Friday, August 30, 2013

And A Final Catch Up

To start off some photos that I forgot to post previously
spotted in Llangollen by Andrew - loved the 'bottled by pretty girls' :D
Red Veined Darter - spotted on the Montgomery

Thursday saw us stopping at the old mosses by Prees Junction

We stopped initially at the short boardwalk

Not having more info to hand about the walks available, we moved on and moored up again by bridge 44 and went for a longer walk.  There were masses of dragonflies and damselflies, along with a variety of other insect life.  It was quite interesting seeing where the peat mosses were cut.  Commercial peat cutting was stopped back in 1991 and the area has been declared a nature reserve, all 948ha.  We did not walk it all ;) but did take an hour or so to have a look around and let me photograph as many drangonflies that I could, naturally :D
One part of where we walked was near to where the 'bog bodies' were found !
Walking to the Mosses

Black Darter's

More Black Darter's
Surprisingly enough a female Black Darter :O
Unidentified bug :)

and another one, not very good image though :(

pretty hairy caterpillar - Sycamore Moth

Bog pond with moss ?

More bog pond

an old pathway or drainage ??

Small Copper
Still to identify
Brimstone butterfy
Speckled Wood
Unidentified bug :)
Black Darter eating lunch
and finishing lunch
Red Admiral

Once we had completed our walk, we decided to continue on to Whitchurch. A short text later to Islonian to let them know, as they had gone up the Prees Arm to have a look there and they were right behind us.  We found great moorings at the top of the arm where is was pleasantly quiet, all set for the Friday market in town. 
Canal side cottage for sale :)

So that is almost it, one last more blog and we are all caught up Applause

Further to the Past Week

Sunday, 25th, saw us taking on the other boating holiday makers as we made our way towards Ellesmere.  We knew that Ellesmere was having a festival over the bank holiday so we did not want to venture to close until late Monday. 
Giant thistle
View at New Marton Locks

On our way up to Llangollen, we passed the locks down to the Montgomery Canal.  Passage down the locks needs to be pre-booked by at least by 10am on the day of travel.  This past weekend was a bank holiday weekend with plenty of boats cris-crossing the canal, in some cases literally :)

We had enough food to allow us 2 days on the Montgomery. Free from masses of boats. So Andrew pulled out the number to call and booked us down for two nights.

The Montgomery Canal that can be navigated from the Llangollen is currently only 7 miles long.  Further up the canal, more waterway has been restored but it is not possible yet to reach the remainder of the canal from the remainder of the network.  You could get a boat there but it would have to be trucked in by road.  The other option is to hire a boat from the one hire boat company based on this landlocked section.  But that is one for another day.
In the meantime we enjoyed the tranquility of a canal where only 12 boats are allowed on at any one time.  It was just lovely. 
Looking up the canal from our mooring

Canal side mile marker

With only 7 other boats going down the same day as us and most of those leaving the next day, it was very quiet.  Just what we needed to recharge those batteries.
Pre-dinner drinks on the towpath
On day 2 on the Montgomery, we cruised as far as we could.  We did not spot any other moorings that we preferred to where we had stayed the first night so it was back up the 3 Aston Locks to 'our' mooring spot.  I did a bit of nature spotting while the sun was still shining but dinner was inside as it was a bit cooler than the night before.

Almost at the end of the canal.  Looks like they are stopping boats from winding here

Finally able to capture on of these Brown Hawkers hovering while we cruised by
Former Packet Terminal and bridge74

The days are noticeably shorter now and the nights are getting cooler.  The quilt is now over the summer duvet for that little bit of extra warmth. :(
Cinnabar Moth caterpillar

Sunlit Dandelion

a bevy of pheasant

Sunlit something :)

Convolvulus flower

Banded Demoiselle

Waiting for the fish to bite :)

Saying goodbye to our mooring spot on Wednesday morning we cruised back up the stop lock and made use of the very quiet facilities there rather than in Ellesmere.
Lovely mooring spot

Small Tortoiseshell - getting a lift up the Welsh Frankton Locks

Sheila, from nb Islonian, let us know that they would stay in the Ellesmere Arm until we arrived, just to make sure that we would have a mooring.  As luck would have it when we arrived not long after 2:30pm there were a few free moorings, one of which was immediately in front of Islonian.  The Ellesmere stop was more for another cupboard restock along with a bit of a walk down memory lane.  By the time we eventually wondered in to town, to busy catching up with Jim and Sheila, town seemed pretty quiet.  Even the butcher was already packing away his meat at 3:30pm.  So we just got a few essentials from town and made a significant donation to Tesco's but we are now fully laden once more.  We had intended to stay the night in Ellesmere but Sheila pointed out the building site just behind the trees and mentioned that they had been woken at 7am the previous 2 mornings!!  No way was I having any of that, so we moved off and had a lovely early evening cruise to where Jim and Sheila had stopped for the night.
Large fungus - was at least 2ft tall
beautiful view

From out the hatch

and that brings you all up to Wednesday night :)
To Be Continued…

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Another Week Has Past (with corrections :) )

Yet again I have been rather lax in our/my blog :(
So to catch you up on all the news I will start with last Thursday, that being the 22nd August.  I think that I will split this up a bit as I really have too many photos to add in one post :)
I am also trying out an offline blog editor, Windows Live Writer, which I read about on nb Caxton’s blog.  I am hoping that this way I can keep up a bit better and not have to try to remember what we were doing last week.  It really is hard with us being SO BUSY, not :D  This way I will be able to still get the blog written, pictures and all and post it up when we next have a decent internet signal.
So back to last Thursday.  We left Trevor Basin in the very late morning, to allow as many other ‘newbie’ boaters to tackle the narrows through to Llangollen Basin.  We were in luck and only met a few boats coming in the opposite direction and no waiting for the narrows.  We moored up in the basin, connected the electricity, filled the water tank and promptly put on the washing machine to get some clothes sorted.  We then walked around the basin to pay for our two days that we would be allowed to stay in the basin.  At $6 (read pound for dollar) a night including electricity it is not a bad price.  We then wondered in to town to see what changes might have taken place in the past 7 years, but as we have seen before, not much has changed.  I guess when it comes to bricks, mortar and bitumen, it makes things difficult to change dramatically.  Only the tenants of some of the retail space have changed.  The town itself is still very tourist orientated but we still enjoyed our little wander and reminisced a bit.  Which naturally made me miss our daughters.  Not Good, well not for me anyway.  Makes me wish that they were nearer and were able to come and visit every now and then. 
Friday morning we had decided we would take a trip on the steam railway which runs out of Llangollen to Carrog.  All of this is on a restored railway line which has taken 30 odd years to get it this far and they are hoping to have another section to Corwen completed sometime next year.  Although looking at the information and photos, that will include a replica station to be rebuilt on the original site. 
View from the platformIMG_6393
Another view from the platformIMG_6394
Looking up the platform to the engine
The important bitIMG_6398
Waiting to leaveIMG_6404
Along with the steam engine, all the carriages are restored originals.  Very quaint and fun to travel in.
IMG_6408 View from the stop at Berwyn station where you can see an old chain bridge and the Chain Bridge Hotel
There is a half hour stop in Carrog while the engine is moved from one end of the carriages to the other and for everyone to have a browse around.  Or if you have caught one of the earlier trains like we had, you can walk into Carrog and catch the later train back to Llangollen.
IMG_6409 Carrog Station now restored
We walked in to Carrog, but there is not really a hell of a lot to see but we had a couple of hours to spare before the train came back. 
Crossing the River Dee
Looking up river from the bridgeIMG_6414
An overgrown graveyardIMG_6416
With still an hour to kill, we dropped in at the local pub for a quick thirst quencher.  It was rather pleasant sitting at the outside table overlooking the river and waiting for time to pass.

The train coming back from LlangollenIMG_6421
A view of the carriage insideIMG_6425 
On the trip, we had noticed the Horseshoe Falls, which is where the water for the Llangollen Canal is drawn off from the River Dee.  On our return to Llangollen, we had intended to walk to the falls.  Note the word 'intended'.  We stopped to get a small snack from the tea shop where the horse drawn boat trips are run from.  We both misread the trip information !!  We had assumed that it went all the way to the Horseshoe Falls, when in actual fact it only goes part of the way, as we discovered when we opted for what we thought was the easy option :(  Never mind we enjoyed the trip.
View from the boatIMG_6436
Other boat approachingIMG_6437 
The Passing the horsesIMG_6438

Saturday we needed to leave the basin by 5pm.  So we ventured in to town to the local butchers and deli, at which we discovered a Welsh Oggie. 
Andrew's plate at the start :)
Similar to a cornish pasty but it did not contain any carrots.  Still delicious and a huge meal.  I could not finish mine, I saved some for lunch the next day.  Unfortunately Andrew saw a free bus to the Castle Dinas Bran and the Valle Crucis Abbey but it was too late in the day for us to go on and get back before we needed to leave.  Oh well, another time, as we will definitely be back.  Although it will probably not be during the summer holidays when every other body has hired a boat for a holiday ! :D
With the cupboards and fridge stocked once more, we set off back down the canal towards the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, with nb Islonian taking the lead.  Sheila and Jim had come up to the basin to join us on Friday evening after two of their daughters had visited for the day.
So retracing our steps, or waves I should say, we ventured back. 
Islonian leading the charge IMG_6444
Waiting to check the narrowsIMG_6445
Vale of LlangollenIMG_6448
The rule is on approaching the narrows, where there is only enough space for a single boat to travel, the boater stops and sends a crew member to the other end of the narrows. Firstly to make sure that there is nothing already on the way through, although if there was you would expect to see someone waiting at the canal side telling you to wait and secondly to make sure that no other boat attempts to enter the narrows while your own boat is coming through.  So armed with a 'walkie talkie' radio, Sheila and I, plus a crew member from a third boat made our way to the other end.  All clear, so we send the boats the message and they set off.  So along comes a boater (read as 'absolute twat') from the opposite direction, who's idea of sending someone ahead is to have them walk alongside the boat chatting to him ??  WTF !  We suggested that he pull over and wait as there were now three boats coming through and unless he was an expert in reversing, it might be a good idea.  Well we could not decide if he did not like being told what to do by three women or he was just being downright stupid.  He told us to stay calm, he was fine and knew what he was doing.  Luckily he finally saw some sense and pulled over in the last bit of canal which was wide enough for two boats to pass.  At that point we had all decided he was a real tosser and left him to it anyway.  All was fine in the end and our separate boats approached and we each boarded and the cruise continued.
Jim, nb Islonian,  concentrating on the steering IMG_6450
and Andrew falling in behind, sporting replacement cap purchased in Llangollen after the Canterbury Fishing hat was swept into the canal by an errant branch :(IMG_6452

Bryn Howell - now a hotel IMG_6453

Our own Llangollen 'bore'IMG_6464

View looking backIMG_6465

Trevor Basin looking towards the Pontcysyllte AqueductIMG_6468

nb Islonian crossing the aqueductIMG_6471

Followed by nb AshdownIMG_6474

We moored up for the evening just beyond Frontcysyllte where Andrew and Jim continued their fishing competition, started the night before in Llangollen Basin.
Andrew's effortIMG_6479
To Be Continued ……