1 Mile of Mid October Summer! (Culvert Capers!)
Today has been the second of two amazing bright, warm and sunny days... this wouldn't be notable if it were not for the fact that it is mid October... AND only four days ago I awoke to find ice on the roof and the coldest morning of the season so far!
(This Post is Originally from 2018, but I quite like it as a simple memory of another great day of tinkering on the canal)
Yesterday, a friend and I revisited some of our regular local walking routes from when I lived in Oswestry (a whole six months ago!), which will feature in a little bonus post on here soon.
Today I kept it boatworthy instead! As soon as I opened my eyes this morning the sun was almost offensively bright as it streamed in through the windows so I thought I would take a few short trips out and about to break up a day of working on my next book.
One of my destinations was only about a mile or so down the towpath, but it was a curious place that I hadn't had a proper look at for a while. A culvert beneath the canal.
As you can probably tell from the pictures in this post, when I say it was a hot sunny day, I mean it was literally like a day from mid summer... I even went out with bare arms and took my shirt off once I was back on the boat... scandalous! In all seriousness though, something as simple as walking around a few bends of canal really illustrates what I like about the Llangollen Canal (and many of the canals in the UK), it is all just great countryside!
I have mentioned in my videos and posts in the past that Ellesmere, only a small town itself, is the only "urban" area for dozens of miles of canal that actually properly sits next to the canal, with a supermarket located right at the end of a short branch of canal at Ellesmere Basin. Yet despite this, as soon as you have been walking for more than 3 minutes you could often feel like the only person left on earth!
The above picture shows a gateway into a field that leads right off from the towpath. If the canal is not rural enough for you, or you want to almost guarantee that you don't see another person on your walk by cutting out the Ellesmere Basin area, then this will lead you back to Ellesmere via a few fields and a very small hill.
In years gone by when I lived on Narrowboat Tilly and was in a rush to walk up to Ellesmere (for a bus, etc) I would often cut across the fields rather than risk missing my bus if somebody recognised me from YouTube while I charged down the towpath! It may seem comical or even big headed, but that has literally happened on a couple of occasions!
Anyway, walking further along the towpath from the gateway a rambler would soon find a seemingly uninteresting set of steps that at first glance either lead to some kind of maintenance area or simply down to a farmer's field. I must have walked past it dozens of times before I was curious enough to actually follow the steps down and have a nose around!
Following the wooden steps down you soon discover a fascinating (in my opinion) reminder of just how much work and thought had to go into the construction of the canals, beyond simply creating a regulated body of water that boats could travel uphill on!
The steps lead to a substantial culvert that guides a stream beneath the canal. The canal at this point is directly overhead, on an "aqueduct" that you would never know you were on... don't pick me up on whether this is technically true or not, you know what I am trying to say!
This is a serious tunnel! Well over head height, and with at least enough room for three people to walk side by side, although I wouldn't recommend it! It fascinates me that something so substantial is hidden down a single flight of steps which thousands of people will walk, cycle and boat past every year, never knowing that there is a stream running below their feet.
Something that is even more amazing ids the fact that there are more examples of this kind of thing even in the surrounding area, maybe not as impressive as this brickwork tunnel, but streams and brooks criss cross the countryside with impunity in this area! Roads, railways and canals are tunnelled beneath, or sometimes simply forded, and the tiniest of stream continues its bubbling flow to join a greater watercourse somewhere in the distance!
...and that is really all I wanted to talk about today! I hope you enjoyed the pictures of what might be the last proper sunny day for a while!
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Until the next time,
Keep it boatworthy,
Keep it interesting,
Have a fantastic day, and farewell!
Dan... onboard Abel's Ark