Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Three Aqueducts and a Last Blast

We left the the Llangollen basin on Tuesday morning at the ungodly hour of 6am! The reason being that there were so many hire boats around that we really did need to beat the rush. Having a dozen or so unskilled hirers ahead of us was not to be encouraged!


When we arrived at Trevor after a clear run, and an hour and half later, the Pontyscillyte aqueduct was ours and ours alone!


Of course, Doug had to steer across – at nearly 130 feet in the air it’s not for the faint hearted (or James!).


A clear, calm trough of water all the way across.


However, the next aqueduct at Chirk is gentler on the senses and James was quite able to take “Chance” across this one.


We couldn’t help but notice that CART seem to have contracted a new form of grass cutting! It didn’t take us long to get down, and off, the Llangollen canal – stopping only at Prees Junction for one night (the day of the great thunder storms!) ……….


………. and one night at Wrenbury to meet up with fellow boaters Sharon and Richard on nb “Oakapple”.



We had a lovely afternoon and evening with them – ending with a nice meal in the Cotton Arms. Really good to meet you both at last!

We left the Llangollen canal on Thursday and, returning to the Shropshire Union canal (the “Shroppy”), we moored up again in Nantwich. It had been a while since we’d cruised the Llangollen – the canal banks and towpath are still well kept with a lot of good quality moorings but the section after Ellesmere is plagued by far too many hire boats. While it was a sort of frustrating entertainment watching the antics of the hire boats, the fun soon wore off. Sadly, and worryingly, the hire companies are woefully lacking in their efforts to impart even the most rudimentary training for their customers. The canal is also generally pretty shallow – “Chance” draws 30 inches and we were scraping the bottom and hitting rock and stones far too often. Three feet of clear water isn’t a lot to ask for.

Anyway, we caught the train from Nantwich to Manchester on Friday morning. Partly to meet up with friends who we hadn’t been able to see during our last two visits and partly to enjoy our favourite city (outside London) one last time before going south.


We stayed at the Britannia Hotel which we’d used many years ago. While many old hotels need some TLC the 5th floor room we had was very smart indeed.


The staircase in the Britannia is a magnificent cast and wrought iron engineering masterpiece. The view from floor 5 is very special with the reception chandelier hanging from the 5th floor ceiling like an enormous plumb-bob.


Returning to Nantwich on Saturday afternoon we headed off again, crossing the town’s own rather splendid aqueduct.


We passed by the popular sojourn point of Coolé Pilaté which, unless someone has cleverly doctored the CART sign, seems it’s now pronounced as written!


Further on towards Audlem we found a lovely sunny spot with no one around. Not only did we have time to top up our tans during the very hot and sunny afternoon but James also got on with some much needed maintenance and winter preparations.


The evening cooled off quite quickly but the sunset was marvellous and the evening drew to a wonderful close.



Our mooring spot needed no new-fangled satellite positioning systems – on our mooring outside the window was all we needed to know (well, to within 1/2 mile or so anyway!)


On Sunday we set off along a rather deserted canal. Even when we got to the pretty canal side setting of Audlem at 11:30 there wasn’t a sole around! There were, however, three boats scaling the 11 locks out of Audlem and it was here that we met fellow boaters and blog readers on nb “Serena” coming down the flight. Unusually James was working the locks so he was able to enjoy the ‘chin-wagging’ this time! 


Well, hot on the heels of the Audlem 15 lock flight came the Adderley flight of five and after that  we were soon in Market Drayton. Safely secured on the marvellous moorings opposite Victoria Wharf James set about some more preparations for winter. Doug went off shopping for groceries and came back staggering like a pack mule! Thinking that there were very few mooring possibilities in the next 5 miles we decided Market Drayton was the spot to stay for the night.

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