Sunday, 5 November 2017

Overwinter Cruise - Week 4

Sunday 29th October - Below Bridge 4W 

Spent a very pleasant day in the most wonderful weather - sparkling sunshine and barely a breeze.   Decided to go for a walk along the canal as far as Hindford and then back across country through Welsh Frankton.  Found a delightful little cafe and treated ourselves to coffee and cake in the sunshine, sublime!

Because of the clear skies, it was a starlit night with a perfect reflection of the half moon in the canal, the photo is nowhere as stunning as the real thing!

Monday 30th October - Below Bridge 4W - Visitor Moorings 1 mile from Ellesmere

The next morning was the our first frost of the season, sun just beginning to rise, mist drifting off the canal and everything with a touch of glitter!

Even the flower tubs looked extra special, with a covering of frost.

Another sparkling day, we set off and worked our way very gently to about 1 mile outside Ellesmere at a secluded visitor mooring.

We passed the junction with The Montgomery Canal, too early to see any boats going up or down the locks but there was one waiting.

The cloud formation was so pretty.  I have no knowledge of clouds, so any information would be gratefully received.

We arrived at the visitor moorings, tied up and spent some time cleaning the inside of the boat.  

We then walked into Ellesmere for a little bit of shopping before returning to the boat and settling down for the evening.

Tuesday 31st October - Visitor Moorings 1 mile from Ellesmere

Today we have a day at the boat with a 7 mile walk thrown in!  Dave used the OS Map to plan a walk from the canal to Greenhill Bank and back into Ellesmere, following footpaths and very quiet by roads.  A stunning walk which included fields of sheep, bullocks, horses and ponies - we felt very pleased with ourselves getting safely through these fields!

Wednesday 1st November Visitor Moorings to Ellesmere Arm

Today we moved the boat all of 1 mile into the Ellesmere Arm.  We put water on at the Maintenance Yard and then turned into the arm.  Dave winded the boat in the turning circle at the end of the arm and we moored up nearer the entrance.

We decided to have a quiet  day on the boat after some shopping.

Thursday 2nd November - Ellesmere Arm

Today we decided to explore The Mere and walk out as far Welshampton and have lunch before walking back along the canal past Colemere and Blakemere.

Again, some stunning views toward Welshampton, wide open fields mostly growing sugar beet or simply pasture.

The walk back along the canal was beautiful with the attractive Beech House standing at the Ellesmere junction.  This is where Thomas Telford worked on his plans for the Llangollen Canal.

Friday 3rd November - Ellesmere to Prees Branch

Today we decided to stock up on provisions and make a move away from Ellesmere and out into open countryside for the weekend.  The main reason for this is to get away from large firework displays as the noise really upsets Toby.

We passed through Ellesmere Tunnel with no problem except that a boat coming the other way didn't check the tunnel and had to reverse out the way for me.  No excuse really as all our lights were on!

Cruising past Blakemere and Colemere was beautiful as the trees are gently losing their leaves, there was barely a breeze but as we moved along leaves would just fall and spin down to the towpath or into the canal.  I realised that I had never spent the time watching leaves fall from the trees before.

We moored for the weekend just before the junction with the Prees Branch alongside Fenns, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses, a place we are keen to explore.

Saturday 4th November - Prees Branch

Today we decided to explore the Mosses and made our way down the canal and followed the myriad of footpaths into the area.

We found a field of these lovely looking saddle back cows, Belted Galloway, from southern Scotland, a heritage breed of beef cattle.

The Mosses are a large open space, quite flat and very boggy, fascinating to walk through, but I found the experience quite disorientating - wherever you looked it was exactly the same and I began to doubt where we were in the end!

Fenn’s, Whixall & Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve, are part of Britain’s third largest lowland raised bog Site of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England and Natural Resources Wales have been restoring the Mosses, since large-scale commercial peat cutting was stopped in 1990. This preserves the irreplaceable record of our past in the peat, conserves rare boggy biodiversity, provides wider environmental benefits and mitigates climate change by keeping the peat carbon stored in the bog.

A lovely sunset, and a relatively quiet night considering it is the night before Bonfire Night.  Toby remained quite calm!

This is the end of our 4th week and we are gradually working our way back towards the Hurleston Junction before it is closed for the winter works later on this month.

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