We moored overnight at Froncysllte
where we were joined for our adventure by Heather and Ant, and their pet rats, (ok the 5 knitted rats that have an Instagram page if their own, so like to travel)
The weather was so dire that we really thought our crossing was not going to happen. But as luck would have it the rain stopped and the wind dropped so off we set.
Oh boy is it an experience, this Pontycysllte is the longest canal aqueduct at 307m long and the highest at 38m traversing the Dee valley. It is supported by 18 arched stone pillars.
It has a 3.7m wide and 1.6m deep cast iron trough which incorporates a protruding towpath over the water, this allows sufficient space for water displacement not to impede the boats movement. (Cause even the most unscientific of boaters know how frustrating it is when your boat slows down through narrow bridge holes and shallow weedy water). I wonder if Archimedes envisaged he would be enabling people like Telford to design such structures, because unlike road or rail viaducts the load is constant not increased when a boat enters the channel as the equivalent mass of water is moved off the aqueduct.
Provision was made for railings on the off side (not sure I like that term on an aqueduct like this) but they were never erected
It is quite scary looking down from the Towpath side to the River Dee below
But then some scenes are worth it, ok this photo was taken from the footbridge in Trevor basin, but at least if the bride had fallen in she would have been able to parachute to a safe landing.
Once we got into Trevor basin we cruised through the heaving mass of the hire boat centre on change over day
And found ourselves a secluded spot right at the end of navigation, where the planned route would have taken the canal to Chester
It was lovely to see Heather and Ant if only for a few hours
After they left we thought it would be peaceful here but in the 24 hours we were there, several boats came down this short 150m arm expecting to go through the bridge towards Llangollen. Some were quite huffy when we lent out and advised them not to go any further, some had the confidence to reverse back, but one poor family just didn’t know what to do, so Eric helped them. He mentioned the disproportionate number of disoriented boaters to a CRT man, who insisted the route was signed… but not adequately replied Eric. Fortunately non of the lost narrowboats took the footpath and ended up looking up at the aqueduct from the valley.