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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Wrenbury to Llangollen July 2014 Day 4

Tuesday morning we where up earlyish, the previous evening a few late travellers had passed us, possibly heading for a mooring in Chirk and then on to Llangollen so we decided to slip by them all early to get a mooring in Llangollen. We slipped past some moored at Lion Quays and the Poachers Pocket where the moorings where full. With our 31" draught we had our first grounding at bridge 19W just after the Poachers Pocket, for perhaps 10 yards I could feel small rocks or bricks under the skeg.
Sure enough at the narrows at Chirk Bank we passed loads more moored boats, still having breakfast. I made sure I was supplied with bacon butties to keep me going.
Approaching Chirk Bank.
Chirk Bank.
We negotiated the narrow section then rounded the bend and on to Chirk Aqueduct with the Shrewsbury-Chester railway viaduct alongside enjoying the views under the viaduct towards the hills.
Chirk Aqueduct.
View under viaduct.
Drifting boat - backwards with the flow.
Heading for the tunnel.
After the aqueduct due to our deep draught and the flow through the tunnel progress was slow, no point in gunning it as that just pulls you deeper so we chugged slowly through. We then passed the empty Black Prince Hire base, all the boats out, then into Whitehouse Tunnel with the same slow progress. We then entered the start of the concrete lined sections leading up to Froncysyllte where we stopped to get a good view of Pontcysyllte aqueduct.
Approaching the concrete section.
Pontcysyllte aqueduct.
Passing under Fron lift bridge.
Pulling in before the aqueduct we took on water hoping it wasn't slow allowing the late risers to pass us. It was a quick tap so away we went over the aqueduct, one of the wonders of the waterways.
On the Aqueduct.
River Dee.
Casting a shadow.
Turning for Llangollen at Trevor, I easily managed it in one go without hitting anything or using the bow thrusters, we passed through the next concrete lined section, which was to bring more grounding. Right at the end of the section, past bridge 33W, where the trees thin out, for approx 100 yds we ground along the bottom, I knocked it out of gear, and we lifted a little, still scraping along a rocky bottom. The rudder was lifting slightly, but stayed in the skeg, I just gave it a quick knock into gear now and then to keep up momentum and steerage. We eventually cleared the lined channel and took it easier from there.
The problem section where we ground along, just round the corner from
here a hirer was driving stakes into the bank to moor up, we where not
chancing passing him, we soon told him
to move as this was not the right place to moor.
We next went aground near Bryn Howel when a downward boat swept round the corner forcing me onto the mud with a nice list on, I bow thrustered the front into the channel and I could just reach the bank to give the boat a good hard shove of the mud.
Near Bryn Howel.
Next was the first narrow section at Sun Trevor, site of a former breach in 1945 that washed the adjoining railway away, plunging a goods train into the breach. Here Gill was sent forward with the Walkie Talkie to let me know if clear and to stop downwards boats. We waited a while for 3 boats to come through the narrows, then we where away.
Waiting at the start of the narrows, Castell Dinas Bran on the hill above Llangollen.
Clearing the narrows we headed up to the next narrow section before the linear visitor moorings at Llangollen, the beginning marked by the lift bridge. We had another wait here for boats leaving the moorings.
Lift bridge 44W
 One of the downward boats was NB Beefur, who blog occasionally.
NB Beefur
We then entered the narrow channel, I had expected grounding here, but it was plenty deep, with crystal clear water due to the flow from Horshoe Falls you could easily see the bottom. Then we headed up to the last narrows just before Llangollen Wharf.
Narrow section.
Looking back at the narrows.
Gill then headed up to the next section, before calling the boat up to the mooring basin, it took approx 2 1/2 hours from Trevor to Llangollen. We found a pontoon mooring in the basin, tied up around 12-30 and headed into Llangollen for a well deserved lunch and a pint.
Final narrows leading to the basin.
It really is narrow.

Looking back.
Last bit.
Moored in the basin, which by evening was jam packed.
The journey time was 5 hours from St Martins Moor, a bit longer than normal due to the draught of the boat.

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