Monday 6 June 2022

Prees Branch

 Today's Canal - Llangollen (inc Prees Branch)

Yesterday's rain continued for most of the night, there was even a short shower just after we awoke. However, today was dry even though it remained resolutely grey. It was also decidedly chilly for 'flaming June'.

As we were in no hurry and wanting to allow time for boats to have left some spaces on the Ellesmere Arm, we delayed leaving until just after 10. We arrived at the service block with quite a queue so we continued onto the arm where we were pleasantly surprised that there was plenty of space. During the morning there was plenty of coming and going but always enough room to accommodate those seeking it.

We walked into town with a very specific agenda - to pick up pork pies from the butcher and some bread and  cake from then deli next door. We had quite a conversation with the butcher about his pies. Turns out that they have been making them to sell for only six weeks. A newish member of staff who has worked in other butcher's shops is quite an expert and determined to make them 'properly', no cutting corners like some people do!

Back at the wharf, Mike took the supplies back to the boat whilst Christine made a start on her shopping list at tesco. It was almost 12:30 by the time we had completed the shop, returned to the boat and stowed away. As our next target was to call at the service wharf only about 100m away we opted to have lunch first.

Lunch (including a piece of pork pie) over we took the boat to the end of the arm so that we could turn around. We had a little bit of a wait whilst a long hire boat crew discovered that it is not quite as easy as it might sometimes seem - but they made it in the end.

By now the service mooring was entirely empty and we completed the usual round quite efficiently.

As we set off properly for the afternoon cruise we immediately passed the original office building that we noted on the way here. Today there was evidence of work in  progress even if most of it was hidden behind the hedge.

If you have followed our journey thus far you may recall that on the section just before Ellesmere, Mike was trying to fix a fault with his CanalMap software that he had introduced when adding a new feature. Although it has been behaving itself since the error was found, there has not been an opportunity to test out the new feature, which recognises entry and exit from tunnels. The short Ellesmere Tunnel provided just the chance that was wanted and fortunately it worked properly this time. It is good to be able to report that we actually did leave the tunnel, around two minutes after we entered it!

For some distance after leaving Ellesmere the canal runs close to various meres and the sides are tree-lined and, at the moment after the rain, very green indeed.

We passed one isolated cottage which had this sign to commemorate someone - perhaps a former owner.

It seemed unfortunate that just a few metres away is this . . . 

The only water point between Ellesmere and Grindley Brook is at Bettisfield. The mooring is undergoing considerable renovation including new piling but in the meantime it is a bit awkward for a boat wishing to fill its water tank. Just before we passed Mal Edwards MBE (fender maker) who seemed in good form.

We tried to visit the new dinosaur tower feature on Whixall Moss but ala there is No Mooring all along that stretch. The nearby visitor mooring, which we might have taken, is only one boat capacity and that was already taken.

In any event, our intention had been to aim for the mooring just down the Prees Branch - this entailed passing through the first of the two lift bridges. This one was much more civilised at an easy 32 turns to raise. The mooring here is rather longer with room for at least three boats, only has passing traffic from the marina at the end of the branch and, somewhat to our surprise, also has an internet signal!

8.3 Miles - 0 Locks 

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