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Tour 2004

Index

13 - Ellesmere Port to Llangollen, including Prees Branch and Ellesmere Arm. Shropshire Union Canal and Llangollen Canal.

Friday 9th April 2004

We left the Middle Basin at Ellesmere Port at 09:20 and was at the top of the narrow locks at 09:40. We passed most of the working boats going to the Boat Museum Easter gathering on the way to Chester, where most had over-nighted. 12:25 saw us at Tower Wharf in Chester and we went straight in the bottom lock of Northgate Staircase, to pass BW heritage narrowboats Lindsay and butty Keppel in the next chamber. The crew knew of Ed Mortimer and his / our Chester Weir exploits, we also passed a private boat in the chamber above. 
Out of the slow Northgate Staircase at 12:55. We gave up for the night at 17:40 - Bate's Mill Bridge and the Shady Oak pub again. This time the service was even worse - we specified chips in the optional potato section, but did not get vegetables "because we did not ask for them" !!!. Eventually bowl of vegetables arrived after being sabotaged by rather excessive used of the pepper mill. Ruddles bitter was slightly better than the Theakson's sampled on the previous occasion.

Saturday 10th April 2004

We left at 08:30 and stopped at Chas Harden's for gas and nearly full tank of diesel. Chas warned us NOT to moor at Wrenbury, seeing as the "Nantwich Navy" had taken it over for their Easter jolly. Carried on up the wide locks, still not sharing with any other boats. Passed through Barbridge Junction at 11:40, much phaffing about, mainly caused by terribly slow local boat in front. After nearly pushing them through one bridge hole we were waved on, at about the last suitable spot before Hurleston Junction - the Llangollen Canal rage had started! 
12:15 saw us at Hurleston, slow boat did not follow us up so avoiding action in vain. Mucho busy going up Hurleston locks, mainly local boats escaping for Easter. We HAD to stop at top of Hurleston (12:55) for water, but during the hour fill up we only got two boats in front of us, with about half an hour between us. Many deep piled bits had been turned into 48 hr moorings - a lot of the posts had "Fred says NO to the mooring code" stencilled on the posts! Many primroses seen out that day, as well as the previously noted snowdrops. 
At Wrenbury the Nantwich Navy had indeed taken over all the moorings. A cheeky Alvechurch hire boat nearly got in front of us at the electric lift bridge, but seeing as Neil had walked the towpath to bridge, we worked ourselves through first. Neil then legged it to the end of the visitor moorings to make sure we stayed in order after the Alvechurch boat was let through after us. 
We picked up a few slow stragglers going up Marbury Lock and followed them to Willey Moor Lock. One faster boat was carrying on to the top of Grindley Brook, so we followed him up, getting to the top at 19:50. After a rather quick shower we made the never before visited Horse and Jockey pub for food. Rather good "proper" pub, with attentive staff. Food OK and on form Adnams Best and something or other "Dropwell" bitter. Much evidence of dredging on the bottom half of the Llangollen.

Sunday 11th April 2004

Shoved off at 09:05, after a few Viking Afloat hire boats had departed from the rather extensive water points. We just got past NB Tapestry as it was thinking of casting off, so we did the proper boater thing with the hydraulic lift bridges around Whitchurch, i.e. we opened them and jumped on, while they jumped off and shut them. We carried on in convoy until the Prees Branch (11:15) where we waved goodbye as we were going down to the end for a late "static"!!! fry-up breaky. 
Stopped at end 11:45 to 13:00. Neil contemplated trying for a replacement spare throttle cable in the adjacent marina, but in the end could not be bothered. After a few speeding Whixall Marina occupants left, we followed back to main line (13:25) 15:50 saw us at Ellesmere, were we turned right down the town Arm, finding the last mooring away from the basin end (16:00) NB Tapestry (of Orchard Marina) was in residence and we had a good chat. That night we went shopping in the Spar and Co-Op and came back with a Chinese Takeaway. Neil took many pictures of the derelict dairy and arm end, as by next time we come here the stalled re-development must have happened.

Monday 12th April 2004

Only nutters boat the end of the Llangollen on an Easter Monday!....total confusion virtually all day, too many incidents to report! Worse than August! A few other boaters got peed off with the proceedings....but we just laid back and enjoyed it! We left Ellesmere at 08:45 and stopped at Frankton to check the locking times....same as last year. 15:35 saw us at the other side of the Pontyskylight after a few failed attempts of the irate boat in front. 
Followed one boat behind the EXCEEDINGLY slow Middlewich NB's Willow, that took no notice of single file bits. One of the boats forced to back up was Joe and Jackie Jones, who only moor downstream on the Pontywotsit. We introduced ourselves, Joe said that Llangollen was rather chocker. For this reason we moored up just upstream of Bridge 44,just before the last narrows into Llangollen. (17:10) 
We were rather well staked down, just against the pipe fenders, with tyres down the other side. Worst speedster was in fact a Canaltime boat. We went out early for a meal in the Bridge Bistro. 
The new mooring basin was still incomplete, stanked off by a scaffold and rubber sheet coffer dam. In fact we could have squeezed on a mooring in Llangollen, but there were two Black Prince boats with unsilenced Eberthingy heaters that made our Mikuni rather acceptable.

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The Daniel Adamson steam tug being bow-hauled out for its survey in Liverpool. Ellesmere Port.

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Duker Barge Parfield.  Ellesmere Port.

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 Ellesmere Port.

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 Coming up the staircase locks. Ellesmere Port.

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BW Heritage narrowboats Lindsay and Keppel in Northgate Staircase. Shropshire Union Canal.

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Barbridge Inn.  Shropshire Union Canal.

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We have just turned of the Llangollen Canal onto the Prees Branch.

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Starks Lift Bridge No 2 on the Prees Branch.

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Whixall Marina and the end of the Prees Branch that has been turned into a nature reserve.

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Allman's Lift Bridge No 1. Prees Branch.

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MSCC Tug Frodsham. Llangollen Canal.

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Virtually empty moorings at Blake Mere. Llangollen Canal.

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We have just turned into the Ellesmere Arm. Llangollen Canal.

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Ellesmere Basin. Llangollen Canal.

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The old dairy at Ellesmere....how much longer before it is re-developed?

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Ellesmere Basin. Llangollen Canal.

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The new mooring basin at Llangollen under construction. Llangollen Canal.

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The new mooring basin at Llangollen under construction. Llangollen Canal.

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The new mooring basin at Llangollen under construction. Llangollen Canal.

The Tour Continues...


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