Sleeping Beauty

Llangollen Station

After a communal breakfast, we set off towards Chirk just before 9:00. The canal was rather narrow and it was difficult to make much headway, having to stop and start to pass boats coming in the other direction. After a while, we came to the Chirk aqueduct, the smaller of the two we would cross today.

It is amazing to see the lengths that the engineers and navigators went to, to circumvent the natural obstacles, hills and valleys, to allow the canal to wend its way across the landscape. It’s also impressive to note that many of these structures predate even the early railways.

Following successful navigation of both the Chirk and Whitehouse tunnels, we took a sharp right turn and were confronted by the awe inspiring Pontcysyllte aqueduct. Crossing is just like flying, to the right there is the towpath and a stout railing, to the left there’s nothing but blue sky and the drop to the river below, amazing. Photographs really don’t do justice to this incredible piece of engineering.

Turning in the Trevor basin, we made our way up the, oft single file, spur towards Llangollen. Following a boating novice from New Zealand made progress a little slow, but hugely entertaining. We turned the boat in Llangollen basin, moored up, and after a lazy lunch made our way down from the towpath into the town.

What joy! A beautifully restored steam engine in full steam was shunting carriages ready to take visitors off to Carrog. After a quick photo session, we had a stroll around the town, including the obligatory ice cream, in beautiful, if slightly blustery, sunshine. While the SAS went to stock up on provisions, Bumble and I sat on the station in the sunshine and watched the trains. Does life get much better?

Coming back across the aqueduct we decided to moor up short of the Whitehouse tunnel, in a leafy clearing, tranquillity personified. Steve cooked diner, but after a rather exciting and slightly physical day, walking to and from the town, Bumble found her eyelids just too heavy to keep open and retired at 8:30. The rest of us didn’t do much better, so by 10:00 the crew were all sound asleep.

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