid-day we retraced our steps back to the Bridge Inn for a snack.  Most will know the pub is so named because of the famous iron bridge that crosses the canal right outside the pub.  Sadly due to its poor condition  the bridge was closed in 1922 and never re-opened.  The good news is with the aid of funding from the landlord and a Lottery Grant the bridge is currently being fully restored.  We got chance to talk to the contractors and they informed us that the restoration could not have come soon enough.  When they came to dismantle the structure its supports were so severely corroded they reckoned another strong wind storm or river flood would have brought the whole lot crashing down into the river.

Contractors working on restoring the iron bridge
 Quite a precarious task but these two guys were in there element and were clearly enjoying the arduous work.

When we were nearly back to the basin we were met by the Hercules the horse pulling the pleasure boat along.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around the town.   needed new laces for my trainers so we got those in an outdoor pursuit shop and then got tempted by some lovely cakes in the bakery which we had for Supper

Finally we rounded off the day with a well earned meal in the Corn MIll.  Highly recommended with excellent food and good ale.

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