Saturday 5th September
After a short trip to town for supplies we returned, intending to leave the basin fairly soon. But we got chatting, as you do; to Carolyn, on her way shopping, soon joined by the lady from nb Snowdrop and finally Gary who was exercising the dog. So a little later than expected we left the basin in bright sunshine to start our journey towards Swanley marina, where we will be leaving Chuffed in a few days’ time.
I walked ahead to check for oncoming boats as we went through the narrow sections leading away from the basin. I snapped Dave approaching;
and turned round to see this interesting sign. Is it meant as a reprimand to speeding buildings? I suspect it is supposed to be a warning to cyclists.
We stopped at the service block to top up with water. The tap on our pontoon hadn’t been working and there was no point in shifting pontoons to try another tap as we had to stop to empty a cassette anyway. I was surprised to see the cistern which I reported on Thursday hadn’t been repaired, but the Elsan point was open so I just ran water down from the rinsing tap. As it’s Saturday there’ll be no-one in the CRT offices to take a report so I’ll do it on Monday.
I stayed off the boat to walk ahead through the long narrow section, which is several hundred yards long with no passing places. Signs make it clear a crew member should walk ahead to check for oncoming boats, to avoid meeting them in the narrows. I was coming round the bend near the far end when I saw a boat on its way; I broke into a run to warn them we were coming. Luckily they stopped in the one short section where the channel is just wide enough to allow two boats to pass. The wife had very poor mobility and maybe sight issues too which explains why neither of them had walked ahead.
It wasn’t long before we were approaching the Llanddyn lift bridge. A day boat had tied up on the mooring bollards, which was fine as the bridge is left open. What wasn’t really ok was their sudden rush to untie and get going as we were only 50 yards away. Embarrassingly for them, the steerer was unable to start the engine and they drifted to a halt across the canal. I hopped off and took a rope to help them back in, and Dave came over for a chaps’ chat about the ignition, which had failed.
We left them arguing over whether to call Anglo-Welsh out or keep trying to start the engine. We approached Sun Trevor bridge with extreme caution; on one trip we were behind a long queue of boats trying to pass the visitor moorings, which were full, while boats continued coming through the bridge from the Llangollen direction. Mayhem! We were in the bridgehole when a boat appeared alongside this moored boat; we pulled in sharpish to get out of his way and had time to notice the tyres, orange buoys, tarpaulins and dangling supermarket bags the moored boat had deployed to try and protect the motorbike on the stern.
The rest of the visitor mooring was completely empty – we certainly wouldn’t have chosen to moor so close to the bridge with a motorbike sticking out like that!
As we passed the Bryn Hywel hotel I wanted to get a shot of the high retaining wall supporting the terrace, as it is bulging alarmingly at the canal end, but a wedding had taken place so I snapped the happy couple instead. The video operator tracked us as we passed – we may be in their wedding video yet! The boat has a suitable celebratory name anyway.
I walked ahead again as we approached the basin at Trevor, to find a 70’ Viking hire boat attempting to turn and come under the bridge. For a first-time hirer he made a very good job of it, and as Dave had waited well back there was no problem. The aqueduct was deserted, so we had a lovely journey across in the sunshine, watching a Saturday afternoon footy game far below.
We moored on the 48-hour rings before Whitehouse Tunnel just in time for Dave to get the TV aerial up to watch the England football match. Meg and I abandoned him and went off to find some blackberries.
I got a good bowlful of blackberries on the roadside above the bridge, England won the match and we were in full sun till it disappeared below the horizon. A lovely evening.
6 miles, 1 lift bridge (plus one left open) and the Pontcysyllte aqueduct.