Saturday 8 April 2017

Dya 9 Llangollen to New Marton Bottom lock

A long day ahead of us today.  We crept out of the wharf at 8am being only the second boat to leave.  

Chris had walked on ahead as scout but not long into the cruise, and in the narrow single way section, we came across a family of new born ducklings.  Then a few tense minutes as 3 of the ducklings got separated from the main brood with mum and dad ducks on the port side.  The 3 ended up on the starboard side.  I had to steer with precision as one mistake and I could have easily crushed any one of them and I was desperate for that not to happen. 

Fortunately mother duck finally held the rest of her brood back but the three errant ducklings insisted on staying alongside AmyJo.  Still they persisted chasing along with us risking being crushed or sucked into the prop.   To avoid this I had to keep putting AmyJo into neutral as they neared the back of the boat but that only helped the ducklings stay with me.   I had to wait until they were at last down by the back deck to use my hand to shoo them off and out of danger.  Eventually after trying to catch up they gave up and I could breath again.  I don't know what I'd have done if they were harmed.  I'd never forgive myself.

Safe at last but the 3 duckateers still chasing after us at the foot of the photo
The rest of the trip to the junction was uneventful, passing only 3 boats coming up stream.  By now the sun was out but still every cold so coats remained on.

Dappled sunshine all around.  I just love it when its this good

The  lack of wind made for some lovely reflections in the clear water
We made the turn at Trevor and with the aqueduct clear continued onto it.  We have been over the Pontcysyllte several times now but we still enjoy every minute of the trip and is why we do this every year.

On completion of the turn I line AmyJo up to go onto the aqueduct
Half way along the aqueduct Smudge decided he was going to get off and proceeded to walk alongside for a while.  As he was still on his lead a couple coming the other way must have thought we were using him to pull the boat along.  It certainly looked that way with Smudge pulling at the lead.  We got him back aboard before we left the narrows.

Dog drawn boat crossing the aqueduct
 Just as we left the aqueduct a hire boat could be seen starting to cross behind us.  When we got to the lift bridge at Froncysyllte there was no sign of them. We had, however, passed the sweet boat on our way so we're guessing they had succumbed to temptation.  I know we nearly did.

Waiting for the lift bridge and not sign of the hire boat
 With the flow now with us we made good time to the two New Marton locks and for the first time since we left Tattenhall we joined a queue of 3 boats waiting to go down.  The two lead hire boats were cruising together and their numerous crews made short time of locking the boats down so we did not wait too long.  They even offered to help Chris with the lock wheeling but she thanked them and let them on their way.

Waiting at the top lock in the warming sunshine.
 It was now 1pm and the sun was warming the day nicely.  First off came the coats and then the jumper.  I'm glad there was no need to strip off any further.

Never far away are the police training helicopters.  This one passing close, slow and low.
Having got through the locks we found a very nice sunny spot so decided to stop here for the night.  It got that warm we tempted fate and got the chairs out and did a spot of sunbathing on the tow path (not a pretty sight).  Smudge was so laid back he sprawled himself across the gunwale and dosed all afternoon.  Waking only to give the odd woof at passing boats before dropping of to sleep again.

Our first hot day so it would be rude not to chill and enjoy it

Mum and dad can work the boat I'll keep the gunwale warm for them.

Total distance:12.44 miles Elapsed time:6h19m52s Locks:2 Bridges:30 
Average speed:1.96 mph (2.28 lock/mph) 

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