Friday, May 13, 2016

We Are In Llangollen

And boy was getting here worth the ride!

After we left Whitchurch we headed to Ellesmere where we did some laundry in a laundromat, checked out some charity shops, and had a latte and teacake in a local shop.

Afterwards we headed towards Llangollen.

But here it is the scenery that steals the show.

We went by Britain's largest peat bog. It was commercially "harvested" until the 1990's when it became governmentally protected. It is like looking out over an alien landscape of some sort.  But it is also now a wonderful refuge for wildlife.  Win. Win.

You then travel through the beautiful Shropshire Lake District near Ellesmere.  The area of nine lakes, or metres, will literally stun you with how picturesque it is.  Icy blue water surrounded by gorgeous forest.  Cole Mere and Blake Mere border the canal in all their scenic splendour. We hope to moore here on our return trip. Wish us luck.

We crossed the border between England and Wales while navigating the 696 foot long, one lane wide Chirk Canal. Built in 1801, it rises 70 feet above the River Curiog.

The aqueduct is followed immediately by the literally one boat wide, 459 yard long Chirk Tunnel.

Both were navigated successfully without meeting another boat in an awkward location, I am pleased to announce.

Then we had the joy of cruising through some more splendidly isolated rural countryside where only the language of cows or sheep disturbed the silence. Even the usual canal side pubs did not add their usual touch of civilization.  And all the time the comely Berwyn Mountains overlooked us.

Today we crossed the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and for all its 1000 feet it seemed like we were slowly floating above the world 120 feet below.  Built in 1805, it is supported by 19 curved arches that just add to the beauty it projects.

Once off the Aqueduct the canal travels along a narrow ridge of land overlooking the splendid Vale of Llangollen.  In many places it narrows to the width of one boat and the hillside you are clinging to twists and turns with such abandonment that a view of what is ahead is impossible.   I walked the canal path ahead of the boat in order to provide information about what was ahead and forestall any unwelcome meetings of the too up close and personal type between us and another boat.

The hillsides along the path are blanketed with wild garlic now beautifully in bloom with delicate white flowers.  I just had to pick some to flavor tonight's pasta.

A wonderful, wonderful day.

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