Sunday 6 March 2022

LLangollen Canal day 8

 Sunday 6th March

The boat handbook for the times to get back to the marina from Ellesmere were a little optimistic with the journey taking around 1 hour and 45 minutes instead of the hour and a half the book suggested. We had moored on the far side of the town setting off at just after 8:00 so were still back in time. It was another day of good weather and a pity that we had to return the boat. We were met by Alan at the marina. There was no hurry, another hire boat was moved so we could moor our boat directly against the side.  Robert loaded the car whilst Lyn finished the washing up. With the boat emptied and checked we set off. We had not planned where to go for a morning coffee but the kitchen@thecastle at Whittinham was an excellent find. It was another tea shop frequented by cyclists on their morning ride. We were too early for the lunch menu but a bacon barm was a welcome treat. 

As the day was so nice we decided to visit Barbridge junction and the flight of locks we did not make it to on the boat. We parked in Barbridge just down from the Barbridge Inn, frequented by many Youtube narrowboaters, and cycled up the tow path to the locks. It was about 1.25miles to the top of the flight. The main path alongside the canal was a little muddy in places with the Brompton not being the ideal off road bike. The path by the locks was gravelled. We went a short distance beyond the top of the lock but the condition of the towpath changed back to muddy grass so we retraced our steps . Photos were taken and we just got in front of a large group of walkers when we returned to the main canal. Returning to Barbridge we went a short way up the Shropshire Union canal until the towpath changed back to muddy grass. We then retraced our steps to the car. 

On driving to Barbridge we passed Snugburys Ice Cream parlour quite close to the top of the locks so decided to drive there for a cup of tea and ice-cream . The parlour turned out to was very popular . The website says they get 300 000 visitors a year and the good weather meant the car park was nearly full and there was a long queue of customers waiting to purchase an ice-cream. The queue was too long to wait so rather than queue we decided to start the journey back and find a teashop on the way. Google maps suggested Ginger and Pickles in Tarporley.  A hidden gem in the heart of Cheshire. We were able to park outside. There is a teashop on one side  of the road and a small bakery on the other. The teashop was full but there were a couple of seats outside the bakery. They had officially finished serving hot food but said that the hotpot was still available. It was one of the best hotpots I have eaten. Tasty with large chucks on meat, a real delight .  The late lunch meant we did  not need dinner when we got back.

A cake was also purchased but we saved that for later.  The journey back was uneventful . The finish of a good week on the canal .

Saturday 5 March 2022

Llangollen Canal day 7


Thursday’s day of rain was a distant memory as we enjoyed another day of excellent weather. The air was cold but it was warm in the sun and we even applied sun cream. The nights mooring was a quiet spot between the two lift bridges. We had plenty of time as the days cruising to Ellesmere would only take around four hours so the Brompton’s were deployed after breakfast for a short bike ride which we extended to around 8 miles. The country lanes were good for cycling and we must return with the bikes and do a longer route. We started by cycling past the wetland reserve. Unfortunately the new bird hide was still under construction and  gate locked. We crossed the Llangollen canal on the lift bridge and then cycled do the tow path to the viewing point over Whixall Moss. The lookout tower was closed for repair so we had to be contented with a view from the ground level The moss had been used for peat extraction but the area is now being restored.  We then retraced our steps and did a large loop thought the lanes eventually arriving at the Whixhall marina café. We sat outside and enjoyed a coffee and shared and excellent raspberry and chocolate fudge brownie. The café was a popular spot with the local cyclists as a steady stream arrived when we were there. The boat was only a short distance from the café and we were ready to set off at about 12:30 once the mud had been washed of the Bromptons’ wheels. The only lift bridge of the day was 200 yards from the boat. Having successfully negotiated the bridge it was then a left turn after about half a mile back onto the Llangollen canal. The jacket potatoes for lunch were put in the oven before we departed. We continued cruising until they were ready so had a late lunch and moored for lunch at a mooring spot by the 70 foot turning circle at a spot with excellent views and would have been a good place to moor for the night on a future trip trip.

We don’t have to get the boat back until 10:00 am on Sunday morning so decided to moor up at Ellesmere about 90 minutes from the marina. The Bromptons were deployed again for a ride into the town. We decided to eat on the boat again. The excellent Vermeulen delicatessen had closed for the day but the Moolah local store was a good substitute. Olives and smoked garlic aioli were purchased for a starter, chicken and chorizo pies for a main course and Italian pastries for desert. We returned to the boat for a cup of tea and to start packing ready for our departure tomorrow.   

Another quiet day on the canal with us only passing one boat coming towards us. We did keep passing one one boat who overtook us when we were moored on the Prees branch and who are moored a few hundred yards from us at Ellesmere.

Friday 4 March 2022

Day 6 - Oh no blocked toilet!!

After yesterday’s rain we awoke to a dry morning. Morning coffee in bed was prepare facilities were used but contents did not disappear never to be seen again. Each attempted flush only resulted in the bowl getting fuller. The  morning bike ride was cycling up the tow path so Lyn could use the  Grindley Brook  boater facilities . When we got back at the boat the boat yard was open so the call was made. The initial plan was them to meet us at the top lock but when the mechanic call back he diagnosed a pump out was required so told us to proceed to Whitchurch Marina. We ascended the Grindley flight. The system for ascending the staircase was different to going down. This time you had to start with the bottom lock empty and middle and top lock full. On reaching the top our waste was disposed of at the boater facilities and we then stopped to fill with water. The boat design for this is not ideal as the fill point is at the side of the boat and this time was on the canal side. The tank was filled without dropping the key or the screw cap in the canal and without falling in.

We then continued though the swing bridge and past the Whitchurch arm. The Whitchurch Marina was a few minutes away. Having asked were we should go for a pump we were told where to moor up. The technician was really helpful. The pipe was connected and problem resolved although the waste tank was not full.. The marina is a base for ABC boats but as our boat was not one of theirs he could come on board to check the toilet. However he did tell me what to look for and lend me a torch and watering can full of water! With the problem cleared we were on our way mooring for a late lunch after two lift bridges. The sun came out in the afternoon a sunscreen was applied although it did get colder later on. We continued cruising for a couple of hours and this time turned left onto the Prees branch. It was about half an hour to the marina at the end where we had to wind the boat. There was no suitable mooring at the marina so we retraced our steps but this time stopped at the mooring between the two lift bridges.

A quite day on the canal and we only past 4 moving boats all day

Llangollen Canal day 6

Pump out

Whitchurch marina

Llangollen Canal day 6

Thursday 3 March 2022

Llangollen Canal day 5

Llangollen Canal Day 5


Thursday Day 5

We awoke to rain again. We were ready to set off before 9:00 but delayed our departure because of the rain. The forecast was for it to improve later in the morning with a higher probability if rain in the afternoon. Blogs were updated and diaries written. We set off at around 10:00 in light rain and decided to turn round at the winding hole that was just round the corner. We would not have had time get to get to Hurlesrton Junction and turn around there. There was another winding hole a little further on but that would have involved going through two locks. The rain continued all day getting heavier in the afternoon.

The middle lock at Baddley proved troublesome again. When it was nearly full water was leaving as fast as it was flowing into the lock. Eventually we able to push on the lock gate and open in enough to let the waters levels equalise so we could open the gate fully. It took us over half an hour to get though the lock

We past 4 boats that were cruising all day. Most sensible boaters deciding to stay where they were. The automatic lift bridge at Wrenbury was opened for us as we arrived just as it was being opened. We has thought of going to the store again and cycle up the hill from the mooring just past the lift bridge. The weather meant we stayed on the boat. The remains of last night’s chicken curry provided an excellent lunch and one of the “emergency brownies” we consumed.

 We continued cruising to just past Povey’s Lock where we moored for the night at 16:30. We are a short distance from the Grindley Brook 6 and staircase lock which we will tackle tomorrow. We also will need to get water from the point at the top of the locks. The boat does not have a water gauge so we are hoping are supplies will last until then

Llangollen Canal day 5

Village shop

Wednesday night's mooring spot

Happy birthday 


Wednesday 2nd March


A leisurely start to the day with coffee and card a present opening in bed. After breakfast it was still raining so we caught up with diaries and blogs and set off around 11:20 when the rain has reduced in intensity. With a full set of Gortex waterproofs you don’t get wet but it is more pleasant cruising in the dry. We had some locks and lift bridges to negotiate before reaching Wrenbury. At Wrenbury the lift bridge was automatic. Once the control panel was located all it took was the Canal and River Trust key  to be inserted and turned  and a button pressed and held in for the barriers across the road to close and the bridge to be raised. We wanted to visit the village store. We should have moored before the lift bridge as the footpath was were muddy after the lift bridge and we did not want to wade our way through the mud with the Brompton. We moored for lunch at the 48 hour mooring but from there it was a path across the fields to the village. After lunch we continued for a short distance to Wrenbury Health where the canal ran alongside the road again. We then cycled the short distance to the village. Locating the store but first continuing to the lift bridge to take some photographs. The store was well stocked, chicken for the nights curry and other essential were purchased including a couple of emergency chocolate brownies. Returning to the boat we then continued cruising. The rain had stopped and did not return until after we had moored up for the night. The last lock of the Bradley Lock flight proved challenging. One of the ground paddles was out of order. The lock was slow to fill and when it was nearly flow the water was flowing out our as fast as it was entering. Eventually Robert was able to open the gate and Lyn could get the boat into the lock. We moored for the night in open countryside a short distance from Stonley Green. We Are moored a short distance from a 70 foot turning circle so we can have some options of where we turn round in the morning. The rain started again shortly after we moored up. A tea of chicken curry was prepared and the significant birthday toasted with Champagne. Yesterday’s crepes were such a success we decided to make them again. The TV signal was intermittent so we finished the night catching up on a canal blog.

Wednesday 2 March 2022


LLangollen Canal day 3


Tuesday 1st March

An early start to make the most of the fine weather. We were cruising before 9:00 and it was about an hour to get to Whitchurch. A couple of lift bridges were successfully negotiated and we moored up about a mile from the town. Having cycled along the tow path we found we could have moored closer to the town on the Whitchurch arm visitor mooring. The Whitchurch arm did continue to the town centre but was abandoned in 1944 and subsequently filled in. A short section has been restored and there is plan to link it again to the town when the finance is forthcoming. We cycled down the route of the old canal and eventually found ourselves it the picturest town centre. The local chemist had a supply of lateral flow test kit so a couple more were collected to add to the stockpile.

Having cycled round the town we had time for a shared cake and coffee before returning to the boat. We negotiated the swing bridge and moored for lunch before the locks and water point.  After lunch we filled with water then helped another boated on a Canaltme hire boat. They had been supplied with a very smart roll flat hose but had not been given a suitable connector to attach it to the water point. The first of the locks we had to negotiate was the Grindley Brook staircase locks. This was a set of 3 locks.  We had wait for a boat to ascend by which time we were the head of the queue of four boar waiting to descend. Having gone through the locks the process was straight forward.

The other boaters helped with the lock and an “experience single handed boater “ took charge. Even trying to hurry Lyn up as she drove single handed into her first lock.

During more busy periods of the year a lock keeper is on hand to oversee the process.

Ensure the middle lock chamber is filled to the line and is approximately half full of water, fill the top chamber and empty the bottom lock. The first boat can then enter the top chamber and then start descending as per the normal process when you are in a lock. The boat the goes into the middle chamber to descend again to the bottom level. The other boat can then follow the first boat down the lock. In busy period they allow 3 boats to go down followed by 3 boats up and they can be a wait of around 3 hours to get though the flight.

There were then another 3 single locks to go through to complete the descent.

The weather was crisp and clear and a good day for cruising.  We continued to about 17:40  going through another 3 locks. We  moored for the night in the country side at Bickley Moss around an hours cruising from Wrenbury. We had a good Internet connection so were able to join the regular Tuesday Skype call. After which a dinner of stir fried beef the chili and garlic sauce followed by fresh pancakes. How many other hire boated would have brought tee own Crepe pan? The batter worked well despite having to estimate the ingredients as we had no scales or measure.


Coffee in Whitchurch

Day 2

Llangollen Canal day 2


Monday 28th February

The forecast in the evening was rain from early afternoon the next day. Our plan was to set off early and cruise until the rain started. The plan was good on paper but we awoke to rain. After a leisurely breakfast the rain stopped and we set of towards Ellesmere. Stopping first at the water point to top up with water . We then moored just past bridge 58 and cycled the short distance to the town. Quiche for lunch was purchased from the excellent Vermeulen delicatessen. We were soon back on the boat and making our way past the Meres. The rain held off until 13:00 so we moored up for lunch. By the time the time we had finished eating the rain had stopped so we set off again.

We ignored the short detour along the Prees branch. We may go down it on our return.  There were no locks today just the one lift bridge as short distance past the Prees junction.

By 15:30 the rain had started again and was getting heavier. We decided to moor a short distance for what would have been the second28th February28th February lift bridge of the day.

First Day on the Llangollen Canal


Sunday 27th February

It was about a 90 minute drive to Whitingham Wharf and we arrived just after 13:00. The official collection time for the boat was 14:30 but was it had not been booked out the previous week we were told we could collect the boat earlier. We were able to park as short distance from the boat at the contents of the car including 2 Bromptons’ we soon safely stored on board.

Alan then gave us a friendly and comprehensive briefing about the boat. He took into account our previous experience and just telling us what we needed to know. A problem with the water pump delayed our departure but a new pump was soon fitted and after a late lunch we were on our way in the direction of Ellesmere. The tight turn and bridge just after the boat yard was negotiated without incident and we were then cruising through open countryside.

Our boat for the week “Heart of Welshpool” is 45 foot narrow boat. It  haS reverse layout with a cruiser stern. At the bow of the boat we have a full size king sized bed. We have a  bathroom small kitchen and a seating area at the rear of the boat were we can install a table when we want to eat. A diesel Eberspacher heater heats the hot water and water for the central heating. Provided we have sufficient charge in the batteries it means we can heat the boat without running the engine.


  We moored for the night around 30 minutes cruising from Ellesmere stopping just before 17:00 in open countryside. An evening meal of Paella was prepared