Sunday, July 1, 2012

On the Llangollen

Elaine here ...

On Saturday morning, just as we were about to leave our moorings at the Olde Barbridge Inn, the mobile phone rang, with a young girl saying, "Hello, sorry to disturb you ...".  Paul - having answered the phone automatically thought she was calling from a call centre and was just about to cut her off, when she asked "Have you lost a dog?"  Paul said, "no, I don't think so (and then looking around very quickly) added "oh, er, maybe"!   She said "I've got a little white dog called Sam here'... to which all alarm bells went up !  Anyway, it transpired that, within a few seconds, Sam had managed to sneak off the boat and gone out into the road beside the pub, where the girl had found him !  We met her in the pub car park, thanked her profusely and returned Sam to the boat, with a firm resolve to keep our eyes on him every second of the days ahead !!  What a worry - we really didn't want to think what could have become of him !  Thank goodness we got new name tags with our UK phone number and name of the narrowboat on it before we left Aus !  We hadn't put the new collars and tags on the cats but after that close call, we now have all 5 animals fully labelled (much to the cats' disgust !).

Anyway, we set off towards the Hurlstone locks and onto the Llangollen canal, where we encountered our first traffic jam of boats !  There were loads of boats coming up and down and it ended up looking like a game of dodgems along the way!  A few  boats were having troubles controlling their boats in the pounds inbetween the locks and, generally, chaos prevailed !


When we were preparing to come out of the third lock, it looked like there was a boat coming down as the 4th lock was emptying but when the gates opened, the lock was empty - turned out the people doing the top lock were doing the Helmsman's course !  Great - they got the lock ready for us to go straight into and then they did it all for us!  Bonus !

At the top of the locks are the services!  It looked like Picadilly circus up there (Pitt St to our Aussie readers!)...
View down the locks
Busy waiting for the water point - we were there for about an hour all up - plenty of time for a cup of tea and Jammie Dodgers !
  ... and plenty of time to take a few snaps ...  

On the way from the locks we noticed an 'old friend's boat' ...Kelly Louise ! 
Hello there !

We stopped just before Bridge 12 (seems to be a pattern here !) - which was just near to Ravensmoor.  Paul had read on someone else's blog that there was a good pub there somewhere, so we stopped for the night - although it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere ('woop woop' to our Aussie readers !).  Paul took the dogs out for a walk and we got ready to go out ...

Paul usually has a 'general sense' of where he wants to go but no' fine detail' ... as it was last night when he set us off trekking through fields, amongst the cows, with a general idea that there was a pub 'over there' somewhere !

We trekked through the muddy fields (almost through an especially muddy field full of cows) but finally reached a road.  Paul's 'pub radar' directed him right at the end of the road and, indeed, there was a pub!  The pub was called the 'Farmer's Arms' and, on first sight, it didn't look to offer too much.  Even once inside we weren't too impressed but after ordering our drinks and hearing the initial jokes from the barman and the resident guest in the corner, we got talking with all the locals and we had such a laugh with them it was hard to leave at 9.30 pm to head back to the boat again !  (We had to leave before dark as we would have never found our way back through those fields!)  We had asked the locals if this was in fact the quickest way back to the canal and we were informed that it was - the cow field was a short cut, but a bit too muddy!  They also informed us that that part of the canal was where the wild cats played ... !!  (and the Yeti, and the Sasquatch !)

Anyway, we bid our farewells and they invited us to come back again soon ! 
Farmers Arms
 On the way back to the boat we had a chat with the cows ... I really love cows ...
One cow loved Paul so much he was kissing his hand !  (They all backed off when I went close to them ... which is really wierd because I am a vegetarian !!!  I am 'friend of cows' !!)

On approach back to our boat it was getting dark ... just made it in time to find it!

This morning - being Sunday morning we were especially lazy - Paul even bought me breakfast in bed !!

We eventually decided to get going at lunch time ... can't rush these things !

We had a few locks to do today - the first one was pretty congested but they calmed down a bit after that !  We did the three Baddiley locks, then approached Wrenbury where I did a 'windlass-operated' lift bridge ... and did my bit for another boater !

Then - my hate of hates - an automated lift bridge!  We approached it slowly as it was around a sharpish left bend, I hopped off with my BW key in hand and went to read the instructions.  I HATE STOPPING TRAFFIC !  Anyway, I did my job, lowered the barrier and raised the bridge !  Paul was passing through the bridge when we noticed that there was a boat coming behind us - not close enough to be in procession through the bridge but not far enough away for me to shut the bridge down ... bugger !  So - I kept my finger on the 'open' button whilst making placating gestures at the waiting pedestrians and traffic ... building up!!!

The next boat approached - and he lost it on the bend !  Bloody bugger !  Sorry everybody !!!  He was bashing against moored hire boats and thrashing about, so the boat behind him took the opportunity to come through - which caused him a bit more 'wash' and sloshed him about some more !!  His wife fended him off of the bank that he was getting stuck on and finally he got the pointy end through the hole and through the bridge !  By this time I was just about wetting myself - and I was noticing a few cranky faces on the traffic waiting at 3 junctions !  Finally I got to close the bridge and replaced the barrier, got my key back and got the 'flock' out of there !  Did I mention I hate lift bridges ?!
Anyway, there is good that has come out of the whole experience in that it has spurred me on to learn to drive the boat !!!
Yours truly at the tiller .... be afraid !
We carried on and did the Marbury lock, the Quoisley lock and the Willeymoor lock ... I alternately took Sam and Bombo with me to do the locks ... here is a pic of Sammy patiently waiting !

This was a lovely lock cottage and one of the above mentioned locks !
We bought some Free Range eggs at the cottage.  I love the little 'honesty boxes' that you find along the way !

We continued on - deciding to moor near Grindley Brook.

We found a lovely mooring for tonight ... just before Jackson's Bridge (No. 26) - as a bonus, we have got TV reception, internet and telephone reception !

 We took the dogs for a stroll down the canal to have a look at the Grindley Brook locks (3) and the Staircase locks there (3) - to see how they work !  On the way Paul's radar came into action and we ended up going for a swift half in the 'Horse and Jockey' pub !  It was a lovely pub (which allowed dogs!)  - we didn't stay long though as we had to get back to the boat for dinner and to watch the footie ! 
When we came out of the pub (which was on a busy, main road) - we noticed there were chickens all over the verge.  However, one chicken was on the wrong side of the road, so Paul did his good deed for the day, went and retrieved it and put it back with its friends on the right side of the road - how long it will stay there I don't know !

We checked out the locks for tomorrow and noticed some beautiful canalside properties along the way - how is this for a flower arrangement ...

Almost back to the boat and another narrowboat 'shooshed us' as they had noticed a 'mink' on the other side of the bank ... don't know if it was but it was something we had never seen before ! 
It dropped into the water and we didn't see it after that ... !!

Got back to the boat, had dinner and watched footie - another hard day on the 'cut' !!!!
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  1. Hello again you two. Welcome to "our neck of the woods". Our paths have crossed again, without meeting, if you remember last time was Sydney, in February. This time we are in London visiting our daughter, as we spoke about before, (cheap train tickets). Just for info, there is a very handy Tesco supermarket right by the canal at Ellesmere, on the town arm. It is also best to arrange your journey past Trevor midweek if possible, as it is chaos around the Anglo Welsh hire base at Trevor on a Saturday, arriving at Llangollen for a quieter weekend stay. The leg between Trevor and Llangollen is also narrow, and best done with a walker ahead of the boat to watch for others approaching the other way. On the way back, the passage through the Wrenbury road bridge is more tricky, as there is little room to manoeuvre in the right turn past the ABC hire boats that stick out into the canal on the left. Nice and slow is the name of the game, take no notice of the car traffic, as long as you abide by the rules and only allow a max of 3 boats through at a time in procession, they can beep their horns all they want! Have a great trip on a beautiful canal. We are next there the weekend of the 14th of July for a trip to Wrenbury ourselves, with visitors.

    1. Hi Peter
      We are in Ellesmere at the moment, we will be here for a couple of days, we plan to get to Llangollen next rush!

  2. Holding up the traffic at lift bridges is one of the perks of boating.........enjoy !!