Friday 25th July
We kept the BBQ out and had a cooked breakfast together. A chap called John joined us. He has a house but prefers to sleep outdoors.
We all took a bus to Wrexham. Sadly English bus passes are of no use in Wales. We wandered round the shops, stopped for in Costas for a cold drink, bought a TV aerial in Maplins. Hazel visited the markets for shoes, while James went to the cathedral, only to find it was Victorian and catholic. Then to St Giles Church, which is the old church in the town, where he found the Welsh National Youth Choir having a practice, singing an item by William Matthias: “Ceremony after a fire raid”, based on a poem by Dylan Thomas inspired by WWII. A very dramatic piece with amazing percussion by Simone Rebello. A powerful experience.
Another cold drink, this time in Nero’s, before catching a bus back.
A meal together on the grassy bank, this time Pizza and some excellent haggis prepared by Peter to mark the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
No boating today
Saturday 26th July
A “Make and mend day”. Hazel and Peter put up the TV Aerial, and Henry ground off our padlock tabs on the back doors and hatch, as they don’t coincide so can’t be used for a padlock, and they stick out so we could catch ourselves on them as we go down the steps. James put some primer / undercoat on.
Padlock tab on the hatch
Padlock tab on the door
Henry at work
While washing the boat, James found a dead mouse in our watering can. We somehow think Hugo was responsible.
Kiska II came into the basin so we were able to talk to the new owners, who keep the boat at Chester. They are the fifth owners, and are very much enjoying the boat. It was good to see them. They didn’t know it had been used in “Last of the Summer Wine”.
Our old boat
Again we had lots of conversations with people passing.
There was a very sudden downpour in the afternoon, with a resulting rush to get chairs in and drying paint under cover.
Heavy rain at Trevor
Later we all got together again outside for lasagne and tiramisu.
No boating. 1 mouse.
Sunday 27th July
Trevor to Sun Trevor
We decided to have a communion service on board Gospel Belle, instead of trying to find a church. It was a special time.
We said our farewells afterwards. Peter and Lin were heading for Ellesmere, and Henry and Lin were going to leave their boat at Crick while they went off to run a camp for kids with Urban Saints.
We set off towards Llangollen. Very soon we found a shallow section where two boats could not pass. Two hire boats, a trip boat and ourselves got in a bit of a pickle. The scenery was lovely.
There seemed to be very few places to moor along this section, and we ended up using rings near the Sun Trevor pub. They were serving food all day, so we went for a late lunch. It was very poor. The smoked mackerel starter was very dry and unappetising, and the chicken roast was very unimaginative, with bland vegetables. To add to this the best cider they could offer was bottled Bulmers, and there was a busy road just across the canal from the boat.
We won’t stop there on the way back.
0 locks, 2 miles, 1 mouse
Monday 28th July
Sun Trevor to Llangollen
Just after the mooring is the first of the narrow sections. James went ahead, and a boat coming down needed to stop in the only passing place. Going upstream was slow against the flow.
We noticed some good moorings between bridge 43 and 44, before the second narrow section began, taking us into Llangollen. James walked ahead, and held up a boat that wanted to come down.
We paused at the facilities and emptied 3 cassettes, before moving into the mooring basin, which is new to us, being built in 2005.
We moored bows on to begin with, so that we could fill up the water tank. Then we reversed into another berth so that we could plug into the electricity. All the Llangollen visitor moorings have power and water, including the towpath moorings. This saves a lot of engine running, and avoids queues at the water point. The charge was £6 per night.
We went to investigate the shops, and had lunch in a café. We bought some Bara Brith (Welsh fruit loaf) and some Welsh cheeses. We also found a bottle of Shiraz for £3.99 from Nisa, which turned out not very good. We won’t buy that again.
That evening the mooring basin was completely full – all 33 spaces taken.
Llangollen basin full
We turned on the immersion heater and discovered later that it hadn’t worked – the water was still cold. We put on the central heating instead which does.
There were three children and two dogs on one side, and one dog on the other, and another three boats away. Hugo went off earlier into the bushes, and it was a long time before he came back!
0 locks, 2 miles, 1hr35
Tuesday 29th July
A Boat horse in Llangollen
Hazel washed some clothes, while James went for a walk. He went up the footpath to Valle Crucis Abbey, but didn’t visit because there were many steps to go down.
Valle Crucis Abbey
He met a man coming up the steps who was going his way, so they walked together for two miles. His name was Steve and he came from Buxton where he was a dry stone waller, and a fell runner. His border collie, Ellie, wanted to play with sticks all the time, except when she wanted to chase sheep. He kept her on a lead a lot of the time. They parted company at the foot of Castel Dinas Bran. Steve wanted to do more, but James wanted to return to Llangollen.
Steve and Ellie
Castell Dinas Bran
Back at the boat we caught up with a few things, including screwing brackets under the loose step to hold it in place.
We then walked back into town to go to the Corn Mill restaurant, which we had spotted earlier. We had an excellent meal there, with good food and good service. Sadly they had run out of Rosie’s Pig cider, so James had to make do with Aspall’s.
No boating today