After our visit to Whitchurch is wasn't very far to out next stop, but passing through some lovely countryside. And to top it all the weather continued magnificent.
This is something you have to be prepared for on the the Llangollen Canal, sitting behind another boat not travelling at your preferred speed. It can become very tedious, especially if it is chucking it down with rain, or freezing cold, but with the warm sun and beautiful countryside it was not so bad.
Our next stop was Ellesmere, and as the name may suggest there are several meres in its vicinity. Nine to be exact. You first past Cole Mere, the only one you can walk right round, and a boat club venue in the summer, then comes Blake Mere (once called Black Mere), that has a good reputation for fishing. It is always tempting to moor here overlooking the water but we like to be in the sun for the panels. However we resisted the shade on this hot day and continued onwards. The meres were created at the end of the last Ice Age when the excess water gathered.
Ellesmere Tunnel adds further interest to the trip and we were lucky as we didn't have to wait for on coming traffic through the one way working tunnel.
We found a spot on the dusty moorings on the mainline, before the junction. Good job we didn't carry on expecting to find a berth down the arm, as there was no room. Once tied up we went for a walk into Ellesmere. In 1792 the Ellesmere Hotel was called the Royal Oak and it was here you could say that the Llangollen Canal really started. On 10th September 1792 at this place the fledgling Canal Company opened its books for investors at 12 noon. By dark over £1 million had been pledged that meant that the dream started to become a reality. I'm so glad that they managed to get it all as far as they did.
I'm not sure who owns the warehouse at the end of the Ellesmere Arm but it seems to get in worse repair each time we pass this way. With a load of house being built in the field behind some use should be found for it to ensure its survival.
We also had a walk past the Mere that is the largest of the meres in the area and has been awarded a Green Flag. It is lovely to promenade around its edge and with a cafe and restaurant there is time to pause and sit too. Apparently it is 19 metres deep.
The Old Town Hall in Ellesmere was given by the Duchess of Bridgewater in the 1830's. Due to the marshy land it had to be built on 30' long wooden piles. The ground floor was the market until another building was constructed. The Assembly Room above was also used as a Mechanics' Institute, a museum and a cinema before the Council gave it up in 1966. Just to the right you can see a wooden door and I spotted a sign to a pub called the Vaults and decided to investigate, as it sounded a perfect place on such a warm day.
As the name implies the micro pub is in the undercroft of the Town Hall Building and has no windows other than in a small courtyard at the rear where the loos and a small seating area are found. The lack of windows does not detract however as the warm brick colours and lighting are engaging. On a warm day the place was cool, and the Land Lady, Tracy Brown, assured me that it tookm little heating in the winter due to it being underground and brick being a good insulator. The Micro Pub has been opened at weekends at least from about September 2017 and with partly secluded seating areas it is a great venue. Apparently it had been the store room for the building, a chapel and a store for coffins too. The Micro Pub managed to win the Shropshire pub of the year in November so they must be doing something right. The pubs pricing policy is that all the beers are £3 a pint. Some may lose them money and some gain, but everybody knows where they are with single point pricing.
Chapel Brewery is a micro brewery with a 1 barrel plant that was set up by Ken King after 30 years of home brewing. When he retired as a music teacher in around 2013 he decided to pursue his hobby and set up a mirco brewery in some redundant farm buildings near Ellesmere. He sells mainly to places less than 25 miles away, so qualifying for Locale status in the pubs. In November 2018 Chapel Brrewery's Incarnation won the People's Choice of beer at the Shrewsbury Beer Festival. I tried a pint of the Crypt, 4.2%. It was very hoppy but had a little soapy taste at the end. I also tried a pint of an Amber Ale, 3.8% that I have forgotten the name of that had a nice sweet after taste but was a little 'thin' for me with little head on it. I look forward to trying more of their beers to find the right one for me. I will return to this pub, and indeed we did on our way back down from Llangollen.
Well that is the last blog for 2018. We didn't seem to be away on 'Holderness' as long as previously, and I don't feel that we did the miles etc of previous years. How ever I will be summarizing last years statistics as well as the usualy breakdown of costs etc. That should be interesting, especially for me!
I would like to thank the people who have visited this site over 32000 times this year. I hope you will stay with me. I wish you all the very best that you could wish for, for you and your family.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL