Thursday 31 March 2016

Easter and the Llangollen Day 6- To Llangollen Basin

We had a leisurely start today (Wednesday).  It was nearly 10am before we pulled pins.   This was intentional as we were due to reach Llangollen basin today.  We figured (correctly as it happened) that by the time we got to Trevor most boats coming down stream from LLangollen would be past the narrows and heading out so the basin would be fairly empty.  

We reached Chirk with the other two boats moored with us following behind.  We rounded the bend and found the aqueduct clear of boats.
AmyJo begins her acrosing.
The weather early last night was perfect to get the drone out and so we walked to the aqueduct and got some super photos and video.

The view directly above the canal showing the distance between it and the railway.

Entering Chirk Tunnel

Our first sighting of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
At Froncysyllte we caught up with 3 hire boats waiting to go through the lift bridge.  The lead hire boat was clearly on their first day out and, (quite rightly), the helm took things slowly and gingerly.  It took a further 30 minutes to reach the aqueduct but whilst the other hire boaters were chomping at the bit we were quite happy to wait our turn and enjoy watching the antics.

Mercy sakes looks like we got us a convoy
The trip across the Ponty did not disappoint and was as exhilarating this time as it was the first time we crossed it.
Plenty of gongooslers accompanying the boats as we cross

The river Dee looking fantastic as always
At Trevor the junction was busy with boats.  As we reached the junction working boat Thor came through the bridge making the turn look easy followed by a day boat.  Thor's crew informed me our way was clear to proceed round the turn. 

Trevor Junction
With so many gongooslers and the crews of the other boats watching, making the tight turn made me feel very nervous, however, AmyJo must be enjoying this trip too as to my relief she spun round on a sixpence lining up perfectly with the bridge 'ole and we started the last leg to Llangollen with a sigh of relief .  

Passing under the first bridge after making the turn
Once out of the village we came across our first sighting this year of a clutch of ducklings.  Mum was very attentive as close by a crow was taking an unhealthy interest in the littl'uns.   I wonder if they are still all there.

Mum doing her best to protect her brood from the inquisitive crow
The scenery along this stretch is simply stunning and, for me, the best part of the canal.  The narrow nature of the cut brings all this closer and as one steers you almost forget you are actually on water at times

Those who have cruised this stretch will be familiar with is quirky design.  The "narrows" really are, with passing lay-byes along the way.  The concrete walls of the cut making some of the turns interesting for long boats like AmyJo.

No passing here.  We pull into a lay-bye to allow this hire boat and four others to pass.

There is a tight turn after this bridge out of frame to the left.  AmyJo only just fits round it with only inches to spare.

Lining up to pass under the bridge

Gently does it as we pass out the other side and start the turn

Pulled in and waiting for more boats to pass

This trip boat just would not wait but just kept coming.
Anyone in his way just had to find anywhere to pull in to let him through.
We arrived at the basin about 3pm and as we hoped it was nearly empty.  We pulled AmyJo into a corner birth along the wall in bright sunshine and no wind.  Within two hours boats started arriving and before long the basin looked full.

Lots of boats pulled in by evening.  AmyJo is tucked in the corner under the left hand house basking on the sun.
We walked round to the office to book in to find the mooring and electric is completely free until the 1st April - BONUS!  The washing machine was on like a shot and marina mode soon adopted.

Across the basin the boat horses were enjoying the sun as they had their stables cleaned out.  In fact it felt more like summer than spring at this point.

The forecast for the next two days is good so we plan to spend a couple of nights here and explore a bit.

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