Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Mills to Llangollen in a sinking boat, and how Jim MacBeam was invented.

In 1994, in freezing cold weather we took a sinking hire boat from the peak district to Llangollen with our friend Phil. The boat was from Anglo Welsh and we journeyed from New Mills on the Upper Peak Forest Canal, all the way down the Macclesfield canal then down all the 29? locks on Heartbreak Hill to Middlewhich, then across to the Shroppie and up the whole length Llangollen canal. All in six freezing, and sometimes wet, days. To keep costs down we always hired at Easter and just endured the bad weather.

The boat "Silver Cloud" had a leak in the hull and we needed to run the bilge pump for long periods several times a day (and at night) to keep her afloat, and to keep the carpets dry! Here is Phil complete with red nose steering us across the Pontcysyllte aqueduct in a howling gale. Nevertheless the sun was shining and so we got the wonderful shadows.
That night it snowed.

The previous year we cruised the South Oxford Canal with Phil, and again the weather was awful. I think it rained 23 hours a day. It was on that holiday that we concocted the Jim MacBeam, a whisky mac using Jim Beam Bourbon instead of scotch. A couple of those before going in search of pubs with log fires were instrumental in keeping our spirits up.

So it is with some trepidation that we look forward to Phil and wife Janet joining us next weekend for a trip down to Limehouse and back. After several beautiful weekends recently, the forecast doesn't look at all good. Perhaps Phil's middle name is Jonah.

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