There is no more pleasurable way to see a beautiful part of Britain than to take a unhurried trip on a narrowboat along the Llangollen Canal. The canals of Britain wind their way through some of Britain’s most scenic countryside and you can stop along the way wherever you wish. You might like to visit one of the local villages or tie up at a canal-side pub for a pint and a friendly yarn Eryaman lavabo tıkanıklığı açma.
Canals were the major means of transporting goods in Great britain from the sixteenth century to the mid 19th century, when railways begun to take over. By the mid the twentieth century very little shipment was being carried and some of the little used canals begun to fall into disrepair. In the latter perhaps the century, tourists and tourists begun to recognise the beauty of the canals and take advantage of the unhurried pace and relaxed style of canal holidays.
In company with two friends we set right out of the Swanley Bridge Marina near Nantwich, in Cheshire, and started our journey along the Llangollen canal towards Wales. The narrowboat was very clean and comfortable with it’s own shower an potty, separate accommodation, and everything we needed in the galley. We soon discovered how to operate the locks and gates and to raise bridges. Life on the canal is certainly very relaxing as you travel along so slowly and independent of the occasional lock to negotiate, or bridge to lift, there is little to do except enjoy the scenery as you overlook. The pace is slow, but at no time did we feel bored as there is plenty to see along the way.
The canal locks are designed to raise or lower the level of the water in an dark section of the canal, the lock, to allow boats to go to another level of water. Lock gates have to be swung open at one end of the lock to allow the boat to come in. There is just enough room for one narrowboat at a time to enter the locks on this canal. The gates are then closed behind the boat and valves are opened, by manually winding them, at the other end of the lock to allow water to flow in and improve the water in the lock, to the level at the other end. As soon as the water level inside the lock and outside in the canal, are equal, the gates at the forward end can be opened and the boat can proceed on its way.
Independent of the locks, there are some bridges that need to be raised, as well as many over head bridges and three tunnels on the canal. However the highlight of our own journey on the Llangollen Canal was crossing the two aqueducts, near the town of Chirk, that carry the canal high above the surrounding countryside.
The larger of the aqueducts, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, carries the canal 1007 feet (307 meters) across the River Dee pit. It is 126 feet (38 meters) above the river Dee at it’s highest point. A cast iron trough, just wide enough for one boat, holds the water on the aqueduct and there is a narrow walkway beside it. Most amazing is that construction of the aqueduct started in 1795, and completed in 1805. All the work will have to have been carried out yourself – an amazing achievement.
The narrowboats travel at about four miles an hour so there is plenty of time to see and enjoy the passing scenery and wonder about the people who live in the occasional canal-side houses or surrounding farms. If you feel like stretches your legs, you can talk a walk along the path beside the canal, and match the boat.
There is always something to attract your attention in the ever changing scenery. Wildflowers grow profusely along the banks and birds flit by among the bushes and hedges. Famished ducks and stylish swans are always looking for something to eat, and we saw herons, kingfishers, robins, yellow wagtails, and we heard numerous others about the canal. On one occasion we moored near a stylish steam launch whoever passengers were enjoying an outing on the Llangollen Canal.
When it is time for lunch as well as to stop for the night, there is usually a nearby pub where you can enjoy a drink or a satisfying meal, and interesting towns or villages to visit. A favourite memory is of a very pretty small town, Wrenbury, where our visit coincided with it’s brilliant and amusing scarecrow competition. It was here too that, on our return trip, we enjoyed our last night of dinner at the Cotton Arms Hotel, which combines excellent food with friendly service, in common with the other canal side pubs we visited.