If it's zig-zagging, Jillian must be driving.

Trip Start May 02, 2013
Trip End Jul 04, 2013

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What I did
Pontcysylite Aquaduct

Flag of United Kingdom  , Wales,
Saturday, May 18, 2013

Today has been lovely. The promised rain has not eventuated yet and it's 5pm.
We've even seen the sun and been able to get out of our waterproofs. We had less
locks today and 3 of them were in a staircase, where you have to do the whole lot
in one go, so have to be well organised and have the water where you need it
before you start or you might end up in strife. There were lock keepers there to
make sure we got it right.
The canal seems to have been busy today yet we have gone through long stretches of
lovely countryside and seen hardly a soul. Everywhere green and bursting into leaf
again, lots of wildflowers and wild fisher people. Wild drivers too at times.
Everyone seems to have got the hang of it better than me. Sometimes I go
wonderfully well, but with everything being opposite to what you do in a car, as
soon as I get in a tight corner, I automatically do everything wrong! Everyone
hits walls on a regular basis, but we usually avoid other boats and they us. But
not always. I managed to hit one that was moored, just as it's owners were walking
away. Fairly gently, and they didn't scream at me.
We are currently scraping along the side, people have hopped off to hold the ropes
and attempt to keep it still whilst another boat goes between us and a moored one.
Oh jollies! Now we have to shove off with the pole. Lots of revs, backwards,
forwards. Ron's driving. Ah, away we go, forwards. We are dining aboard tonight but
planning to moor by a well reputed pub, hence the incentive to keep going.
We have had great pub meals. I'm trying to remember what we had where, so that I
can put reviews on tripadvisor.
I had another shower today! There is one on the boat, but we only really have hot
water in the evenings and we have 5 bodies and have to fill up our water tank most
days. There are facilities at some spots along the canal and we have a key so that
we can use them. Only one shower at each spot, so it takes a chunk off our
cruising time that we can scarcely afford. I had one today whilst they filled up
with water so that's one less for tonight. My first shower I had at one of these
services. They are interesting showers. Nothing simple about them, (except the
instructions if you think to read them.) I went across to the shower whilst we were
moored, in the rain , having been told it was one of those complex Pommie ones,
with buttons and strings to pull. Liz had showered. Course I could manage it. The
light went on when I pulled the string. I looked at the setup. Green button on
this box. White button under the shower itself. So, I'm gonna have to press 'em
both. How hard can that be? Strip off. Find I have the phone and we are waiting
for Robyn to ring to say she's here. Hope she doesn't ring while I'm in the
shower. Press green button. Press white button. Nuffin. Shiver. Sign by the door
says that the light switch is on the opposite side of the room. No. There are no
switches there. That's what the string is for no? Press buttons again. Look hard
at the dials around the shower head and on the wall. Shiver. Go press the green
button again. The white one. Nuffin. Shiver. Pick up phone and ring the boat.
"Put Liz on".
'Put Liz on".
I finally got the right instructions. Pull the chord to put the power on! The
light is actually automatic. That it went on when I pulled the chord was
coincidence.So why that was not effective I don't know. Then the green button,
then the white. Whoopee. Water. Hot, but not much of it. It says it will go for 7
minutes. Wow, that's ages. I enjoyed, had a good shower, scrubbed up lovely and
clean, rinsed. Rinsed. It's still running. Rinse some more. Still going. Get out
and get dried. Still running. I didn't work out that you have to press the white
button again to switch it off. Gee, I'm slow sometimes.
We had a somewhat fraught day yesterday. The rain was horizontal and the wind
freezing cold. We had heaps of locks to do, and a lot of miles. We didn't get to
where we had hoped. We were all soggy, although we kept the heating on as the
water that heats the place is heated by the motor when it's running and by gas at
night. The rain cleared in the afternoon but the cold wind continued to make
steering difficult.
We did our first lift bridges, one just a footpath, but another where we had to
stop the traffic. That was enough for one day. Two pubs serving food. We moored.
We straggled off to the pub. When we got there we realised that neither Albert or
I had money with us. I offered to return to get some.
'Could I have the key please?
It turned out that our communication had gone awry and the keys were tightly
sealed in the boat. We did not need this right now.
Fortunately, the guys managed to find a way in without wrecking anything and
harmony was restored. Helped by the food. It was cheap, the place was packed,
sevice was quick and everything was very tasty. Full marks for the Cotton Arms at
The next day? Gosh which was that? Another good day, motored along quite nicely
dined on board twice and then had banoffee pie for dessert at the pub. Very nice.
Today we achieved the highlight of our trip. We reached and traversed both the
Chirk Aqueduct and the Pontcysylite  (pronounced Pontikasulti) Aqueduct. This is now a World Heritage area, the second aqueduct being the biggest or highest in the world, (It's ok Angie, we
did not get wedged sideways across it. You can ditch that nightmare now)
It was fabulous. A grey day but the rain held off and we walked across it as well
as boating both ways. Albert also did a three point turn in winding hole (that's
wind as in moving air, not winding as in clockwork toy, The idea is that you use
the wind to help you turn) I hear he  made an excellent job of it. I wasn't there
but had walked down to the bottom of the aqueduct to take more photos.
Everywhere is wet. Streams were running across the path as we walked down. There's
a fair sized river goes under the aqueduct and the thing is sooooo high. Photos
soon I hope.
At present the others have adjourned to the pub to eat. I ate well at the last pub
at lunch time and am pleased to be able to try to get a few things
organised....but here I am. I suppose this is more important that a working phone.
More fun anyway.
However, this morning, the usual three crew members got up and off to an early
start. I found myself the only one aboard awake and at the helm? rudder? as we
approached our first lock of the day. The other two awake ones had gone to work
the lock. It was a doozy. The spill way at the side was rushing water into the
main stream and the lead in was difficult. Once in, it filled up that fast that we
nearly sank the darn thing. I was traumatised. I was already very tired and I
mutinied. After discussion on the impossibility of completing all that the
captain had planned, he agreed to turn immediately after the aquaducts so we  (by
then it wasn't just me) agreed to continue. And we've had a lovely day. A bit
shorter in the motoring dept and actually got in a bit of sight seeing.

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Jacq on

This sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing and writing it as it truly is : storms, calm, peace, frustration ..... fabulous memories. What a great story you will have to tell.

Arbi on

Sounds challenging, frustrating, exhilarating - and with a LOT of water! Congratulations on your achievements (I think that's a polite way of saying "I'm glad no-one sank the boat."). I'd love to experience those pub meals.

Lise on

Phew! Well done all of you!

Ron on

Hi Jill
Saw you cross the aqaduct waved good bye took a snap
Leave Crewe at 11 for London

Ron liz

Adrian on

Looks like you're having a great time :) With new things and places there will always be minor frustrations but it does look like you're getting the hang of things and with good friends too which makes all the difference. Especially when they can forgive your frustrations :) Hope the enjoyment continues and the frustrations subside on your fantastical adventure.

edna_million on

The lift bridge looks REALLY complicated! I'm enjoying so much reading about your boating adventures. And pubs are the BEST.

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