Sunday, 29 June 2014

The power of Carolyn


off the Llangollen 010 After spending Tuesday night at Bettisfield on Wednesday morning at 06.50 we pulled pins and continued our journey down the Llangollen ,and after a quick detour up the Prees branch Carolyn allows me to operate my first ever lift bridge. The bridges are hydraulic and relatively easy to operate although Carolyn said that this one was the easiest she had ever done on our way up the canal.

off the Llangollen 003Great boat name. I think it means he has a long boat , although it might mean he has something else that’s long …… Oh the way your mind works!!!!

off the Llangollen 015 We finally reached Grindley brook locks, they are known for being a bottleneck and it is not unknown for there to be delays of up to 3 or 4 hours in the summer months . There is a full time lock keeper on duty and they work a system of 3 boats up and 3 down the staircase locks at busy times.There were 5 boats in front of us and 3 had just gone down so we had a bit of a wait. Plenty of time for an ice cream and a chat to the other boaters. It ended up taking us nearly 1 and a half hours to do all of the flight. There was a bit of bad feeling at the top of the locks behind us, as one hire boats decided to jump the queue which had built up to 12 boats and refused to wait his turn. Some boaters asked the lock keeper not to let him down until it was his turn , but the lockie didn’t want any hassle and refused to get involved. It turned out that Carolyn had spoken to the boater in question the day before and he said to her how he was on a tight schedule and was in a hurry and didn’t want any hold ups….. Message to the said boater…You don’t hurry on canals , you go with the flow  .

off the Llangollen 019Going down the staircase locks at Grindley brook locks .

off the Llangollen 020I just loved this boat name. I'm on that most nights.

off the Llangollen 027At Quoisley lock this old guy set up a stall selling free range eggs ,potatoes ,logs and other bits and pieces.Carolyn bought some eggs and they were lovely and big and just perfect for dipping your bread and butter soldiers in. He was also a very helpful man and helped us lock down.

off the Llangollen 033We moored at 15.00 just before The Dusty Miller pub at Wrenbury. After a walk along the canal we decided to have a pint at Dusties and chill outside watching the world go by and enjoy a lovely cold lager on a hot day . It was fun watching the boats going through the lift bridge and the car drivers getting frustrated waiting for the boats to pass through.

off the Llangollen 038On Thursday we pulled pins at 07.40 and the first job of the day was to go through the Wrenbury lift bridge. This bridge is electrically operated and you have to put a barrier across the road to stop the traffic and then press a button to lift the bridge

off the Llangollen 040Carolyn with her finger on the button of the lift bridge . There were 7 cars and vans waiting for us to go through and Carolyn loved the power of being able to stop the traffic.

off the Llangollen 049There are some leaky locks on the Llangollen with leaking brickwork . These leaks were known as pee ers by the old boatmen for obvious reasons.

off the Llangollen 051No it’s a boat.

off the Llangollen 055We finally reach the Hurleston flight of 4 locks and lock back down onto the Shropshire union canal. We have both had a brilliant time on the Llangollen canal and have met lots of people and made some more very good friends. The canal is known as one of the busiest canals in the country especially in the summer school holidays. But it was a great to get away from the main canal and spend a few days down on the Montgomery canal, with only 12 boats allowed at any one time on the canal it is so peaceful and relaxing. We have both said that we would like to come back sometime in the future. We now have to decide where we are going next. We are now moored at Barbridge ,sitting out the rain and looking at maps and guide books and trying to work out our next move…The decisions we have to make !!!!


                                                                                                                                                                     Happy Days

Friday, 27 June 2014

Leaving Llangollen

We left Llangollen basin on Monday morning at 09.00 which was a big mistake. In the 4 miles between Llangollen and Trevor we met 19 boats heading to Llangollen with most of them being hire boats. Some of them even had crew walking ahead of the boat in the wide section to check for on coming boats. For a novice hirer it must be a very daunting experience steering through this very narrow and twisty canal.

back to Llangollen 115Approaching the lift bridge as you leave Llangollen which thankfully is always left raised raised.

back to Llangollen 125We had two boats following us and on many of the corners we all had problems with with some of the inexperienced hire boaters. But there were no bad feelings or falling outs and I must say the hirers on this canal have been very good and considerate, apart from a live aboard boat who decided to run his engine until 21.45 at night in the basin. The general rule is not to run your engine or Generator between 20.00 and 08.00. It turned out he had problems with his charging system and wanted to watch TV ,  Although nobody said anything to him there were a lot of unhappy boaters the following morning.

back to Llangollen 124This is the only view you get of the Pontcysylite Aqueduct as you approach Trevor.

back to Llangollen 129Here we go again, for the fourth time we cross the Aqueduct, and with me steering Carolyn assumes her normal position of hiding down in the cabin. It is very strange how I was stressed going up Dinas Bran which is 1050 feet and Carolyn was not at all bothered yet she didn’t like the 140 feet of the Aqueduct.

back to Llangollen 131With it being very windy it certainly made the crossing a bit more exciting.

back to Llangollen 132This boat was moored in Froncysylite.   Cat Carrying , what's that all about ?

back to Llangollen 134What a stupid name     ……………………………………………………………….for a boat of course .

back to Llangollen 138I wonder what Inca would look like with a bit of cladding like this ?. Mind you I don’t think I would employ this person to do it.

back to Llangollen 151Another good boat name.

back to Llangollen 143Not sure what happened here , but this is just before you drop down New Marton top lock and a very straight section of canal. The force of this hire boat hitting the bank nearly made the ladies fall off the back of the boat.

back to Llangollen 147This was good . Approaching New Marton lock and this is their first ever lock and they used the pole to guide the boat all the way into the lock, but they were having fun and enjoying themselves, which is what its all about.                                                                  back to Llangollen 150Its so difficult to get a good picture of a Heron as they normally fly off before you get anywhere near them but we managed to get this one of a Heron in a field. We were a bit disappointed that we have only seen one Kingfisher in all our time on the Llangollen and that was only a flash of blue and gold as it flew along the canal. With Kingfishers being shy birds maybe this canal is just too busy for them .

We are now going to put in a few long days and try and get off the Llangollen canal by Thursday as they give rain coming in at the weekend. The 44 miles from Llangollen to Hurleston junction should take us about 25 hours as long as everything goes to plan and there are not any hold ups.

                                                                                                                                                                   Happy Days

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Back to Llangollen


back to Llangollen 005On Saturday morning we pulled pins at 08.00 and headed towards Froncysyllte to pick up my family and give them a trip over the Pontcysylite and a trip into Llangollen. We soon had Brother in law Philip working and he certainly seemed to enjoy lifting and lowering the lift bridge… We will sort out a good lock flight next time he visits.

back to Llangollen 008Its not far then to the Aqueduct and how brave was my number one sister Sharon. She stood on the bow all the way over.  (and no I wasn’t tempted to nip up behind her and push her off).

back to Llangollen 014As soon as we got in to Llangollen basin it was chill out time. In this picture I have just told my sister that she is starting to look more and more like our Mother Joan.

back to Llangollen 031Everybody had a very good day and my Dad Ken really enjoyed the trip over the Aqueduct and then a walk around Llangollen ,and then it was  back to Inca to watch the Cricket and Football which he really enjoys.



back to Llangollen 096On Sunday morning we decided to walk up to the top of Dinas Bran. this is a castle that over looks Llangollen and is over a thousand years old.

back to Llangollen 050After nearly suffering a heart attack on the 1050 feet hike up the mountain we finally reached the castle. I am so unfit I had to stop half a dozen times on the way up to catch my breath and let my heart beat slow down. But once we got to the top it was well worth the effort.

back to Llangollen 048You can see the snowdonian mountains in the background to the west.

back to Llangollen 044And In the distance are the plains of Shropshire to the East.

back to Llangollen 052This has to be the highlight of our trip to Llangollen and I think it was just as  exhilarating than crossing the Poncysylite Aqueduct. …If ever you are in the area this is a must do.

back to Llangollen 058The view down to Llangollen.

back to Llangollen 078Guess who got a bit of Vertigo and had a few problems with the heights , I had to hug the sides of the paths and really struggled on some parts. Carolyn thought it was funny , but I didn’t.

back to Llangollen 100When we got back down to the bottom Molly and Hamish were glad of a paddle in the canal to cool off.

back to Llangollen 104It was then back to Inca and a very relaxing day sat in the sun and getting a bit of a tan.


                                                                       Very Happy Days

Friday, 20 June 2014

Stat update and a new home port for Inca

It is now over 14 months since we moved aboard Narrowboat Inca and we have now travelled 1161 miles and been through 742 locks. Carolyn has operated 739 locks and I have done just 3. We are averaging the fantastic distance of 2.73 miles a day. I have emptied 204 toilet cassettes and Carolyn has emptied none. (Maybe we Should have had a pump out, but then you have to pay to have it emptied). We have run the engine in that time for 1155 hours , that also includes running the engine in the winter to charge the batteries. The engine uses almost exactly 1 litre an hour which I think is very good for a Beta 2 litre 43hp engine, although we only normally cruise at 1100 rpm….. Oh! and Carolyn reckons we have fallen out and argued about 200 300 400 times. We met a couple last week who said they had fallen out more times in 5 days on a narrowboat holiday than they had  in over 20 years of marriage……..The solar power has been brilliant and saved us a lot of money. At this time of year we do not need to run the engine at all as the 400 watts of solar power meets all our needs, even on a dull day in the summer we can get between 10 and 12 amps and when its sunny and the batteries are low we get over 25 amps. In the winter the solar just about runs the fridge and we need to generate the rest of the power with the engine or generator. I still think the panels look ugly on the roof , but needs must and if I had more room I would probably fit some more panels. It will take 2 or 3 years before the panels pay for themselves but I do believe it was a good investment.

to chirk 003Inca now has a new home port. She has never been there and will never ever go there. But we still think of Totnes as our home town. We have already had some great comments from people and are very happy that we have changed it.

to chirk 029Its always good to moor next to a bench where you can sit down and relax with a drink. Only problem was it was a alcohol free zone, which at the time we didn’t know …oops!

to chirk 031We spent a couple of days at Ellesmere with John and Anthea from Narrowboat Digitalis. It turned out their boat was built by Sabre narrowboats the same company that built Inca, and that certainly gave us a lot to talk about . What a lovely couple and we hope to meet up with them again in the future.

to chirk 041 We pulled pins on Thursday at 08.15 and headed back up the Llangollen towards Chirk. At  New Marton top lock Carolyn is on her way back to board Inca as these kind Americans told her to get on board and relax as they would do the lock.

Above the lock we came across Pete and Dawn from Narrowboat White Atlas. We haven't seen them since the winter and we had a good old chat catching up on what we have both been up to. It was good to see you both again and hopefully we will meet up again before too long.

to chirk 048One for our number one Grand daughter. Even though I call her Curly

to chirk 072Moored along from Marton lock and chilling before the England game. The less said about that the better.

to chirk 090On Friday we pulled pins at 08. 45 and headed towards chirk. We passed this chap on the way. Carolyn said that will be me in a few years time…He looks happy enough.

to chirk 099Crossing Chirk aqueduct and for some reason the steerer could not steer it over, so the crew guided it over with ropes…How bizarre !

We are now moored next to Chirk Marina and about half an hour from the Pontycysylite aqueduct where we will pick up my family in the morning. Looks like I am going to be an Italy supporter tonight. I think that could be difficult but………….. Come on Italy


                                                                                                            Happy Days

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Celebrity boater


back to ellesmere16.06.2014 005With Carolyn back aboard Inca we decided on Sunday to have a walk up the Whitchurch arm and go into the town.

back to ellesmere16.06.2014 020At the moment you can only travel about 200 yards before you come to the end of the arm.

back to ellesmere16.06.2014 006But there are plans to build a new basin about 100 yards further on in this field. With the town being a mile away it’s a shame they cant get a bit closer,but a lot of the old canal has now been built on.

back to ellesmere16.06.2014 007This is the memorial garden in the main park .

back to ellesmere16.06.2014 016This has to be one of the best kept parks we have come across on our travels so far.

back to ellesmere16.06.2014 013Being Sunday most of the shops were closed, so it was my favorite type of shopping again……Window shopping !!

back to ellesmere16.06.2014 014And the church was very well looked after as well.

back to ellesmere16.06.2014 015We saw this notice on one of the shops  ……     Daft sod should have gone to Devon a far better county.

back to ellesmere16.06.2014 048On Monday morning we pulled pins from Whitchurch at 07.45 and headed back to Ellesmere. On route we came across this fine looking beast having a cool down in the canal. He didn’t look that happy and gave us a right old funny look.

dddd 003After five and a half hours cruising we picked up this mooring opposite the Border counties maintenance depot and as it was Monday and the shops were open her ladyship had to go and have a wonder around the town and get her retail therapy.

john sargeant 002When we got back to Inca there was a familiar face sat on the boat opposite us.

john sargeant 011It was the broadcaster and strictly come dancing contestant John Sergeant. They were filming a new TV series for ITV which will be aired sometime next year. On our way up to Ellesmere we were filmed by the same camera crew going under one of the bridges and didn’t know why.We were also in this shot where John got off the boat then walked around the corner then came back again and got on the boat, it looked all very set up. So now Inca may get on TV.

john sargeant 013After filming that scene all John wanted to do was go and get some lunch. As soon as John and the crew drove off in the vans for lunch the boat he was being filmed on left with out him.  They returned in the vans later in the afternoon and filmed inside the buildings.

We are staying here for a couple of days and will yet again fill the cupboards with food and the wine cellar with the red stuff before we leave. We are then heading back up to Llangollen to meet up with my parents ,number one sister and brother in law ,who are coming up for a couple of days and want a trip (free) over the Pontcysyllte aqueduct and then into the Llangollen.


                                                                                                                 Happy Days