Monday, 2 November 2015

Damned Foreigners

We have been slowly making our way towards Chirk.  After passing under the bridge in the next photo the occupant of the boat just beyond ask us “Is that a maori name?”   We confirmed he was correct and he then called out “Kia Ora” (hello in maori) before mentioning his partner was a kiwi.  Then he mentioned she was from Whangarei (our old town).  A small world!

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We called it a day upon reaching the “Poachers Pocket” pub where we had a Sunday roast lunch.  Both of us opted for the beef (5/10).

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The noisy locals heard there was a late lunch at Waiouru and raced over to see what was on the menu.

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Whilst taking a short walk around the local area I was rather surprised at how high the canal is.  We’ve only gone up the two locks at New Marton and there are no other locks from here to Llangollen.  This part of the canal is the ‘Chirk Bank’ and the land to the right of the canal falls away quite steeply.  It was bought home to me when I noticed the high road bridge in the distance which takes the busy A5 across the River Celroig.

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The A5 bridge can be seen in the middle of the above photo.

The Chirk Aqueduct is only a short distance further along the canal.  The aqueduct is 23 metres high and 220 metres long.  It was completed in 1801, four years before the more well known Pontcysyllte.

IMG_8568IMG_8571 It was designed by Thomas Telford using his innovative new method involving the use of cast iron.  The masonry exterior conceals the cast iron trough.   The adjacent railway viaduct was designed by Scottish engineer Henry Robertson and completed in 1848.  It’s approximately 9 metres higher than Chirk Aqueduct.

The 1840’s saw a serious boom in railway construction including a number of proposals to link Shrewsbury and Chester. There were serious objections to the proposed route by local landowners and Robertson was forced to complete his survey work by night.

Chirk Tunnel is at the northern end of the aqueduct.

IMG_8570The tunnel is 421 metres long and one of the first in the country to include a towpath.  It’s only wide enough for one boat and traffic is uncontrolled.  Boaters need to make sure the tunnel is clear of oncoming traffic before entering.  The Llangollen is the most popular canal on the network and long queues are likely to be found at each end during summer.

At the end of the day a hire boat with a kiwi crew passed by commenting about our boat name.  No need to mention the rugby! 

2 comments :

Marilyn McDonald said...

The rugby has to be mentioned, Tom! Such a great game and great campaign. Tomorrow all of the team arrive back in NZ and I am sure the welcome at AKL airport and the parades in AKL, CHC and WLG will be rapturous!
Stay warm. Cheers, Marilyn and David (now in Waikanae)

Jenny said...

Of course it must be mentioned. We are the Champions!!!!

Robin and Jenny