We are almost bidding the Llangollen canal a very fond farewell after being on it for the last 6 weeks!!! Since our friends left us on Monday we cleaned up, stocked up and got cruising despite very windy and often wet weather. We are on a mission to get to Kidsgrove by the middle of next week to get some mechanical repairs completed before we start intensive summer cruising to all new canals!!!!
But we have had an eventful last 10 days or so.
After arriving in Trevor following our trip down the Montgomery Canal, we prepared to spend some time with our friends Michael and Kendra (from Port Townsend USA) and Chris and Sue (from Edgware) sharing our experience of Llangollen and the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. But first on Monday 11th we travelled to London again for an eye check up which gave us a further 3 weeks of freedom to move.
On Tuesday morning our friends (who were staying in Llangollen until Friday) arrived at Celtic Maid where we were moored in the Trevor Basin. Fortunately Chris and Sue have a vehicle which enables the six of us to get to see some beautiful spots in Wales all together. We spent Tuesday exploring around Llangollen, taking in the rocky hillsides around the town, getting up close and personal with the many sheep that own these hills, and enjoying a fantastic lunch in the famous Britannia Inn Hotel (est circa 1462 AD). From here we checked out the amazing Horseshoe Falls – created by Telford to feed the Llangollen canal. While Bob and Chris tried to go to the motor museum (it was closed) the rest of us walked the mile and a half back to Llangollen before returning to Trevor for dinner in the Telford Inn.
On Wednesday we left in good time to explore parts of Wales heading through Snowdonia National Park, first to Llanberis hoping to do the steam train trip up Mount Snowdon. Alas the next available time was 4.00pm so we decided to head to Caernarfon and visit the town and castle and have a much needed coffee!! This town is steeped in history and well worth a visit. (Photos in the gallery)
Our next stop was Portmeirion – a stunning “created” village – where we explored the beautiful buildings and surrounds, ate a great lunch and treated ourselves to very tasty icecream. This is the home of Portmeirion china which I knew nothing about before hand. The drive back to Llangollen was very quiet as we were all on a sugar slump by then. Thank goodness for Chris’s driving!!!!! Dinner at The Corn Mill in Llangollen and then home to have a big sleep. (More photos in the gallery)
On Thursday we drove to Chester which is home to many beautiful buildings, a stunning cathedral, ancient city walls to walk around and of course shopping!!! After a quick coffee stop we started to meander around the town, buying Bob a man-bag before deciding to take the city wall walk and get a bird’s eye view of the city, cathedral and River Dee. This really is a beautiful city. After a quick lunch (including gluten free fare) in a small cafe near the wall we decided to split up and the boys explored more of the town and cathedral while the girls indulged in a spot of shopping. When we met up again at the appointed hour of 5.00pm we made the mistake of commencing the journey home at peak traffic time in addition to needing to get fuel which was very low. Well after a bit of robust discussion and a few wrong turns courtesy of google maps we finally found a service station and topped up. The rest of the drive back was issue free but our lateness meant a quick stock up at Tescos before a late dinner back at the Telford Inn.
Friday morning and we began our 6th and final trip across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct (Michael and Kendra’s first and Chris and Sue’s third crossing) heading through the Whitehouse and Chirk tunnels and over the Chirk Aqueduct before arriving outside The Poacher’s Inn near Chirk. We found a good mooring and after a quick drink in the pub, we ventured up to the Garden Centre and shops for a look around and to get supplies to freshen the herb garden while Chris and Sue booked into their hotel for the next three nights. Bron cooked sausage and mash for dinner and we settled Michael and Kendra aboard.
On Saturday we set off for nearby Chirk Castle and spent all afternoon exploring its rooms and gardens. Quite a spectacular place to visit and an amazing view of the surrounding area. It is very well set up to tour and gives a glimpse of life there over the last few hundred years as well as a wander through stunning manicured gardens. Upon leaving we got a close look at the beautiful white lace ironwork gates that are no longer used as the entrance but remain beside the exit. England and Wales are full of castles but this one is very beautiful. We even found some chairs that we would have liked to rescue for Celtic Maid!!!! (more photos in gallery!)
Sunday was our last cruising day with our friends taking us through two locks and some very picturesque countryside to Ellesmere where we found moorings along the arm before taking a walk through town and finding The Mere – a large lake with lots of birdlife and very pretty views. Once back to the boat we sent the boys to the pub while we cooked dinner but Chris arrived back a little concerned that he could not make contact with the taxi service required to get them back to their hotel in Chirk. We came up with lots of solutions but a short walk with the trusty mobile to find internet coverage revealed a number for another taxi which arrived exactly as requested to ferry them home.
Monday dawned very rainy – it had poured down all night – so they relaxed with us a while before setting out on their next adventure to Liverpool leaving us to prepare for our next stage.
It is always good to share our adventures with friends and this trip was both enjoyable and memorable.