Friday, March 27, 2015

Sea, Sand And Mountains....A Visit To Barmouth

Ben on Barmouth Beach (dogs allowed area)

Ben and Eric on the beach

I love to see the sea (dirt on lens)

I love to see the mountains

Ben found a stick on the beach
I took Ben for a short walk this morning and he  stayed on the pier next to the boat to make sure he was having a day out too. He happily jumped in the car, didn't whinge on the way and had a lovely walk on the beach. We enjoyed our trip too as we love to see the sea  and the mountains in Wales.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Back In Whixall

Our arrival back to Whixall Marina was well timed as there was no wind, getting into position with wind is a pain. Soon we were back on shore power and all settled in. That was Sunday afternoon so we had our Sunday lunch at teatime. Nothing's changed here other than the diesel is 70 something rather than 90 something a litre for 0%. It's a card machine so you can do it yourself.

We've been mud larking also known as dog walking with Ben the dog on the Mosses, around Ellesmere and around Whixall. Yesterday we went to Ellesmere  by car and did some shopping after our walk as we needed to get some chocolate for our grandchildren for Easter.

In the afternoon we had a surprise visit from Richard and Marion (NB Cartref) currently in Northampton soon to be relocated in Whixall when they get here in about five weeks. Where they are there are 17 locks to do before they can go anywhere. On this canal there's only 21 locks and 10  lift bridges on the whole Llangollen Canal including 2 on the Prees Arm. Our trip to Llangollen was just two lift bridges and two locks in each direction, so a very pleasant trip.  

We're here until Easter and then we're off to deliver those chocolate goodies to our grandchildren.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ellesmere In Sunshine

At Ellesmere Junction
Last night we stopped a few bridges past Maestermyn on visitor moorings, there was another boat there but we didn't see anyone before we left in the morning. This morning we headed for Ellesmere in the sunshine.

BOATERS BE AWARE new rubbing strips on  bridges 1W and 2W (Langollen Canal) had been fitted  and now have rows of protruding hexagonal nuts, which you need to avoid. Also bridge 52 near Lyneal Wharf. Usually the bolts have domed heads or are recessed.

Protruding heads beware! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Return Journey- Llangollen To Chirk

Our exit from Llangollen was much quicker than the journey in as we were travelling with the flow of water. I walked the narrows with Ben after saying our goodbyes to friends on the winter moorings. No boats coming through so Eric didn't have to wait  for any to come through. In fact we didn't see any moving narrowboats until just before Trevor Basin, the only moving boats were canoes near Bryn Howell.

We took the sharp right turn into Trevor Basin and were somewhat surprised that we could go straight across the Pontysycyllte Aqueduct without waiting, lovely in the sunshine with no wind.  We've been across it on windy days and in snow on other occasions. We didn't meet another moving boat until we got to the Fron lift bridge which Eric opened and shut for me  and I steered the boat through.

We went through Whitehouse Tunnel and then moored up just past Chirk Marina on the new visitor  moorings. A few boats have passed here since we moored up but it's very quiet today.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Going Up To Castell Dinas Bran

We made it! ( photo of Liz's phone)
Today Ben and I walked to the top of the hill  with the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran  on, with Liz and Connie. My progress was slow with lots of stops on conveniently placed benches but we made it. We haven't been up there since Ben had meningitis so he did really well.

Updated with some more photographs.

Just another photo from Castell Dinas Bran

Lots to smell up here!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Llangollen Update And A Surprise Visitor

We're having a taste of civilization in Llangollen, which is quieter after a busy weekend.  Since we arrived we've shopped for food and done the washing. ....not at all exciting. Liz, Nick and Connie are here on NB Henry for the winter so Ben the dog has his pal again. Getting him walking is usually hard going but he quite happily walked to Horseshoe Falls and back following Connie. It gave Liz and I chance to put the world to right and have a good catch up. A resurfaced footpath to Llantysilio Church made walking there mud free and there's a circular route back across the field to a picnic area and car park. Too late to see the carpet of snowdrops in the church yard but a pleasant flat walk any way.

 Horseshoe Falls

We met up for a meal at Fouzis' with Nick and Liz which was great with lovely food and good company. We resisted desserts and had  coffees instead. Ben the dog wasn't happy to be left and had a good bark which hopefully soon stopped. He was fine when we got back, he'd eaten his treats  so he must have settled down. We leave the radio on to keep him company.

This morning I was still in my pyamas and dressing gown, waiting for the water to heat up for a shower when Connie and Nick came by the boat. Ben was pleased to see her. A little later I had another visitor Lauren from Austin, Texas who had come by boat with her husband Jim and son Ty  on a boating holiday. The surprise was she'd been reading my blog,  fancied a boating holiday and hired a narrowboat from Canaltime at Whixall Marina. She came on board and told us about some of the places they'd visited on their big trip. Lovely to meet someone who reads my blog from so far away.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Moored At Llangollen

NB Bendigedig in Llangollen Basin
Today we did the final stretch into Llangollen through the narrows. I walked on with Ben the dog and phoned Eric to tell him it was ok to come through.Then we stopped at the facilities to empty some cassettes. Bernie and Maggie came out to welcome us and have a catch up chat. No room online so we went up to the mooring basin which is home for four boats including us.

I made a shepherd's pie for lunch and then Eric found the tv signal to watch the Grand Prix while I popped into town to get a paper. Llangollen is very busy today with lots of visitors. There's a steam festival here this weekend too..

Eric's just cleaned the chimney  so I can light the fire. It went out last night so it was a good chance to sweep the chimney. We used the central heating to keep the boat warm until we could relight the fire. It actually obliged by coming on at the first attempt, it's rather temperamental  depending on how well charged the batteries are.

We need to top of the water tank and then we can be thorough lazy for the rest of Mother's Day. Our three daughters remembered too!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Moored At The Lift Bridge, Llangollen

We left our mooring near Chirk Marina with two hire boats in front of us, so it took a very long time to get anywhere. Obviously very new to boating and spent more time stopping everytime they saw a boat than actually moving. We even crossed the Pontysycyllte Aqueduct at snail's pace. We finally stopped at Sun Trevor so I could take a bus into Wrexham for a hair cut and a little retail therapy. I used a gift card Dilys gave me to buy a new leather purse, very posh with a dragonfly motif on it.

When I got back Eric was watching the Wales v Ireland  on TV catchup as he'd given up on trying to point the aerial in the right direction.  He was very frustrated as the screen on his tablet had decided to freeze with just two minutes to go to the end of the game. We decided to go as far as the lift bridge and pointed the aerial straight down towards Llangollen and got 32 channels so that'll do for tonight. Just found out Wales won!!

We didn't want to go all the way to Llangollen as if we arrive on the visitor moorings tomorrow morning we can stay until Tuesday morning , it's still 48 hours mooring unless you have a winter mooring of course.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Another Short Trip To Moorings At Chirk

Crossing Chirk Aqueduct

Eric Eskimo style

The light at the end of the tunnel
Lack of a TV signal last night meant watching Eastenders via Wi-Fi on I player This morning we decided to move a little to just outside Chirk Marina even though it was very wet and soggy outside. Ben and I had a very wet and muddy walk before we set off with lots of big puddles which he ran through while I used them to clean by boots! We knew if we moved we could get a satellite signal to watch Comic Relief Red Nose Day on TV tonight. It was surprisingly cold on the back of the boat as we travelled across Chirk Marina with Eric looking like an eskimo. As usual we travelled  crab style through Chirk Tunnel with just one holiday boater ahead of us. Definately another hot soup lunch day.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

On The Move To Poachers, Gledrid

Going up!

Eric's feeling cold.
Last night was spent in the mist but by morning it had gone. Up and away by half past ten but not so warm today with the wind as we did New Marton Locks, it's one of those exposed places where it's usually windy and blowing the boat off the towpath so you have a job to get it in to moor up. Nobody about at the locks but they were full so there must have been a boat ahead of us. Quickly through them though, in the past we've queued for hours to get  through these locks. 

It's quiet on the cut with just a few boats moving today and a few moored up as we slowly passed them by, not in any hurry.  Signs of Spring with lambs frollicking in the fields, daffodils and primroses alongside the hedges. Lunch was hot tomato soup on the go as we continue on our way. Suitably cold we stopped at 'The Poachers' , I don't know what happened to the pocket, it used to be called 'Poachers' Pocket'. The moorings were deserted but plenty of cars in the car park.

No dishes tonight....someone else is doing the washing up and Ben the dog is home alone for an hour or so.He didn't want to be left and started barking as we locked up, but he was fine when we got back an hour later. No boats moored other than us so nobody to annoy. Lovely food tonight and  I brought back a doggy bag with some salmon for Ben the dog, which was gone in a flash.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Very Short Trip

That crane photograph, Ellesmere

It was very dark last  night with no lights on pontoons we have grown used to. Ben refused to jump off the boat last night until we made the bank lighter by opening the curtains as well as using torches. We know he's lost his sight in one eye as the result of meningitis so perhaps he needs more light. 

We topped up the cupboards, fridge and freezer before leaving Ellesmere behind for a short trip to moor  just outside Ellesmere just as the rain started. It's quieter to more here as each time a dog walker passed the boat  on the arm Ben had to see them off with a noisy bark. Here few walkers come this far out of Ellesmere.

Turning the boat at the bottom of the arm was hampered by the wind, so Eric had to use the rope to pull the front of the boat around with the help of a passing boater. It gave me time to take the Ellesmere with the big crane photograph. I jumped off at the top of the arm and Ben nearly had a dip, dangling his back legs when he misjudged the jump......he didn't hurt himself. Getting him to walk was hampered by him keeping check to see if the boat was coming too.

After lunch we went for a short walk leaving Eric on the boat. It ended up  being very short indeed as there was a bang and Ben turned around and headed back to the boat Time to test out the coffee maker using the 1800w inverter, it works as it's only on a few minutes but I'm not sure how much it takes out of the batteries. We'll need to run the engine for some hot water later so it doesn't really matter. If we run it for an hour in the evening it warms up the water ready for showers in the morning. We've been spoiled by the immersion heater we use when we're on shoreline.

A lazy afternoon followed listening to the radio until the batteries died, they don't last long considering it's 6 AA batteries perhaps  I need Duracell ones.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

We're Happy To Be Cruising

We woke this morning to a lovely sunny day with no wind so today became the day we  go cruising. Of course the camera battery was dead it's a phone photo.  We topped up the  water and headed over to fill up with diesel. It took 100 litres at 94p a litre.  We managed to get a bit of carpet round the prop so the first trip down the weed hatch was today too.

It took three hours by boat to get to Ellesmere, it seemed so slow after our 30 minute car journeys but it was so much nicer. Those two lift bridges on the Prees Arm exercised the arm muscles which certainly need to get back into shape. Ben and I walked alongside the boat for a while. He was a bit confused at which side of the boat was land after all these months in the marina.

So we're moored up on the Elllesmere Arm enjoying a change of scenery, whether we move tomorrow depends on the weather......boating in the rain is not fun.

Spring Has Sprung

The daffodils are out, makes me think of the ditty 'Spring has sprung'. A lovely morning today after a cold night of 2 degrees C, the sun is shining and the sky is blue. The cold wind has gone for the moment so dog walking won't be cold and wet for a change. It just remains to decide where to go.......

Friday, March 06, 2015

More Mosses Walking The Dog

The Mosses Trails (NNR Pamplet)

We've been walking today and it ended up being a long walk of more than two and a half hours so we're all  'cream crackered' also called knackered I am the only one awake! Afternoon naps for Ben and Eric and I can hear the snoring from the galley.

We decided to go and find the route of the disused  Ellesmere to Whitchurch (1862) which crosses the Mosses. Intersting to see that the railway line was built nearly sixty years after the canal was built. We started off at the  National Nature Reserve (NNR) Car park at Morris' Bridge and   walked the green route until it met the purple route heading towards the disused  railway line. Of course we crossed into Wales as the border crosses the Mosses. A lovely  mud free walk along the springy surface of the trails as long as you avoided the occasional peaty puddles on the route.

We walked across to the old railway line now a lovely easy walk and decided to walk towards Bettisfield. We passed a sign which said car park on a grassy verge which just made me smile, it seemed odd to have a sign post with no actual car park. The route took us pass some new sights, a blueberry farm, Bettisfield Church as well as a view of the old Bettisfield Railway Station now converted into a lovely home.

We followed the route until we met a country lane which took us back to the  Llangollen Canal (1804) with another two miles or more back to where we started. As we walked along the long straight  heading to the junction with the Prees  Branch it seemed to be slow progress as we were feeling tired, but Ben the dog was still  doing well  and patiently waiting for us.

Back on the boat  we had lunch of sausages and mash followed by a long drink.  Ben and Eric went to sleep soon afterwards while I did the washing up.........and they are still asleep!