Canal Holiday - Llangollen Canal

Sunday 1 June to Wednesday 4 June 2008 - Llangollen to Barbridge

As we prepare to leave the basin at Llangollen, the horse-drawn trip boat heads back to the wharf

Heading towards Trevor along one of the narrow sections without room to pass - these need a crew member to go on ahead as one end of the narrows can't be seen from the other.

Returning over Pontcysyllte

We have passed the marina and are now on new territory: we pause briefly to wait for a boat to emerge from the tunnel before we carry on south towards the aqueduct

Our mooring spot for the night, just inside Wales, overlooking the Chirk Aqueduct. The aqueduct is 70 feet high and 710 feet long, carrying the canal above the Ceiriog Valley. It was designed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1801. Like Pontcysyllte the water is contained within a cast iron trough, but is something of an intermediary style in that the trough is supported within the massive masonry walls. 

Morning light on the aqueduct. The aqueduct consists of ten arches, each with a span of 40 feet. The water level is 70 feet above the River Ceiriog.

After a short early morning exploration of Chirk, we are underway again

Stopping for water just above New Marton locks, where there is a queue (behind the photographer).

The lock cottage at New Marton top lock.

A diminutive bridge sits above the bywash, as Sheila watches Rosa coming into the lock with Mary at the tiller.

Lucy, Sheila and Helen at New Marton bottom lock, waiting for it to fill

Lucy steers Rosa through the last bridge on what was the Llangollen branch of the Ellesmere Canal, and thus is numbered 1.

Frankton Junction, where the mainline of the Ellesmere Canal headed south, now considered to be the start of the Montgomery Canal

And through Bridge 69 as we continue along the canal towards Ellesmere and Hurleston.

At Ellesmere there is a lot of construction underway around the basin at the end of the Ellesmere Branch, amid rather sad surroundings. Hopefully this iconic warehouse will be preserved and preferably renovated.

An attractive crane, surrounded by more modern machinery.

The Ellesmere Canal Company's headquarters, now a private residence, sits opposite the end of the branch

Stephen and Helen as we wait for the others to return from the shopping expedition in Ellesmere.

There are lots of meres in Shropshire, filling hollows left over from the last Ice Age. Many have neither inflow nor outflow, and several can be seen from the canal near Ellesmere, including this one, Blake Mere, which has rhododendrons lining its banks.

A little further on is Colemere. This isn't really visible from the canal, but there is a footpath right around it, which makes a grand walk - and if the boat can be helpfully run aground, then the walker/runner will have less distance to make up when he returns to the towpath!

The little church at Colemere

A man, presumably fishing, with a wooden pole

We made an exploration along the Prees Branch, but sadly Bridge 1, the only one left on the canal to be operated by swinging on the chain, was out of action.

Tuesday morning and as we descend the Grindley Brook locks, Merry, Helen and Helen are hard at work.

Lucy gently lets the boat move to the side as she allows the boat coming up space to get into the lock.

Merry crosses the gates to wind up a paddle

A fierce bywash - to give trouble on the way back up

A pleasant afternoon on the canal as we make our way towards Wrenbury. We had allowed for delays at Grindley Brook, but there hadn't been any, so we had plenty of time to spare today.

At Wrenbury there is a mechanised lift bridge: Mary crosses it on her way to the control station.

She has set the lights going, closed the barrier and raised the bridge, holding up the traffic...

Only one car today, but more when we come back!

Wednesday morning, and Alan and Jane are looking cheerful

Jane prepares a fresh posy of wild flowers for the dinner table, watched by Helen

Mary and Sheila wait to empty the lock

Alan looks on

Helen and Lucy looking intently at something!

Cows and a windmill

At Hurleston, the final four locks take the Llangollen Canal down onto the the mainline of the Shropshire Union Canal. Stephen steers Rosa round a boat coming up as we descend from the fourth to the third lock.

Six crew members wait for the lock to empty

Stephen steers Rosa round the junction, neatly picking up the rest of the crew from the Shropshire Union Canal towpath. Off to lunch at the Barbridge Inn, then it's back up the Hurleston locks.



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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson