Thursday, 29 October 2015

Much of this looks strange

You wouldn’t think we had been this way four years ago because we didn’t remember much of it.  A couple of the lift bridges popped back into our memories along with some key locations like the Whixall Moss Junction and the Meres before Ellesmere.  I remembered the long straight but not the earlier winding parts. 

At Hassel’s Lift Bridge we caught up with a very slow Yellow Peril (Viking Afloat) hire boat.  They appeared to be very nervous first day boaters so we just hung back and let them get on with it.  After an hour they decided to moor for an early lunch whilst we carried on.  From the look of their wake it appeared they might have acquired a large number of leaves on the propeller so we suggested they try a couple of brief bursts of reverse to flick them off.  We have been doing that quite regularly for the past week.

Eventually we reached a straight and there appeared to be a boat ahead with two crew on the back wearing red jackets.  Eventually we realized the boat wasn’t moving.  Neither were the crew.  As we got closer it became apparent the red jackets were actually signs and there was no boat.


There is a wire frame box crate in the canal. A number of similar crates are further up the hill which suggests this one has rolled down the hill and into the canal. 

P1020012Why didn’t they remove it rather than placing warning signs?

We were heading down the long straight to Whixall Moss Junction when a grinding, thrashing sound could be heard.  I remembered there was a vehicle scrapyard around here and thought it was the sound of car bodies being shredded.  Jan has better eyesight and hearing.  She recognised it as a hedge trimmer.

P1020014This is the hedgerow beside the canal.  The tractor operator is unseen down in low ground.  He couldn’t see us and didn’t stop the machine as we passed.  The cutters on the head were firing offcuts into the canal so we ducked and looked the other way as we passed. 

Morris’ Lift Bridge could be seen in the distance.  The base of the bridge is at water level and if you haven’t been this way before you might initially thing the bridge has collapsed.


Jan had to ask the old codger (these days anyone who looks older than me is an old codger) in the dark green overalls and grey cap to move off the bridge before she could raise it.  Neither of us could understand why he wanted to stand in the middle of the bridge.

My memory hasn’t totally failed because that vehicle scrapyard beside the canal is still there.  But it’s closed down!


All that could be seen inside the yard were three large piles of old tyres. 

A decision was made to pass the Prees Branch.  We will go down it on the way back.


Whixall Moss Junction

From this point onwards the cruise became more scenic.  We will have to stop and visit Wixhall moss on the way back, although I’m not sure where we will moor because there were “No Mooring” signs along this stretch.  Whixall Moss is a peat bog and is protected.  There are very few peat bogs left in England.  They have either been drained for agriculture or the peat cut.  It must have been quite a challenge for the canal builders to construct a waterproof canal across a bog.

We passed Cole Mere and then Blake Mere before arriving at the eastern portal of Ellesmere Tunnel.  This area is particularly attractive and we had no difficulty remembering it.


I suddenly realised the stove flue wouldn’t fit through the tunnel and had to crab my way down the gunwale with an old cloth to remove it whilst Jan held Waiouru back from the portal mouth.


It was an interesting transit through the tunnel.  This is a flowing canal and we’re going upstream pushing against the current.  This flow is constricted in the tunnel and caused Waiouru to ‘crab’.  No paint lost! Smile  But we would have lost the flue…..

There were no shortage of moorings at Ellesmere and we were therefore rather bemused by the mooring antic of the hire boat crews.  Breasted up in the winding hole at the end of the arm.  Others leaving rings between boats reducing the number of available moorings.  One boat moored across the junction.  I’m sure Charles Darwin would be able to explain it! Smile


nb Chuffed said...

You can moor to visit Whixall Moss at the Prees Banch end - there is a couple of hundred yards of ok mooring near the junction - I think we used chains.

Jenny and Robin said...

You are bringing back fond memories as we travelled the Llangollen Canal with Dot & Derek nb Gypsy Rover (now Ferndale) in 2008.

Robin & Jenny

Alf said...

If you enter the Prees Branch there is piling towpath side before the first lift bridge, then if you don't want to go to the end it's a simple matter to reverse out onto the main line.

Tom and Jan said...

So that's where there are moorings. Thank you!

Gary Carolyn said...

Hi Tom and Jan .. I think that the metal cage in the canal is a water extraction filter as if you look closely you can see a pipe going up the hill to the farm. On the top of the hill by the farm there is a thickener (stainless steel machine) which is used to separate water from cow waste .. These machines use a lot of water and I would imagine that they are taking water from the canal to operate the machine...Of course I could be totally wrong , but have a look when you pass on your way back down the Llangollen. .. Gary and Carolyn. Nb Inca

Tom and Jan said...

Gary that makes sense. There were tanks in the same type of cage at the top of the hill. I thought this one had rolled down but it may well be the inlet to feed the higher tanks. Something to check on the way back!