Sunday, 29 October 2017

Overwinter Cruise - Week 3

Sunday 22nd October - Chirk Bank

Today we are going to stay at Chirk Bank and go for a walk up to Chirk Castle.

Before we left, Richard on nb Mountbatten came alongside and delivered diesel straight to the boat.  So convenient and a big thank you goes out to Richard.

Nb Mountbatten and butty Jellicoe are 1960's Admiral class historic narrowboats built for British Waterways by Yarwoods in Northwich. They were the last of 12 boats built and named after English Admirals.

We set off on our walk, it was delightful with a variety of scenery.  We had to cross the railway line, I am consulting the map to make sure we are going in the right direction.

We stopped to chat to the local horse, but I don't think Toby was all that impressed.

Much of our route took us alongside the River Ceiriog, a tributary of the River Dee, a beautiful river which originates in Snowdonia and flows into the sea at an estuary between Wales and the Wirral Peninsula.

The Bronygarth Limekilns are on the road just before we turned off for Chirk Castle.

These brick built kilns are similar to the ones we saw at Pant on our previous walk.

Just within the grounds of Chirk Castle is The Oak at The Gate of The Dead on the site of the Battle of Crogen in 1165.  The oak tree is believed to be 900 years old and split in two in February 2010.

The Battle of Crogen, took place in 1165 near what is now called Castle Mill, Chirk, when Welsh forces defeated Henry II's men.

It was in late July 1165 that Henry gathered a vast army at Oswestry, Shropshire, while the opposing forces of the Welsh princes waited near Corwen, Denbighshire.

When his terms were turned down by the Welsh allies, Henry's army made their way up through the Ceiriog Valley.

Despite being outnumbered, the Welsh forces were able to raid and ambush Henry's army, inflicting heavy losses.

The Battle of Crogen, along with atrocious weather, meant that Henry's army was eventually forced to leave Wales altogether, retreating to Chester.

Started in 1295, Chirk Castle was one of several medieval marcher fortresses sited on the Welsh-English border to keep the Welsh under English rule.

We arrived back in Chirk and called in to The Hand Hotel for some well earned refreshment!!

Monday 23rd October - Chirk Bank to Llangollen Basin

We travelled from Chirk Bank first across the Chirk Aqueduct and then through Chirk Tunnel.

The Aqueduct is no less spectacular than Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, running alongside the viaduct carrying the train line.

We followed a number of hire boats into the tunnel and were quite concerned as the boat in front of us seemed to have huge difficulty getting through the tunnel, it took us well over half an hour to get through, and we actually had to stop several times so they could sort themselves out.  

We stopped to put water on just before the aqueduct and then made our way onto the stream in the sky. 

The view from the aqueduct is amazing, and yes that is the edge of the boat next to the edge of the aqueduct.  There is nothing to stop you stepping out into the air and down!  Scary really!

I am not scared of heights but I did feel far more comfortable standing on the other side of the boat, further away from the edge!!

The views down to the River Dee are spectacular though...

...and Toby doesn't appear to be worried by the steep drop to his right!

He is tethered to an inside door, so quite safe!

We turned left away from the aqueduct and continued on into Llangollen and moored up for a couple of nights in the basin.

It is a lovely place to moor, each of the pontoons has water and electricity, and there is a nightly charge of £6.  Unfortunately you can only stay for 48 hours and then you have to return back along the canal.

Tuesday 24th October - Llangollen

Today we are having a boat day, cleaning, washing and generally tidying around.  Pleased to report this doesn't take very long, so plenty of time for just relaxing as well!!

Wednesday 25th October - Llangollen to Lift Bridge 44

Today our 48 hours are up so we decided to move the boat 1 mile back up the canal and moor up in open country.  The weather was beautiful, sunny, warm and incredibly calm!

We are negotiating a very narrow stretch of the canal, about 500m in total, where you are advised to send a crew member ahead before entering this part. We were the 2nd boat in a convoy of four and there were 2 boats waiting to come through as we left this stretch.

We moored up before the lift bridge with an excellent view of Castell Dinas Bran from our boat window.  

We are going to climb up to the castle and then walk along to Sun Trevor and back along the canal.

It is a very steep climb and Toby thoroughly enjoyed racing up and down the slope, rolling over as he lost his footing!!!

Castell Dinas Bran is a ruin of a medieval castle built about 1260 which was burnt down by the English and never rebuilt.

As the castle stands on a prominent stone outcrop the views in all directions are amazing.

In the distance you can quite clearly see the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and the River Dee.

On our way down we passed an ambulance crew attending a man who had fallen and hurt his leg.  Down on the road, the mountain rescue team had arrived with specialist equipment to carry the man down the hillside.

The incident can be seen on this picture if you can zoom in.  The team are just below the castle at a confluence of two paths creating a triangle.

We returned to the boat along the Offa's Dyke path and the canal towpath, another amazing walk.

Thursday 26th October - Lift Bridge 44 to Trevor Basin

Today we decided to walk into Llangollen and find Plas Newydd just above the town.

Two ladies Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Sarah Ponsonby, eloped from Ireland during the Regency era and set up home together in the cottage.

They created a beautiful Gothic building and stunning gardens and riverside walks and became celebrities visited by famous people during their time.

We returned to the town and stocked up on provisions before returning to the boat and moving the boat back along the canal and into the Trevor Basin where we moored for the night.  Quite a good mooring, but as the water doesn't get used very much there, it had a slight sulphorous smell to it which was not very pleasant and we decided to move on tomorrow.

Friday 27th October - Trevor Basin to Chirk Bank

A beautiful sunny day to cross back along the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct - the shape on the photo is our shadow and if you look really closely you can make out Dave steering the boat!

Coming into Chirk you are faced with factories billowing steam into the air - Kronospan manufactures and distributes wood-based panels and Mondelez replaced Cadbury's and manufactures hot chocolate.

We moored up at Chirk Bank, but this time in front of the bridge and spent the afternoon walking to Pont-y-blew.

An interesting walk with some very steep descents to the river valley.

Further along the valley we could see where the River Ceiriog joins the River Dee.

Saturday 28th October - Chirk Bank to Below Bridge 4W

Today we have decided to move onto Welsh Frankton - the middle of the middle of nowhere and moored up over looking fields with sheep and open views.

It was an incredibly windy day which made cruising a little tricky, but helped in this instance as the wind held us against the mooring for the water tap at New Marton Locks.

A beautiful sunset to finish the day, very quiet, very peaceful in solitary isolation!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely to see your photos. This is still our favourite canal but we did find it much more busy with hire boats than it was last time we were there in 2006, and we struck a few lumps too.
    Sorry we missed catching up again before we leave UK this week. Many thanks again for your initial look at Aftertime for us. We have her stored out of the water and ready to go again next May!
    Enjoy the rest of your winter cruise.