Sunday 23 July 2023

They are all leaving HURRAY!

Yes you've guessed it, an early start today.  
When we were here five or six years ago we went over the Ponty-thingy aqueduct at 6am, it was a beautiful day too.  We got through the narrow sections of the canal from Trevor to the basin at Llangollen well by 8am and had breakfast in the nice cafe there.  We'd hoped to do the same today.

But today was another story.  

At David's sister Sally's we'd been told this week was the Eisteddfod (An international music and singing festival held at Llangollen each year), the Eisteddfod was this week.  We had know it was about now but thought it was only a weekend and last weekend....
As we passed over Chirk Aqueduct and through the tunnel there was a boat waiting for us to exit, he hovered there absolutely blinding us with his tunnel light..
"God its mad there in the basin, there's a pop concert on there and no space"  He too said he'd left at 5am.

He disappeared into the tunnel leaving us two looking at each other wondering if this was true.

Well we did carry on. 

These photos are not necessarily in the exact order of the journey, but you get the idea I'm sure.   

Still very early when we passed by these boats.

Suddenly around a corner the sight of Chirk Aqueduct and the railway bridge right next to it but we didn't see a train.

I was perfectly happy on this one, the wide stone edge makes all the difference.

You just about make out WaL's shadow if you use your good eye and your imagination.  (See the two black birds on the top?

Looking east into the sun rise.

A good zoom on my camera.  These two preening in the sun on the very top of the railway bridge.

I think that is my shadow as I poked my head of of the cratch for this shot.

Chirk tunnel and nice reflection.

Last place I'd moor in trees but I do like the sun shining though trees.

So you are in trees for some considerable time and then without enough time to get my stomach in order here is the Ponty-wot-not Aqueduct.

Five or six years ago we got here and waited for David's cousin to join us to go over.  We moored up perhaps a mile back and cycled up to Trevor one afternoon.  When we had walked across it became apparent that there was a funeral taking place.  A young man six weeks previously had fallen to his death larking about with friends.  Now that stays with a person and I treated that Aqueduct with a great deal of respect and a dollop of fear.  Today the dollop was double the size.  Perhaps it's an age thing.

Trevor in the distance, kinda looks alright from here.

But holy carp its an unprotected vertical drop.  I could barely look to take these photos.

The river Dee, looking west-ish

Thank god we are over.... See the man with what looks like a white dog?

Well here he is again, he'd picked up my cratch cushion form the pavement on the aqueduct and carried it the whole way to return it to me.  Needless to say I thanked him profusely.  From memory it's the third time a cushion has been blown out of the cratch now,  I had the cratch covers rolled up as it was such a lovely morning and to take photos.
Well just before the man had caught us up by now at the junction, two boats had appeared coming down from Llangollen the first came hammering out and whacked into the wall opposite Brace Brace Brace I said as the inevitable crash was audible, the second boat was shorter and slower than goodness.  We made the careful turn incident free and crept along,  its a bit tight just on this bit and we caught up with another hire boat that was on the side with two crew holding the ropes, the third was ahead unseen with a Walkie Talkie telling of oncoming boats.  The helm was visibly nervous of the whole affair and while we waited eight boats came past, all close together.  We were of course delighted by this as with the two at the junction meant that ten boats in total had left either the basin or the arm, so room for us.

Then suddenly the trees give way to more openness an the scenery takes on definitely a more alpine feel.  We saw it all at its best in sunshine, being Wales this isn't always the case.  Immediately after this bridge in the distance was when the eight boats came past us in convoy.

First glimpse of Llangollen from the elevated canal.

The very last stretch of narrows.

I'd walked (or marched) from bridge 40 to the end I guess it was 1 1/2 miles, phone in hand ahead to warn David of any approaching boats.  He passed one more in the very narrow passing place and the last one where the line of moored boats are just outside the basin so I think that made twelve boats that had departed.  I jumped back on here and we got into the basin with a large choice of pontoons.  They all have electricity hook-up and a water tap.  Most convenient for doing a couple of loads of laundry. 

It was by now approaching 10am so the whole trip had taken much longer than we had anticipated.

Lets walk up to the hotel for coffee says he.  So we did and had coffee in the sun, on their terrace over looking the river as it flows over the rocks.  We passed on lunch as we both wanted to eat at the rather lovely Corn Mill Pub back in Llangollen again right on the riverbank.  By the time we got there I was starving and had aching legs.

The adorable waitress fetched unasked a programme for the Festival or Eisteddfod, tonight was the opening concert.
I looked online, there were still a few tickets available for someone called Alfie Boe, singing songs from West End Shows amongst others...  Shall we go I said, but in the event we didn't as we were both tired.  Back to the boat and we got the chairs out to sit in the late afternoons sun, it was gorgeous, a few more boats had arrived during the day and some were sitting out too.  

Then music started, it was the act before the main concert but the main thing was it was directly opposite the basin.  We were treated to wonderful live music all evening for free and I loved it.
David fell asleep quite early but Alfie Boe played onto until 23:30.

Sat in the sun in the basin having after dinner coffee and listening to the concert, if not watching it.

WaL enjoying the basin.


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