Sunday, 9 October 2016

Out of Wales, heading south.

reluctantly, we left the basin in Llangollen after the two days we were allowed there, and started our journey back towards the midlands.
Because of the water flowing down the canal from the river Dee, the progress down through the narrows to Trevor is much quicker than the journey up, and we were soon 'flying' over the aqueduct 120ft above the river.
Making continuous progress we soon found ourselves back on the Shroppie. The autumn weather has been exceptionally kind, plenty of sunshine and no sign yet of the first frosts. Passing through Grub Street cutting we passed a setlement in the woods. A couple of moored boats, and old vehicles decaying among the trees reminded us of a scene from the movie 'Deliverance'. All it needed was the sound of a banjo ringing through the leaves!
Friends of ours from the winters we spent in Stone were heading north and we all met up at Brindley bank near Rugeley. This is the site of the 'bloody steps', the scene of a murder which happened in victorian times. A lady, Christina Collins, was killed by the crew of a boat she was travelling on. The body was taken up the bloody steps to an inn above the canal.
After meeting up with our friends we made our own way up the steps to find a pub where we had a great meal and an afternoon catching up with all our adventures since we last met up on the Thames back in the summer. It all seems so long ago now!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

From the Thames to Llangollen

it's been a while since our last blog from Lechlade. since then we have left the Thames in mid. August and made our way 240 miles to the basin in Llangollen.
We travelled the full length of the Oxford canal, joining onto the Coventry canal to it's junction with the Trent & Mersey, finally making our way onto the Llangollen canal via the Staffs. & Worc. and the   Shroppie.
We knew it would be busy, being one of the most popular canals in the country, however we were dismayed by the number of hire boat bases along the whole length. Still, it is incredibly scenic and just gets better as you cross over the Chirk aqueduct and enter Wales. Of course the highlight is the Pontcysyllte aqueduct, 127ft tall and 1000ft long, it crosses the river Dee on 18 slender stone pillars in an iron trough. Some people can't cross it, and some can only do it by staying in the cabin. We love it however.
When we bought Oakapple we were told she couldn't go all the way to Llangollen because of the depth of the narrow channel for the last 5miles, however, up for a challenge, we made it all the way into the basin at the end. There were just a few spots where we found ourselves bumping along the bottom but mostly it was just slow. This is because the water flows down the canal from Horseshoe falls on the river Dee to feed the reservior right at the end at Hurleston junction.
Surrounded by stunning scenery, we spent two days there. Rode on the steam railway along the Dee valley, and climbed up to the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran with it's fine views into the mountains of Wales.