Friday, 2 July 2010

Captains Log Canal Date 1st July 2010 Travels Miles 9 Locks 4 Narrow Swing Bridge 1 Current Location Lower Frankton (What no Pub!) OS Ref SJ 369 311 We completed the remaining section of the Montgomery, turned at the end winding hole (I am getting better at this now) and managed to stop right outside a pub just in time for lunch. (I also am getting rather good at this) The pub looked like any other country canal side pub from the outside but one inside it was a different story. Just a small part was an old inn dating from 16th century the bulk of the restaurant area is a converted canal side 18th century warehouse. It has been very sympathetically converted and still contains much of the original architecture and fittings. The menu was a bit more expensive that I would have liked but so much as to make you walk out again. The food was superb, presentation made you say wow when it came out. Certainly not the average pub lunch. I am happy to pay a few pounds more for exceptional food, and this indeed was exceptional After the obligatory afternoon nap we set off to complete the return trip along the canal. There are some locks and they are spaced just far enough apart to walk between. Millie the mutt managed to go for a swim three times, each time she could not get out on her own. You would think that she would learn but that is not in her nature!!! Just like the entrance to the canal, you have to book exit passage through the Frankton Locks. We are moored close to the bottom of the locks awaiting our booked passage tomorrow. No TV, no internet, poor phone signal, - Looks like an early night again. Captains Log Canal Date 30h June 2010 Travels Miles 11 Locks 4 Narrow 1 Staircase Current Location Queens Head, Queens Head (Nr. West Felton) (Oh yes, yet another pub. Life is tough on the cut) OS Ref SJ 337 266 We had booked our passage through Frankton Locks and onto the Montgomery Canal for mid-day. This is one of the few locks that have to be pre booked, this, they say, is to control the number of boats on this section of canal. We slipped our moorings much earlier than is healthy, ie 9.00 in the morning! Sleep deprivation or what? This should allow us to have a leisurely cruise to the Frankton Locks. As with all plans I forgot the inevitable, queues for the locks. We have not had to queue for a lock for more than one boat, this time there was five waiting. Time for drastic action, so I sent Pam out to sort them out, she is good at that. We eventually went through the locks an hour later which made out timing a bit tight but still achievable. A few minutes later we meet up with a gaggle of hire boats having just left the marina. They did not have a clue. They went into panic mode when they saw me coming. There was plenty of room to pass until they all went diagonal across the canal blocking it good and proper! After a few minutes of instruction they all managed to pass us without incident. But the look of horror on their faces would have done a Hitchcock film proud. We eventually arrived at the junction at our allotted time only to find that another ten boats waiting. Six out of the ten were all one group from New Zealand. Again, we were the only boaters there, the rest were hire boats. Once again Pam went to sort it out and helped the rather harassed Lock Keeper. We saw each boat through the staircase and we then took up the rear. That was another 2 hours. It is nice not being in a rush to get anywhere, these delays are fine. Once we had cleared the locks at the start of the Montgomery canal the scenery changes dramatically from the Llangollen. It is much more open with superb views each side of the canal. This canal has not been re-opened for very long, but it shows no sign of being rebuilt. All the work has been done most sympathetically and looks just as good as it could. It is a real credit to the canal recovery groups involved. We eventually found a nice mooring spot next to a pub; it must be a good one as they named the hamlet after it. The pub is called The Queens Head and it is in the village of Queens Head. We are hoping to complete the canal and return to the main Llangollen canal on Friday. Captains Log Canal Date 28h June 2010 Travels Miles 35 Locks 2 Narrow Lift Bridge 6 Current Location Poachers Pocket Near Chirk (Yes, yet another pub) OS Ref SJ 297 368 Well lots have happened since my last entry, One thing that has not changed is my ongoing problems with Vodafone, hence no recent updates! We have had visitors, and most welcome they are too. First of all Jim & Joan arrived. We set sail for Llangollen, over the now world heritage site of the Pontcysyllte aqueduct. This section of canal from Ellesmere to Llangollen continually changes, each turn shows new delights. It is just about the best so far, just when you think that it can not get any better, it just does! The Chirk aqueduct is just fantastic; its architecture and build quality is a joy to see. When you arrive at the Pontcysyllte aqueduct word just fail to describe the sight in front. The canal just floats in the sky as if by magic. On the starboard side there is only a piece of 200 year old 1 inch thick cast iron between you and certain death 120 foot below. The canal is over 100 yards long and supported on 19 stone pillars supporting a cast iron trough just wide enough for the boat. There are no handrails here, the do gooders from health & safety were not around when Mr. Telford built this masterpiece! It has been there for over 200 years, will it last another 20 minutes? Once over the aqueduct it is a sharp left hander and then on to the end of the canal. It does get a bit narrow and shallow from here on. The guide book does say that it is not recommended for boats drawing more than 21 inches, mine is more like 28 inches! I did think that we had seen the best scenery but we to be proved wrong yet again. You leave the rolling hills and continue along the sides of the Dee valley. You are into mountain country now. They must have thought that it would be almost impossible to build a canal in such hilly country, but Telford believed that he could do anything, and he did. Long section of this part of the canal are just wide enough for one boat, so some one has to go in front and make sure that the path is clear, (Good old Jim) We made it to the end at Llangollen with just a bit of a relived sigh, we were dragging on the bottom in several places and in the narrows the concrete edges were removing the paint from the boat. After a day in Llangollen we set off back again. Even though we had just done this journey, it was just as interesting doing the return trip. Things look so different when approached from the other side. We eventually made back to the Poachers pocket for a well justified evening meal. Jim & Joan left us and the following day John & Lynn arrived. We liked the run to the Pontcysyllte aqueduct so much that we done it all again. It was still as spectacular. I wonder how many times I would have to do this before I would become bored with it? We stopped at Trevor basin (Just at the end of the aqueduct) to have a pub lunch, Apparently there was some sort of silly football game on that day and this pub was not showing it so it was nice and quiet in there. (Nice meal Thanks John & Lynne) The return trip, again, was just as good as it was the day before. I don’t think that I will ever tire of this spot. Now the upsetting bit, well for us anyway. We have an expensive combined satellite dish and solar panel; it has been doing odd things for a few weeks but always easy to sort out. Not this time, it just will not work. I need to contact them on the internet to sort things out. Slight problem – No bloody internet thanks to Mr. Vodafone. Eventually sorted out a phone number and now have to take it to Northampton. That is a long way from Llangollen by boat! One of the little problems that living on a boat can throw at you. Still I am sure that we can survive for a week or two without satellite television! Captains Log Canal Date 19h June 2010 Travels Miles 12.5 Locks 9 Narrow Lift Bridge 2 Current Location Bradley Green (2 miles north of Whitchurch) OS Ref SJ 534 450 It is almost unbelievable how much the weather can change in a day. Yesterday was hot and sunny, no clouds in sight, today it 100% cloud cover with light rain and very much cooler. We waited for the drizzle to stop before moving down the Welsh cut in search of an internet connection... I was not going to travel as far as yesterday. We set off after a light lunch, the canal traffic was lighter than I had expected, however most of the nicer mooring spots were already taken. We ended up at Bradeley Green, Right next to a nice country pub!! I shall try that out soon. Well a man has to do what a man has to do. John Wayne said that and I am not going to argue! There are some interesting place names around here, there is a small hill called “Bell o’th’Hill”, a bit further down the canal is a place called “Land of Canaan” and just behind us is “Willy Moor” That begs a question. Still no internet but at least the phones work here.

No comments: