Saturday, 23 August 2008

Creoso I Cymru.

0 Locks, 5 Miles, 2 Aqueducts, 2 Tunnels, 1 Lift Bridge. Now moored at Trevor Basin.

It was a case of fingers crossed regarding the weather when we set off this morning because even though it was blue skies there were a few black clouds lurking on the horizon. We were hoping for a fine day for Robin and Jenny's trip across the Chirk and Pontcyllte Aqueducts. We had already walked the Chirk aqueduct the night before so they knew what to expect as far as this aqueduct was concerned but the Pontcyllte was going to be a huge surprise.

There were a few boats on the move early which meant we had to wait for one tunnel and the Chirk aqueduct to clear before we could pass. Travelling through the tunnels was hard work due to the water pressure continually pushing us into the offside wall. By the time we had cleared both tunnels my right shoulder was feeling rather sore after the continuous battle on the the tiller.

Going across the Pontcyllte aqueduct was an easy run except for the very cold wind blowing across by the time we reached the centre. Being a fine day meant there were plenty of Gongoozlers to watch us as we reached the Trevor end of the aqueduct.

Upon arrival at the Trevor basin we had to negotiate between the many Anglo Welsh hire boats to the winding hole from where we reversed to the rear of the old canal/railway basin. There is an old tunnel at the end of the basin which used to carry the canal another 3 miles up to some factories. The other side of the tunnel has been filled in and is the site of a chemical works and many warehouses which are due to close at the end of the year. Rumour has  it that there has been proposal to build a new marina on part of the site bringing jobs  to the area and much needed extra moorings

After lunch we set off on foot to inspect Telford's master piece especially after BW's recent major  overhaul in which the trough was repainted, resealed and all the nuts and bolts holding it together were replaced. When you consider that building the aqueduct took 10 years to complete,was opened in 1805, it was testament to the skill of the engineers and labourers of the time, especially as they didn't have the labour saving devices we have today.

The aqueduct is 1007 ft long, 11ft 10ins wide, and 5ft 3ins deep and  stands on 18 stone piers,  the highest of which stands 126 feet above the river Dee.

1422 locks, 2055 miles, 48 Tunnels, 42 swing bridges and 27 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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