I’ve been getting into the rhythm of canal life more each day. Taking it easy but still finding new sights and learning new things. I’m heading upstream (there’s a significant current on the Llangollen) so it’s slow going, relatively speaking, but I’m certainly not in a rush. I’ve stopped at locations I remember from my previous trips up this way, it’s nice to know what’s coming along. There’s a fear of passing a good mooring spot hoping for a better one, and not finding it!
Along the way I stopped at a great spot, there were a couple of picnic tables and bbq stands just off the canal (so nicely private). However, the best part was the Damson (plum) trees that surrounded it. In just a few minutes I picked enough to make several litres of Damson Gin and Vodka (only made one of each though). They should be great by the springtime! There were some regular plums there too but the ripe ones were out of reach. The story of the Damsons in this area is that they were imported and cultivated for their use in making purple dye. Market Drayton (not far away) was apparently established primarily to trade in Damsons and dyes.
The run between Ellesmere and Chirk was really nice, even had some blue skies. I stayed a couple of days in Chirk but didn’t manage a Sunday Roast, everything was booked up. It really is amazingly busy this year with the difficulties of overseas travel. Lots of people to meet and talk to though, like Tom and Louise! First time hire-boats, and fantastic people. I so enjoyed meeting them and sharing a pint or two.
I stopped just short of the Pontcysyltte Aqueduct as I could tell the traffic would be horrendous. Sure enough, when I walked ahead to check things out, I ran across my artist friends from Ellesmere and they told me there had been dozens of boats lined up to go across. So I waited until early the next morning and managed to time it pretty well. A small issue at the lift bridge (nobody would let me though, just kept coming through against me) but from there it was clear sailing. Even the narrows after the aqueduct were clear, and I got a spot in the basin for a couple of nights. It’s one of my favourite places, so will deserve a post of it’s own.