Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The junctions

We seem to hurtle on to the end of the Llangollen Canal with help from George and Geoff lifting the paddles at each lock. The water flow from the Dee is also pushing us on through the bridge holes! We managed to stop for supplies at Wrenbury after Ann ‘lifted’ that bridge for us all. (Just stop the traffic and press the button).

The plan is to do the Weaver as we are up north so we head for Anderton.
Left at Hurleston
then right at Barbridge.
On a mission then, doing 10 lock miles a day setting off at about 10. “Not too hard really.”
We stopped just past the new Aqueduct marina and enjoyed some afternoon sunshine.

We have all really enjoyed being on the Llangollen this winter. It has been quiet and ice free with some spectacular views in Wales. The company has been good as well and we may get up this way next winter. The Shropshire Union Canal Society doing a good job looking after the canal east west between Ellesmere and Middlewich, and north south between Birmingham and Chester. They even provide picnic tables at the visitor moorings.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ellesmere, Prees and Whitchurch

It was not long before Seyella arrived behind us. We had got the post and were busy sorting out the paperwork. Then took advantage of the shops to stock up. Sunshine encourages us all out for walks to the mere. We were to move off on Saturday but it turned cold and windy and snowed over night. That evening we had a mix of fish n chips and a Chinese takeaway on board Seyella.
After we cleared the snow on Sunday we set off to the Prees branch for diesel n gas. The visitor moorings are after lift bridge 2 so we stopped there.

The Sky signal was difficult to find due to the high hedge so up went the digi aerial for a clear picture using Geoff’s box again. The digital ‘freeview’ signals seem far better these days. The old analoque signal was never good at the best of times, which is why we got the Sky box. It is time now to consider an up grade to a wide screen digital TV.

We went into Whixhall Marina for our gas n diesel. Good value at £22 for the gas and 87p/l on offer at the zero rate for the diesel. We all then walked down the un navigable section of the ‘branch’.
Another half mile to Waterloo bridge is in water but full of reed and now a ‘nature reserve’.
The original line of the canal beyond the bridge is dry.

Another days cruising got us to Whitchurch. Here the arm is now open for visitors and that is where we found Balmaha.
We chose to lift the bridge and stop just beyond it on visitor moorings.
Our first evening together was on Seyella where Geoff the Cheff made pancakes for us all on Shrove Tuesday. Actually Margaret had made the mixture earlier in the day. After shopping the next day we had tea n cake on board Balmaha.
Mo n Nes moved on next day. See you later on your way back some where.

Friday, February 17, 2012


All three boats stopped below the locks at Marton and stayed a couple of nights. An increase in the number of moving boats is quite noticeable as the children are on a short holiday.

Geoff took us all for a walk in the country. Both he and Ann had magic maps to guide the way. There are usually posts with arrows to show the way and styles to climb over. However, when we got to a farmhouse there were none. We wandered about knowing where the canal was but fences and locked gates prevented us getting to it. Eventually we just got under a fence and jumped a ditch. “It was quite an adventure, getting back just before sunset at 5 pm.”

The convoy has now split up. Rock n Roll are going down the Montgomery, Seyella stopped at Frankton while we continued on to Ellesmere to collect post. Next day Seyella continued to Ellesmere for post as well!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dinas Bran

Ann and friends Carol, George n Geoff climbed up to that old castle up the mountain in Wales. The boys got there first with the dogs. The ladies went the long way round!

Yes, the voting has happened. So easy on the Internet. My choices were based on people I personally knew. I did not read much about the candidates statements of good intent. I voted for five people mainly relying on knowing them or their sponsors. Let us all hope that we like the result. At least there has been a huge response from boaters. Four on the committee does not seem enough but time will tell and things can change.

We have turned round now and gone over the 'Ponty' again. Not so good when it is cold n damp. Then on through the two tunnels and over the Chirk into England.

Sorry for this brief account but I seem preoccupied by sorting out loads of pictures, reading family history and finance.

Thursday, February 09, 2012


When the canal arrived at Trevor across that wonderful ‘World Heritage Site’ the company that built it ran out of money. The intention was to continue north to Chester for a supply of water from the river Dee. At Trevor the canal is 126 feet above that same river. Luckily the river is level with the canal 6 miles west just past Llangollen. So the company built a ‘feeder’ that just happened to be wide and deep enough for narrowboats! Often the ends of canals are very unattractive like the one at Oxford but this one is well worth going to the end.
The final miles are a bit slow going due to the narrowness and the flow from the Dee.
Views of the mountains and across the Vale are worth seeing. Our trip in February was grey n misty. At this time of year the marina was empty and the winter moorings by the facilities were full.
The town below the canal provided us with all the essentials.
Horseshoe falls is a further mile and a half further west of Llangollen and is where the canal gets its water. The path is much improved all the way from Trevor and makes for easy walking.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Moving across to Wales

We are perhaps fortunate to be on the Llangollen canal. Many reports from other canals mention ice! Geoff heard that there was ice on the Montgomery so it was just as well we did not go that way. We all stopped at Chirk Bank on the English side of the aqueduct. Later in the afternoon we walked across to enjoy the view as the sun dropped to the horizon. The surrounding countryside has changed. Now the canal hugs the steep hills twisting and turning above the valley before jumping across to the other side. We had filled the diesel tank at Burland for £1 a litre (self declare) and that was 2 1/2 weeks ago! “Guess we must be a bit less than half full by now.” We had passed one hire boat company but they do not sell the stuff to passing boaters. Luckily for us Chirk Marina would fill our tank if we can get in about midday. They were breaking up the ice in the morning. We got in OK and they charged us 95p/l and accepted our ‘declaration’. The EU still insists on two rates of tax on our fuel. There is one rate for moving the boat and one for ‘domestic’ use.
Geoff got to Trevor first. He reported that there was a space but only along side Seyella and it was icy! Geoff and Mags was waiting and escorted us across the grand ‘Ponty’. “It is an amazing and quite scary thing to cross over the valley so high up.” There is only a thin metal wall on one side and a walkway on the other.
We squeezed passed all the hire boats and under a very low bridge to get to the visitor moorings. Rock n Roll is waiting for visitors before coming over.
Wherever we are we have to make the best of it. Gremlins can attack at any time! Ann’s camera suddenly complained about its memory being full! Geoff managed to reformat the memory after getting the days pictures off. Then we could not get a signal from the ‘Sky’. The terrestrial signal provided a list of channels but no picture! Geoff to the rescue again! He lent us his spare Digi box so we then got pictures. Time to think about getting a new digital TV. Apparently LED is more efficient than backlit LCD.

I wonder when the Canal & River Trust will have its own website? I found ‘The Waterways Trust’ but that is not quite the same. DEFRA is worth a look for news about the new Trust.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Barmy barby

George n Geoff enjoying the out door life
George just cannot help him self, he lit the Bar Be Q! The last time we saw that happen there was snow on the ground at Gaily. This time it was only 3 degrees C outside and near those locks at Marton. An ‘American’ supper with cooked food contributions from each boat. We were not silly, we all sat inside Seyella and consumed it all sitting at table and in chairs by the roaring fire. So cosy and warm inside the side doors were opened for a while!