Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Today's the day. We will at last cross the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.
Out trip continued along the waterway through the lovely scenery. You could become blase about the beauty if you aren't careful.
The canal is definitely shallow around here, at every bridge hole we nearly come to a stop as the water rushes by on either side.
Our first taste of high flying is the Chirk Aqueduct. Here the effect is somewhat overshadowed by the presence of a railway viaduct next to it, which is taller (see bottom pic). this followed immediately by Chirk Tunnel. Here we have to wait while boats are coming the other way, there are 6 in all before we can start through. Here again the lack of depth of water makes itself apparent and as we crawl through there are times when I reckon we almost stand still despite the power of the engine.
At the other end there were at least 6 more boats waiting to go through, so we were lucky that they all didn't follow in convoy or we might still be waiting.
Next up is the shorter Whitehouse Tunnel and then, the jewel in the crown, the mighty Pontcysyllte itself. For those who have 'done' this trip I don't need to describe the feeling, but if you haven't then all I can say is do it. The trepidation of looking over the open side and wondering how that thin looking piece of ironwork stands up to boats banging along its length. The exhilaration of the view if you can stand to look at it, and the wonder of the engineering done all those years ago, without machines. The joints of the sections are sealed with flannel and lead, dipped in boiling sugar. Now who came up with that concoction?
At the end of the aqueduct we pulled into Trevor where there is short but very crowded arm. Expecting to have to turn around at the end we travelled down it and to our amazement found a spot to spend the night.

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