Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Whixall Swan Family

Whixall's swan family

We moved onto Ellesmere on Thursday and moored up before the turnoff for the arm, plenty of room there on a Thursday. One very speedy boat came past with waves with no thoughts of slowing down for moored boats and we had to go out and retie the boat. A few minutes he went past going the other way and we had to retie the boat again. Yes I did shout at him but it made no difference! The boat was from Anglowelsh at Trevor.....should have noted its name and complained!

We had a quiet night and left on Friday morning to cruise back to Whixall, pleasant too as there were only a few boats on the move. Just one lift bridge to do on the Prees Branch and we were back home again to windy Whixall. The swan family are doing well with their nine cygnets.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

On Our Way Back To Base

Moored at New Marton

The water levels were back up Monday morning at Llangollen and the weather was much better.  We didn't get far walking the dog, Ben hates the steam whistle of the trains but we only had one toot while we were out. I popped into Wrexham to get a haircut and do a little bit of shopping while Eric had a lazy afternoon with Ben the dog.

Lots of boats on the move but we'd paid for two nights  mooring. We made use of the electric using the washing machine. Loads of room to moor  over the weekend but it fills up in the week.

On Tuesday   we were on the move, Ben and I walking the narrows while Eric waited  for the phone call.....hoping for a signal. I couldn't get him so told the last boat through to pass on the was our turn to go. At the right  turn onto the aqueduct the way was clear to go straight across.  

We moored up near Chirk Marina for an overnight stop and this morning we were on our way when there a lull in the boats going past. Ben and I walked as far as Chirk Tunnel getting onboard to follow a boat through the tunnel and across the Chirk Aqueduct back to England.

Progress was really slow following a convey of boats.  The day hire boats left us at Poachers' and a few more boats stopped for lunch a bit further on,  but there was still six ahead of us at New Marton Locks.  Finally through we moored up below the locks. An amazing sunset later on......Eric took the photographs.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

It's Raining In Llangollen

I shouldn't have said I didn't mind the rain because Saturday was a very wet and windy day. Queues at New Marton Locks meant a long wait as some of  the  new hire boaters were unsure at the first locks they'd met. I went up to help and was asked if I was the lock keeper. The wind didn't help as boating in wind is never easy.

Finally through the locks and on our way  stopping near Chirk Marina where we knew we could get a satellite signal. The railway line is close but it's not a busy line. Lots of boats on the move, met at bridge holes and blind corners but no contact was made. No wait to cross the Chirk Aqueduct and at least it wasn't raining in the tunnel!

This morning the weather looked better, a few brief showers later but a much better day. We topped up with water before we crossed the aqueduct.  No wait at the Pontycysyllte Aqueduct, and we had our picture taken many times by the visitors walking across. The left turn towards Llangollen was held up by a long boat having trouble getting round. The cruise to Llangollen was very slow and we struggled as the water level was about nine inches down. The trip boat from Llangollen was finding it slow going too and he normally keeps a good pace.

I walked ahead to check for oncoming boats before the moorings, nothing coming but I had to walk about a  bit to get a phone signal to tell Eric he could come through the narrows. Finally moored up and plugged in.....time to relax once I'd paid the mooring fee.  The horse drawn boats couldn't work today as they were getting stuck with the water level problem.

We left Ben the dog for an hour while we ate out at Fouzi's, sampling their roast of the day which was delicious. He usually has a bark so we hope he didn't annoy the neighbours. Back on the boat, it's now hammering down with rain but at least we're inside, nice and dry. Hopefully the water level will go up with all this rain.

Friday, August 19, 2016

After The Heat I Don't Mind The Rain

After a sweltering week or so, the rain this morning was a bit of a relief for me. Even the boat freezer struggled with the heat and no doubt happier now it's cooler. The new domestic battery isolator solved the problem of low battery voltage at the freezer too.

Back in the marina on Tuesday after a busy week in Newport. The air conditioning in the car was great keeping us cool on our three hour trip back. We stopped at the arboretum near Hereford for a toilet break, a cuppa and a walk amongst the amazing trees. They've introduced parking fees but you pay just £1 for a short stay, long enough for our needs.

The interior of the boat was 90 degrees F/ 30 degrees C when we got back but cooled down a bit when we opened all the doors and windows. We unpacked and had some food and then I took two machine fulls of washing over to the laundry. Two hours later it was washed, dried and folded .......ironing only done if really necessary!

On Wednesday we went by car to Ellesmere to stock up with food. Fridge, freezer and cupboard now full.....cruising was planned for Thursday. So yesterday we cruised as far as Ellesmere, it was cooler moving than we'd been on the mooring in the marina. Lots of boats on the move they must have all left Ellesmere so we could find a spot at the top of the Ellesmere Arm and moored up.  We must have timed it right because very soon there wasn't a space to be had.

A quiet night, a lot of the boats stopped and shopped and then went.....perhaps they had heard the weather forecast for today......rain, rain and more rain.

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Week In Wales

We've been in Wales for a week or so looking after one of our granddaughters Gwenllian as it's the school holidays. We've been out and about sampling the parks and in Cwmbran Boating Lake Gwen made it to the top  and was very pleased about it.

We've also been to the cinema twice to see 'Finding Dory' and  'Pete's Dragon'. I must admit I enjoyed  watching 'Pete's Dragon' and so did Gwen. It was lovely and cool in the cinema but the heat hit us as we made our way back to Lisa's house.

Tomorrow we're heading home for a little boating trip before we're  needed in Newport once again. 

Friday, August 05, 2016

Back To Whixall Marina

At Aston Top Lock
All too soon it was time to go back up the Montgomery Canal and head back to Whixall as we had a trip to Newport planned for 'nanny duties', looking after our eight year old grand daughter Gwenllian. Behind us as we travelled the horse drawn boat was chartered and heading for the Queen's Head where their party was having lunch before a horse drawn trip back to Maesbury Marsh. They caught us up at Aston Top Lock.

The horse flies were at us so out came the Deet, not the best smell but it kept us bite free. We had a good cruise up and overnighted on the Weston Arm before our booked passage up Frankton Locks on Wednesday at midday. It was incredibly windy so we only cruised to Ellesmere staying there overnight and luckily the wind has dropped on Thursday  for our journey back to base. The last thing we needed was a windy day to get back into our berth.

Soon we were reconnected to the electric, satellite signal found and settled back in. I need to do some washing before our trip back to Wales. We enjoyed the Monty...we'll be back.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

A Big Caterpillar Down The Monty

Anyone identify this caterpillar

Bridge 84 restoration ongoing
Yesterday we walked down the canal to see how far the restoration has reached. The banks have certainly grown up since our last visit and another section is now in water although at a lower level from Bridge 83-84.  The water's a long way down but the ducks have got their own swimming pool as it'll be quite a long time until  any powered boats can go that far as even when they reach Crickheath Wharf.

We found a large caterpillar on the towpath and put it out of the way of passing feet. I haven't identified it yet.......perhaps somebody can.

Were moving on today, a little further down to the winding hole at Gronwen Wharf to turn around then retrace our steps back to the Weston Arm. Our passage up the locks is booked for Wednesday. It's so peaceful down here.....we love it!