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 Wolf 4 - 9 August 2013

Terry, John and I have been taking an annual 'three men in a boat' trip on John's boat Wolf since 2007. [I think]. This year's trip started as usual at Henhull, near Nantwich and the plan was to head up the Langollen canal to its start in Llangollen.

As this meant 21 locks, 46 miles, 2 trough aqueducts, 10 lift bridges and 3 tunnels, all to be done twice at a busy time of year, we knew that this would involve some long days if we were to accomplish it in the time we had available, Sunday - Friday.

There is no shortage of websites with information about LLangollen and the Llangollen canal. Links to some of them are below as well as embedded in the text.

 Wiki entry, about Llangollen.
 Llangollen website.
 North Wales Border lands, about the area.
 Wiki entry, about the Llangollen canal.
 Canal and River Trust, about the Llangollen canal.
 Pontcysyllte aqueduct, about the aqueduct.
 Canal Junction, about the Llangollen canal.
 Canal Plan, about the Llangollen canal.
 Jim Shead, about the Llangollen canal.

Sunday 4 August

A short day as it included the car journey from the South.

Wolf at the Henhull water point




Day 1: 7 miles 9 locks 16 lockmiles

We spent our first night moored just below the lift bridge at Wrenbury. It may be a co-incidence that Wenbury is also home to two pubs, The Dusty Miller and the Cotton Arms. We sampled both. Our lament for this whole trip has been about the demise of the pub. Some gone for ever as private houses and those that are left converted to eating establishments of very variable quality. There were very few places where one could settle into a comfortable pint or two and feel welcome.

The Dusty Miller is smart and serves food. The beer was good but the whole place set up for serving food. We sat at a table by the bar which was a bit cramped and not inducive to more than one pint. We had a pint of Robinson's, the taste of Cheshire for Terry and I as both our local pubs near Whitegate were Robinson pubs. We moved on to the Cotton Arms which was much more of a pub but was still segregated by dining tables. The beer here was good too so we finished off the evening before returning to Wolf for Pam's excellent potato bake left warming in the oven to await our return.

Monday 5 August

Grindley Brook Bridge

Grindley Brook Staircase Locks No 17 to 19







Summer rain making Wolf's roof appear glossy at Morris Lift Bridge 45

Day 2: 19miles 10locks 29lockmiles

Moored at the end of the Ellesmere branch and went in search of beer before our evening meal on-board.
Settled on the Black Lion Hotel. A nice pint of Marston's but not a drinkers pub.


But we did have a few laughs

Then home for a warm chillie

Tuesday 6 August

At the junction with the Ellesmere branch after our overnight stop in Ellesmere basin

Terry on his way to organise a few people at New Marton Top Lock No 2

Tom and Pat arrive at the Poacher's Pocket by Gledrid Bridge No 19, armed with champagne



Pleased to see the attention to detail in the stop plank store, oak frame and softwood roof


Chirk aqueduct and railway bridge


Entrance to Chirk tunnel





The great Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, my first time across it by boat


Moored in the terminal marina at Llangollen

Day 3: 20miles 2locks 22lockmiles

By now we were ready for a meal out and as it was getting close to 2100 we were a bit anxious as to what we might find open. John had been recommended a place 'on the right after you cross the bridge'. This took us round a bit until we found the Corn Mill. This turned out to be excellent for our purposes, a place to drink and eat. We were all a bit too weary to stand at the bar, but we could have done! So settled round a table, drank our beer and ate a good pub meal.

Wednesday 7 August

We head for home and even slow for moored houses

Across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct again

No Rubbish

Chirk tunnel again

True optimism, the stairs re-built with the worn stair treads turned over

Dutiful Ducks

Windlass with long and short arms


Day 4: 20miles 2locks 22lockmiles

Back in Ellesmere basin on what we thought was the last mooring before the winding hole but found another boat moored beyond us when we got back from the pub.

The pub suited us best of the whole trip, The White Hart on Birch Road. There was a proper tap room where we settled into a very well kept and delicious pint [or two] of Shropshire Gold from the Salopian brewery.

Returned to Wolf for the lamb's liver that Pat had brought us. Just gently warmed up on top of a bed of fried bacon, mushrooms and onions with broad beans from the allotment and more bacon.

Thursday 8 August

Blake Mere

A worryingly organised and tidy wood pile

Tilstock Park Lift Bridge No 42

Old Man's Bridge 38

We had been full of apprehension about approaching this bridge but our fear was un-necessary. We were rather pleased to see that it had been fitted with a little old man sticking plaster to stop the new mortar from drying out too quickly. We see lots of evidence of old man thinking on the cut and I've gathered together a few examples from this trip on the Little Old Man Weekly page.

Starting the descent of the Grindley Brook Staircase Locks No 17 to 19




Quoisley lock 11

Day 5: 19miles 10locks 29lockmiles

We moored up above Marbury Lock number 10 to walk into Marbury village and have a meal at the Swan Inn which John had found to be very good the last time he was there. The village, with views of the mere from the churchyard is very pretty, the pub struggling under new management.

On our walk to the pub, saw the local badgers attempt to block the road


Friday 9 August

Lift Bridge at Wrenbury


Back to Henhull

Day 6: 6miles 9locks 15lockmiles