Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Fun & Games?

Well, that all depends upon who it is having difficulty!  If it’s us it’s definitely not funny – if it’s someone else it’s entertaining!  At New Marton Top Lock it was us in trouble!  We just couldn’t get fully into the lock!  Boats stacked up behind us and boats stacRodney 1 003 (800x600)ked up in front of us and everyone had a different opinion as to what to do to solve the problem!  John kept amazingly calm!  Eventually, with three of us standing on the roof to give the front end extra weight, one guy flushing water down from the top paddles (the same guy who, earlier on in the proceedings, told me off for doing exactly that!) and at least eight hunky chaps pulling on ropes we got into the lock and on our way.  This has definitely not filled either of us with confidence for the section from Trevor to Llangollen!

As we were approaching The Poacher’s Pocket who should be coming the other way but Dick and Chris on n/b ‘Dunmorvan’.  They moored at Penton Hook Marina for a long time and we got to know them throuRodney 1 013 (800x600)gh Ben.  Having now retired they are footloose and fancy free and are really enjoying exploring the canal system.  There is an extra member of the family – a lovely little Jack Russell called Lucy who just loves beer!  They moored up and we all went to the pub for liquid sustenance.  We spent the next morning chatting over cups of coffee.  They let us have a go on their electric bikes ……….. absolutely brilliant and Chris also has a TRULY comfortable saddle called a ‘Fat Bum’!  I want one!  The saddle that is, I’ve already got the other!!

Having left them we headed over the  lovely Chirk Aqueduct – slowly.  Croesco.  Into Wales.  Rodney 1 016 (800x600)Whenever the channel narrows the boat slows right down because she is drawing so much water beneath her.  Another queue of hire boats behind!  We moored up just at the entrance to the tunnel thinking it would be a peaceful place to stay, somewhere we could run the generator without upsetting anyone else and get easily to the shops and the lovely river Ceiriog to walk the dogs.  How wrong can you be!

Hire Boat Central!  We’ve counted at least nine different hire boat companies working this canal and from Chirk onwards it’s full throttle all the way to LlangRodney 1 029 (600x800)ollen.  We watched as three hire boats entered the tunnel with hooters hooting willie-nillie and then, a few minutes later, three hire boats reversing out again!  Why?  Because SIX boats were coming the other way!  How could you not notice six bright headlamps?  Whilst these three reversed out of the tunnel at least another three arrived.  Utter chaos!  Better entertainment than the cinema but, of course, it wasn’t us in trouble!  Frantic action coRodney 1 022 (800x600)ntinued quite late into the evening and began again early the next morning.

Today we hope to go over ‘The Big One’ and moor in Trevor Basin but that might be far too optimistic.  One private boater we met – a liveaboard from Sunbury – assured us that, albeit slowly, we would be able to get up to the end but ……………… I’m not convinced and now, neither is John!  Shame he was going the opposite way because he could have given us a tow should we have needed it.

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