Where were we before we were so rudely interrupted by the awful business of how much our boating costs!! Oh yes, we were up the beautiful Llangollen Canal.
We left Chirk and were soon joined a a paassenger who stayed with us for about 15 mins before getting off at her stop!
The canal was getting more and more crowded as lots of canoeists were getting mixed up with narrow boats and cruisers that were becoming bunched up due to the lift bridge at Fron and the one way traffic across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. We finally made our way across at creeping speed.
Despite the weather there seemed to be plenty of water in the River Dee below us.
Once over the aqueduct the canal narrows even more. Mainly as this was never designed to be a canal, but just a feeder from the River Dee. The canal route should have continued north to Chester and the Mersey, but money ran out.
The weather was so warm that the sheep were finding places for a bit of shade.
As a feeder it did not require to be wide enough for two boats to pass, and when it was widened later there are several places where this was not cheaply possible due to rock outcrops, as here. The result is a couple of places where you have to step off and ensure there is nobody coming before you set off. This can take a little negotiating and reasonable behaviour as there may be queues of boats in both directions and with out a little give and take it can get fractious.
NO, I wasn't towing the cruiser!
As you approach Llangollen there are a long line of moorings on the tow path. This further narrows the canal and makes life interesting trying to pass other moving boats without collisions. After the station there are no moorings as there is a regular horse drawn trip boat that takes passengers to the Horseshoe Falls, where the water for the canal is taken from the River Dee. Well worth the stroll down, or the ride.
A little further and there is a little basin with plenty of pontoon mooring and electricity. Even when there are no spaces on the tow path before the station you can find space here. We much prefer the basin as there is sun, rather than under trees. It is a little further to walk but after all the effort of locking up here you wouldn't have thought it would worry folk.
We didn't venture out to many pubs during our stay but we did stop here at the Bridge End Hotel. The bridge crosses the Dee right in front of the hotel. The original bridge was built in 1345 by Bishop Trevor and was later widened in the 16th Century and again in the 20th Century. The Hotel was probably built at the same time that the railway arrived in Llangollen, in 1860's. I served as the railway hotel and still must do a good trade from those visiting the reinstated railway. It is minutes from the moorings on the canal too, down a steep set of steps by the horse boat cafe. It has a public bar with TV screens and then at the other end of the building is the dining room/lounge area.
They had a couple of hand pulls on the bar and one was from the Big Hand Brewing Company. This was a company set up in 2012 by and Uncle and nephew in Wrexham. Neither had experience of brewing at that time and both gave up 'normal' careers in construction and engineering and teaching to start up the business. They started in March 2013 with a 10 bbl plant and have already won several Regional SIBA awards.
I had a pint of their Super Tidy IPA, 4%. It poured a nice bright gold with a very white thick head. The brewery guff describe it as having soft, sweet lemon and hop aromas, and there are but hardly traceable. On the warm day of walking all over it was a very welcome pint of a British IPA. This would make a great session ale as it is a decent pint, but nothing outstanding.