Sunday, 24 June 2018

21-24 June: Llangollen and its Railway, and homeward bound to Ellesmere

21 June 2018: Chuffer Trains at Llangollen!

After catching up on this blog, we bought a Rover train ticket (£16 for over 60s), so we could go up and down the 10 mile train line twice, if we wished. We caught the 1040 train. The line goes past sidings to Berwyn station, high above the River Dee and the refurbished Chain Bridge across it; then through the 689 yard tunnel to Glyndyfrdwy and Carrog stations, with lovely views of the upper Dee valley; and finally to the temporay halt before Corwen, where the town station will be ready in 2019. We watched the engine move to the other end of the train at Carrog, which has a tea room and bookstall, then returned to Llangollen for lunch. Catching the second 1300 train, we repeated our trip: John bought a book and we descended at Berwyn, crossed the Chain Bridge and walked home along the feeder canal.
Liana and Annie in Llangollen Moorings basin

we have always found space in Llangollen Moorings

Llangollen Station with James Martin filming on right

Steam train at Llangollen

For £6 a night, the basin at Llangollen is a haven of sunny peace: We have always found plenty of empty pontoons to moor on, and there is electricity if you need it (solar smugness creeping in here – we haven't had to run the engine for electricity, so far, since installing the panels). I spoke too soon! We had to run the engine to charge the batteries: electric kettle, microwave, fridge and not moving for a day or so proved too much for the solar panels alone!

22 June 2018: Llangollen to Chirk Bank

Boats were comig into the basin to wind and depart from 0745, and it was lovely and sunny, so we breakfasted and set out, ourselves, hoping to find little traffic coming the other way, this early. Liana walked through the various narrows before Sun Trevor, following a hireboat. We passed oncoming boats nearing Trevor, where the basin was full of boats. We turned and passed over the aqueduct, followed by a dayboat. Thankfully, it was sunny and the wind was not too strong, this time! Reaching Froncysyllte, Liana operated the bridge for both boats, and we carried on, trying to see the elusive railway viaduct through the trees. Following two boats, we found NB Dreadnought adrift, so paused and put their pins in again for them (first time this trip). At Whitehouses Tunnel, we had to wait for hotel boats Duke & Duchess to come through – John could see them silhouetted, legging the butty to keep it in position. Past Chirk Marina, we moored in the cutting below Chirk Station, before the tunnel, and walked 1 ¾ miles to Chirk Castle along the asphalt road, past parkland filled with sheep and cattle enjoying the shade of mature trees. Eventually, we found the castle, which has wonderful views, and as National Trust members found the interior well worth a visit: Loads of pictures, information, period furniture,etc. We liked laundry room and gardens, where scented roses were lovely. We walked back to the boat, finding our way across sheep fields on a public footpath. The folks on NB Dreadnought thanked us for tying up their boat earlier. Once through Chirk Tunnel, we had to wait for a hesitant boat to come across the aqueduct, before both boats could continue. Once on Chirk Bank, we moored above the Bridge Inn and John watched the World Cup, while Liana caught up with news of the family using her mobile.

23 June 2018: Chirk Bank to Frankton and Ellesmere

John awoke early, before 0600, so avoided making noise, had a fruit bun with cheese and walked past the Bridge Inn, finding an amusing sign.
Seeing a public footpath, he walked through the sheep field, beside the river Ceiriog, under the aqueduct and viaduct, seeing two young foxes scampering across the grass in the morning sun. Retracing his steps, he went back to bed! Up late, we set off past the Poacher's Inn and Lion Quays, where we have never seen boats moored, passing several hireboats. Reaching New Martin, we were third in the queue for the locks, so took our time and chatted to the other boaters in the sun. Two fenders for £16 at the top lock, if you need some. Quite a few boats were moored for lunch as we passed the Jack Mytton pub and Narrow Boat Inn, where there are permanent moorings, too. We paused for lunch at Frankton. The view between bridges 66 and 65 is lovely, with sheep and short grass adding to the spectacle.
At Ellesmere, we used the services before mooring in the arm. Liana shopped. Germany scored in the last seconds of extra time to avoid being knocked out of the World Cup. The Swedes were devastated.

24 June 2018: Ellesmere on a sunny Sunday
The weather is set fair, this coming week, we hear. Lots of dog walkers and breakfasting boaters in the sunshine. Church bells sound tuneful, ringing call changes. We find a café open with wifi, so John finally gets the blog updated, without pictures. All in good time!

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