The powers that be place a £6 per night charge to moor in Llangollen but only permit a 2 night stay. We don’t object, it includes electricity, which for us is very cost effective. We’d happily pay for electric if only CRT would install accessible points along the cut. But that’s another issue, we were here in Llangollen and wanted to make the most of it.
We wandered along the wharf to the shop that manages mooring fees, and found they also sell ice cream…. banana and chocolate chip….
We were off to a good start. This is where the horse drawn trip boat operates from.
Not only is it a treat to see the boat being pulled by a horse, the vessel itself is a object of beauty. Llangollen wharf has been a tourist attraction for well over 100 years and I’m not sure if the two trip boats are the restored originals or reproductions. They plod gently along what’s little more than a stream
With a photo opportunity at the chain bridge over the river and in true Dr Dolittle style, the horses and tiller are simply unbuckled and reattached for the return journey.
However as there’s no winding hole beyond Llangollen basin, for us to turn firecrest around we chose to walk the remainder of the canal to its source.
This is where we see the true reason for the Llangollen Canal. Not only did it transport goods such as coal and iron, it also carried the main water supply for South Cheshire.
The water flow is managed by an impressive 140m weir designed by Thomas Telford in 1808. Its known as the Horseshoe falls. As with most canals, the Llangollen has seen many owners over the years, usually the railway companies. After the decline of commercial traffic in the 1930s, in 1944, the London Midlands and Scottish railway were granted a parliamentary act of abandonment allowing it to close a 175 miles of canals. However the stretch now known as the Llangollen Canal was saved and maintained because it provided the main water supply south Cheshire. 12million gallons of water are drawn through here every day.
In 2009 the sheer beauty of the location alongside the pioneering engineering earnt the last 11 miles from Chirk to the Horseshoe falls was awarded a UNESCO world Heritage site status
Of course Llangollen isn’t just about the canal and the river, the town is a thriving tourist attraction in its own right, which makes it very busy with a combination of tacky gifts suitable for landfill and some fine artisan crafts and delicacies. We treated ourselves to Oggies for lunch, the Welsh equivalent to a Cornish pasty and in our opinion much better.
And whilst we were plugged into an unlimited power source, I took the opportunity to bake some Christmas cakes.