Chapter Four: Reaching the Top

We had a later start to the day today, which meant getting up at 7AM and leisurely eating a breakfast of cereal and toast. This gave us a chance to wake up gracefully before pushing on to our main destination of the day:  Llangollen.

After early showers and a fresh change of clothes it turned out that three quarters of us went for the very nautical “stripy top” look whilst one of us very much didn’t (can you guess who? I’ll give you a clue: his name begins with T).

And then we cast off, and got underway. It was a very smooth transition from being tied up to making way. Probably a little too smooth, as about an hour later we realised that the Captain had left behind one of the mooring hooks!

“No time to worry about such things now, we’ll have to keep an eye out for it on the way back down this afternoon.”

We ploughed on through some of the narrowest sections of the canal so far.

These tight, one-way sections (unlike yesterday’s) required some of our crew to wander on ahead and report back if anyone was coming, as there was absolutely no way two boats would fit next to each other here. There was barely enough room for a single boat at times.

Then, just as it felt like this would never end, we arrived at Llangollen Wharf. This is the destination we’ve been heading towards ever since the start of the holiday. And it didn’t disappoint.

Before we could moor up, we had to turn the boat around (to get ready for the return journey), which required an inch perfect turning from our Captain, who took this opportunity to impress the locals with her boat handling skills. And she nailed it.

We timed our arrival perfectly, so that we stepped off of our boat and on to the horse drawn barge that would take us all the way along the shallowest part of the Llangollen Canal. With just enough time in between for an ice cream.

The horse drawn barge was a pleasant 45 minute trip, and the woman driving the boat was very friendly. We even made friends with a pair of American tourists, from Minnesota, who seemed to like this little town as much as we did.

Harley, the black and white Welsh Cobb that pulled us along made the whole thing look effortless. He barely even knew we were there.

After that we ventured down into the quaint little town, which is full of unique shops, and has a beautiful river running through it (as well as the canal, obviously). In fact as we walked across the bridge to the town centre (in search of international postage stamps for postcards to foreign lands) there was a distinctly Swiss feel about the place, which probably came from all of the green, tree-lined hills surrounding us and the pointy churches, as well as the white-water river.

The Captain went looking for the stamps, but came back with a bagful of food shopping instead. Elaine and Trevor provided us with pre-lunch chips (in a lovely curry sauce), which gave us the strength to walk back up the steep steps to the canal, which oddly enough runs at about 75 feet above the height of the town.

For my part I picked up the international stamp from the post office, and a small collection of babychams (I know, who’d have thought you’d find that here!?)

As the pre-lunch chips were just a stop gap, we had our actual lunch on the move. Nothing fancy, just warm pasty and beans – something quick and easy that could be consumed as we all stood in the glorious sunshine on the cockpit by the tiller.

The return journey took us back into Trevor, which was very quiet today, not at all like yesterday. Even the Three Stooges weren’t there.

Immediately after Trevor we crossed the Pontcysyllte aqueduct, and wended our way down through Chirk (and the really long tunnel).

It was at around this point in the day that we remembered to look for our missing mooring hook, as we slowly drifted past last night’s mooring location.

Elaine hopped off and searched for the metal hook, and after a few minutes of pulling back the long grass on the edge of the canal she found it! The Captain relaxed a little knowing that the contents of the boat was complete again.

As punishment for the mishap I made the Captain unwind our only lift bridge of the day. I’m not sure she enjoyed the experience.

Beyond Chirk we rather conveniently came to a stop just outside a pub called The Poachers.  The reason we stopped, we told ourselves, was to let some of the quicker barges behind us get through, you know, because it’s polite.  The reason we popped into the pub for a pint of cider however, was because it would be rude not to.

Our final act of the day was to moor up in exactly the same place as Sunday night, set up the barbecue again, and enjoy a delightful evening in the warmth of the setting sun.

5 thoughts on “Chapter Four: Reaching the Top

  1. Another testing day for the 4 intrepid sailors. After the experience of Trevor(the place) yesterday and all of the seamanship that was achieved today. I think the Captain should promote you all to Able Bodied Seaman,or Seaperson if you prefer. You have earned the right to that title.!! And the pay rise that goes with it.(Ha Ha). Seriously though I think you have all enjoyed it and the photos are all fine in the blog. Happy barging for the next few days.

  2. This is just such good reading! And excellent pictures too. A must read every day!
    Glad you found the mooring pin. I agree with MrGdog, promotions all round seamanship is obviously developing very fast, especially if you were able to dump the captain onto the shore to work the lift bridge. Could you ask her why she is wearing flip flops?! AND TELL HER NOT TO, OR SHE BETTER DO ALL THE BRIDGES FOR THE REST OF THE HOLIDAY!
    Have fun

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