Friday, October 05, 2007

Among the mountains of Wales

The final 6 or 7 miles of the Llangollen are among the mountains of north Wales. A sharp left turn at Irish Bridge and we travel in a concrete channel along the edge of the Dee valley, but cannot see across because of the abundant trees. Passing the village of Froncysyllte and the lift bridge. A glimpse of the amazing structure can be seen through a gap in the trees but it is still in the distance. The canal turns right to approach the aqueduct along a finger of land. The going slows as the canal gets narrower and the boat is pushing against the flow. Then suddenly the land drops away as the boat enters the iron aqueduct. On the left there is nothing but a thin wall and the view down is above the trees and a football field far below. I prefer to look the other way at the tow path and railings for a feeling of security. Ann walking on across to take a few pictures of the boat and river Dee flowing along its rocky path below. As we approach the Trevor end a boat is coming out from the Llangollen channel crossing in front and waiting for us and No Problem to clear the Aqueduct.

The channel to Llangollen was only built as a narrow but navigable concrete course to fetch water from the river Dee. Originally the Ellesmere canal was intended to continue north to Chester. It is however one of the most scenic and beautiful sections of waterway to be seen anywhere in the UK. Cut into the rocky sides of the Dee valley with grand views of the Ruabon Mountain above and the river below. Ann and Sue walked ahead with a walky talky to check if the way was clear as we waited before the narrow section. Both Moore 2 Life and No Problem then continued slowly round the mountain side once we knew the way was clear.
BW have now built a marina for about 40 boats which was about half full when we arrived. For £10 we could stay for two nights and use an electric land line. So no need to use the engine while we were there. Next day we all walked along to Horseshoe Falls where the river feeds into the canal. Then got the train at Berwyn to Carrog and back to Llangollen. A chance to travel a bit further into Wales.

Back to Ellesmere

We all travelled back to Trevor and filled our tanks with diesel while watching the boat traffic coming across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. When it was our turn both boats went one behind the other across the Dee valley. It was when we got to the other side that we parted company with our friends on No Problem. "Parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow". But for us it will be next year. We have to get to Ellesmere where, sadly, it was confirmed that Tara is indeed suffering from an overactive thyroid. A bit of an emotional 'double whammy' for us.

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