Saturday, August 16, 2008

A free narrowboat flight

We're just back from our annual camping trip to Shropshire which I suppose I might say was pleasant but fairly moist.

As well as stirring walks on the Long Mynd (can you spot Jacob?),
we couldn't resist a bit of canal spotting and we took a trip out to revisit the aqueducts at Chirk and Pontcysyllte.

The Chirk aqueduct is somewhat overshadowed in reputation by the mighty (and 50 ft higher) Pontcysyllte but in some ways I like it better. Its proximity to the adjacent railway viaduct lends it a feeling of solidity, and of course you get the extra bonus of a 500yd canal tunnel immediately after crossing the aqueduct. What more could you want?

Pontcysyllte is only a few minutes away by car. We parked up and strolled over, somewhat nervously clutching the handrail on the towpath side and peering over the 120 foot drop. Reaching the other side, we were surprised to see a familiar boat just about to do the crossing. It was Floss, who moors at our base in Iver. What are the odds against that I wonder?

Kath lost no time in chatting them up for a ride (thanks guys) and so we sat in Floss's fore deck as she flew (or so it felt) over the valley below. If you've never been across this aqueduct, its hard to imagine. When the boat leaves the hillside it seems to launch itself into the air. There is not rail or safety guard on the non towpath side so from the gunwales upward there's nothing between you and the drop.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Co-incidentally, Sally and I walked over that aquaduct today, on the way home from visiting some friends in Wales. Not one for people who get vertigo!