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  • Writer's pictureDan Brown

Back on The Canal At Last!

A slight miscalculation heading towards bridge 64 on the Llangollen Canal!

Yesterday, I left the marina at Ellesmere and set out to enjoy a very leisurely cruise around the Llangollen Canal for a couple of months. I don't have any particular plan or desire to be in specific locations at specific times, I am simply going to enjoy being out on a boat and tootling around the almost deserted winter canal as the years' end rolls in.

(This post is from my 2018 Archive!)

Yesterday was a perfect embodiment of this idea, and my good friend (who was onboard for the day) even commented on how amazingly relaxed I was about things compared to my endless worries onboard Narrowboat Tilly in years gone by. We did a bit of shopping in the morning, had no particular time in mind to set out from the marina, and no fixed place that we intended to moor up!

With this aimless trip in mind, we set out and one of the most amusing, fun, chit chat and "banter" filled boat trips that I have ever been on! We ended up mooring at Frankton, by the locks that lead down to the Montgomery Canal... the trip had barely been over three miles long... yet somehow it took us an hour and forty-five minutes!

Being used to travelling so slowly as I am... I often find myself pulling over to let faster boats behind me pass. I decided to put the throttle up to "normal speed" after a while... and we felt as if we were hurtling down the canal, then when we looked at the time and saw we had been averaging about 2 miles an hour, we couldn't believe it!

The wind was a surprising element in the trip too, travelling so slowly, on a boat with a much bigger surface area than Tilly had to catch the wind, put us far more at the mercy of nature! Which resulted in the picture you can see at the top of this post, the bow of The Ark practically touching the only section of the bridge that it should never be... the brick wall part!

It is far less dramatic than the picture may look, we had been blown slightly out of alignment, so rather than risk scraping down the side, we went into reverse to slow the boat, which allowed the wind to completely push us away from the bridge opening, before we reversed back and did it properly!

Once we had moored at Frankton, just off the main line of canal, we spent a bit of time looking at the locks and wandering around before my friend suggested we walk all the way back to Ellesmere for him to catch the bus, rather than risk trying to catch it at an unmarked roadside that was still a mile away! As we left, we took a closer look at a delivery box we had seen left on a picnic table nearby... in the usual rural way, it had been filled with apples that were free for anybody who wanted them, rather than see them go to waste on the ground of somebodies garden!

We then set out on our walk back up the towpath, completing the trip in well under and hour, much faster than the boat trip! By the time we were walking back, even though only after three in the afternoon, there was a strange dark quality to the light, making it feel later. My friend at a random moment also realised that the wind had entirely vanished, giving the immediate countryside a very still, quiet and calm feeling... or as we have always called it "an end of the world feeling"... as if we were the only people left on earth!

The final twist in the tale of the day was my last minute decision to get on the bus with my friend, and take a 10 minute bus trip to get off at a stop further down the canal from Frankton before then walking the mile or so down the towpath back to the boat!.. Before I would then head back down that way an hour later to meet another friend!

All in all, a fantastic first day back out of the marina and on to the canal for winter!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, with this entry I have tried to make a summarised version of tomorrow's "proper boat life video" which will be in the usual place over on YouTube. I am not sure it it works or not, but it may lead to me being able to have multiple blog posts a week on this site... so I will hone my blog writing style and see how it goes!

If you like what I do then please feel free to Subscribe on YouTube and help me out by checking out my short books on amazon, book sales really do go a huge way towards funding the videos! (kindle and paperback... and audio available!)

Until the next time,

Keep it boatworthy,

Keep it interesting,

Have a fantastic day, and farewell!

Dan... onboard Abel's Ark

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