back button June 2010  
 
One of the highlight months travelling along the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union and the Llangollen canals. We travelled the shortest canal - the Wardle at 60 yards - and traversed the Pontcysyllte and Chirk aqueducts. The weather has been lovely and the plants are growing on the roof garden!


 
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  We went on a 19 mile bike ride to Mow Cop where the Baptist Church was founded, Alan Garner's book Red Shift is based there so we wanted to see the folly where four counties meet. This is the view of the end of the cycle ride with the 1 in 3 hill at the top!!!   This is the castle at the top of the hill which was fun to climb round.  
 
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  We had taken a picnic with us so we took off our shoes and relaxed a little, Paul did some sketching and I read.   On the way back we stopped at Sandbach which is a really lovely town, this is the square with 5 pubs round it. We stocked up at a great deli with lovely grub.  
 
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  The main reason to visit Sandbach was to see the lovely Celtic Crosses from the 8th Century. They had really great carvings on them.   We then motored on to Ellesmere, passing a mini lake district. This is Blakes mere which is one of my favorites.  
 
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  We moored up in the mouth of the Ellesmere arm and spent a few days watching Holiday Boats crash and bang around trying to negotiate the bend and water point. We only got hit once but had lots of near misses.   This is the Ellesmere basin which has old cranes and warehouses around it. It is being renovated to flats as per usual, but is a nice area.  
 
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  This is the start of the Chirk Aqueduct which has a very impressive viaduct next to it so you get trains and narrowboats.   When we travel we get great views from the hatch in the galley.  
 
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  We saw a horse drawn boat at the end of the Llangollen canal, it was lovely to see it plodding along and also very quiet.   This is the horse being led towing the boat, they stop at Horseshoe falls where the canal is fed from the River Dee.  
 
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  These are Horseshoe Falls where we sat and munched biscuits and watched the locals taking out their inflatable boats. This was a 13 mile cycle ride from where we moored up in Trevor.   The falls are just past the town of Llangollen which, guess what, has a steam railway!  
 
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  We have also noticed that finally the fields are starting to turn brown, it will be harvest soon.   This area is a big salt mining region and this is a salt factory with a huge white pile of salt under it.  
 
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  We saw this traditional working boat pair moored up at the pub in Barbridge - well I guess workmen never change!   This is our view from our mooring on the Whitchurch Arm, the society are working to restore these cottages and extend the arm nearer to the town.  
 
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  While moored at Whitchurch we had a visit from this rather lovely cat, she popped in one morning and evening to inspect the boat and keep the skipper amused.   I have also had my first 'big catch' of the trip, from the size of this fish you can see that landing it was a bit of a struggle.  
 
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  The river Weaver is nice and broad and has some great bridges over it. It was nice sailing with lots of birds and fish.   We moored up for two nights at Northwich which was a nice town with a few shops and a museum. This is just above our mooring at the town swing bridge.  
 
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  This is our first big lock called Hearts Lock, the lock keepers were very chatty and welcoming.   Once in you have to get tied up quickly and there is not much keeping you in place!  
 
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  Vale Royal Lock will probably be the biggest lock we do, taking 19 boats when full.   It even has a swing bridge in the lock that has to be moved for us to get out!  
 
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  At the top of the Weaver canalised section there is a big lake area called a flash. This is beyond the British Waterways navigation area so we just tiptoed on and off again quick.   This is a big salt mining area and this is the only rock salt mine left in the UK. It supplies ALL of the UK's road salt so when you are next behind a gritter think of this.  
 
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  We had a quick dash back to Northwich to wait for the lift, trying to keep ahead of the competition.