Llangollen & Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.
We boarded the Wicksons coach in torrential rain on Sunday 29th April 2012 at 08-40. After a couple more pickups we arrived at Llangollen at 11-00 am.
With 3 hours free time in Llangollen and still suffering heavy rain we found a cafe for a cuppa and a bacon sandwich.
Leaving the cafe, the walk to the Llangollen Heritage Steam Railway, was abandoned after a few minutes, due to the extreme weather conditions. Finding another cafe, we sat nursing more cups of tea, until returning to the coach at 1-30 pm, ready for our departure to Pontcysyllte at 2-00 pm.
At Pontcysyllte wharf, we boarded the narrow boat Thomas Telford, for the 2 hour cruise along the Llangollen canal.
After the compulsory safety talk we cast of at 2-30 pm along the waterway towards Llangollen.
The Highlight of the trip came after a few minutes, when the Thomas Telford crossed over the Pontcysyllte aqueduct, which is the longest, and highest one in Britain.
Built by Thomas Telford & William Jessop the 307 metre long construction crosses the Dee Valley at a height of 38 Metres, joining Pontcysyllte with Trevor. Now a grade one listed building, the construction was opened on 26th November 1805, having taken ten years to design and build.
Supported by 19 masonry pillars a number of cast iron troughs bolted together, hold the water at a depth of 1.6 Metres.
The overall width of this waterway is only 3.4 Metres wide, which includes the narrow towpath on one side only.
The other side is a sheer drop to the valley below.
Mid point on the crossing, the waterway crosses over the River Dee far below, fast flowing due to the heavy rain.
A commentary by the skipper keeps the passengers informed of the various items of interest along the route, whilst they can enjoy refreshments from the galley.
A little way past the aqueduct the canal reaches a Marina for boat hire.
And turns sharp left to follow the Dee valley to Llangollen.
Just before the journey’s end the canal passes through a section known as the narrows where the waterway was cut through solid slate.
The end of the pleasant and informative two-hour cruise, was at Llangollen Wharf.
High above the town of Llangollen.
We looked down onto the Llangollen Steam Railway and the fast flowing waters of the River Dee.
An old hand-operated crane was situated on the towpath.
From Llangollen Wharf, open type horse-drawn narrow boats operate trips down the canal, to Horseshoe Falls.
Due to the atrocious weather conditions, the service was not operating on that day, so giving the horses a day of rest.
Another cup of tea, and a final look at the canal whilst we waited for the coach to gingerly make its way up the narrow hill road to the wharf.
We then boarded the coach for our homeward journey, still in pouring rain.
Although it did not stop raining at all during the day, we enjoyed the experience of crossing over the famous Welsh land mark. Wicksons are repeating the day trip on Monday August 20th, hopefully in better weather.