Wednesday, 4 July 2018

28 June - 1 July: Concluding our Llangollen Canal sojourn

Thursday 28 June: Ellesmere to country moorings near bridge 38 before Whitchurch (11 miles, 0 locks, 2 lift bridges)
We slept in, getting off about 1000, reversing out of the arm.
Ellesmere Tunnel

Lutra is Otter in Latin!
This stretch of canal is very pretty, particularly around the meres. The Lyneal Trust have three new boats for handicapped folk, Shropshire Lady, Lass and Maid. Bettisford Boats, the scrapyard near the Prees Branch and farm shop had all gone. We dawdled along in the sun until shade, red wine, reading and World Cup called at country moorings. Another lovely day!
Liana sunning herself at mooring by bridge 3 Llangollen Canal
England's reserves lost 1-0 to Belgium's reserves, but it may not be a bad thing, looking at the draw :)

Friday 29 June: Whitchurch to Wrenbury (9 miles, 10 locks, 5 swing bridges)
Our shady country mooring between bridges 38 and 37 was lovely. Blue skies mean cool air in the early morning. John made himself a full English breakfast after being woken at 0700 by a boat! Liana was tempted up by tea, eventually, so we set off about 0800 for Whitchurch, sharing lift bridge work with hireboaters returning their boat to the Whitchurch ABC base. Poor Liana banged her head on one of them. At the triple staircase locks we were third in the queue, and emptied loo holding tanks plus rubbish. The volunteer got us down quickly, as no one arrived to come up. Tea was welcome after Quoisley lock. We nearly had a head on collision at blind bend bridge 25: John gave a long honk, heard no reply, so continued, only to see a boat appear: Cue lots of reversing!! We managed to avoid a bump. The two experienced boaters (they said) hadn't sounded their horn or responded to ours …. ah well, these things happen! There were plenty of cheerful and helpful boaters to chat to as we passed through ten locks and lift bridges to shady moorings after Wrenbury lift bridge. Liana guided us to the Cotton Arms for drinks. Well done, that woman! We found we could return to the boat via the caravan park behind it. Shade, reading and red wine seemed sensible :)
Walkers recommended the pies at the Dusty Miller pub by the swing bridge, so guess where we are now! Happy days!

Saturday 30 June 2018: Wrenbury to Hurleston (6 miles, 9 locks, 1 lift bridge)

It's a lovely stretch of countryside between Wrenbury and Hurleston, particularly in the sunshine. We didn't rush, taking care on blind bends and bridgeholes on corners, which was a good job as we met a number of boats at these places! The offside is overgrown in places, making the canal narrow. We chatted to boaters at many of the three Baddiley and two Swanley locks, then moored up for diesel at Swanley Marina. We got only 50 litres, as it was 86p at 0%. The friendly shop staff have souvenirs and limited boater stuff, including fenders, windlasses and mooring pins, as you might expect. You can pump out, too. We got water above the Hurleston locks, but the services were otherwise out of order. Strangely, there were no lock keepers at Hurleston locks, a first. The boat ahead of us left bottom gates open, shouting that they were crossing over with someone: Not for three locks, I think!! Annie had to wait, plus the boats behind. Oh yes, in the third lock, John opened the offside bottom gate twice (Liana was helping at the bottom lock) but it closed each time he returned to Annie :/ , so he couldn't leave the lock until the good folk behind arrived! The good news was that the Baked on Board pizza boat was moored at the bottom, so we moored round the corner for the night and had really nice oven-baked pizzas from the friendly fellows who run it. Yum! We had to eat and sit in the shade, it was so hot!

Sunday 1 July 2018: to Nantwich and getting the car (2 miles, 0 locks)

Another glorious day saw us travel the two miles into Nantwich in the morning sun. There was a constant procession of boats passing us, heading to Hurleston – over twenty in that short distance! Mooring opposite the Nantwich Marina Wharf, we decided to leave Annie and catch the train to Rugeley Trent Valley station via Crewe, using our “Two travel Together” railcard. You walk about 1.5 miles through town to the station, which was good for us. Station Adopter volunteers were planting and watering in flowers as we waited, doing a good job. As the ticket machine was broken, we paid £22 on the train, which seemed fine, especially as trainline said it would be £16.50 each! At Rugeley, we walked the mile to the car, which was fine, thankfully. We filled up with diesel,127p now :( ,and checked the tyres, which was a good job, as they were low. Driving the car the 44 miles back to Nantwich was a pleasant change!
There is a layby to leave cars close by the Nantwich Aqueduct. We had another tasty pizza each from the “Baked on Board” pizza boat moored next to us. They have a half ton pizza oven under the cratch, a sight to behold: It looks like a giant egg! If you see them, try one! (Baked on Board wood fired pizza 07919 374233
We watched +1 tv to catch Lewis Hamilton's engine going pop at the Austrian GP. Later, We were astonished to watch Russia knock out Spain in the World Cup – it went to penalties, as did the Croatia Denmark match later. Croatia will play Russia in the Quarter Finals!

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