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To risk is to live!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Crossing the Void

Somebody commented yesterday that I don't update my blog often enough. With the risk of sounding terribly smug - I am too busy living life to write about it!

Having said that, I just had to write about my terrifying day yesterday. I travelled from the New Marton Locks, through The Chirk Tunnel (I hate being underground), to Trevor via the World Heritage Site - Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Here it is...

As you can see from the first picture, there is only a 12 inch lip above the water level, so standing on the counter (back of the boat) is like standing in mid air! here is Bonny looking in horror - quietest she has ever been on the boat...
A few facts - it runs 126 feet above the River Dee and is 1007 feet long. It is a cast iron trough laid along the top of a row of stone pillars and Thomas Telford is credited with building it. It opened in 1805 and cost £47,018. Crossing it was undoubtedly one of the most frightening, exhilerating moments of my life!

I also got a taste of what it is like to be a celebrity. It was a Sunday when I crossed and so plenty of people were walking across the aqueduct. Almost everybody aimed their cameras at me as I passed and most of them were laughing. I can only imagine that it was the contrast of my boat being called 'Don't Panic' with the look of sheer terror on my face as I kept a death grip on my tiller whilst the boat kept bumping gently against the side with no rails!

I am now moored in Trevor - which sounds a touch odd but it is the name of the village alongside Pontcysyllte. There are still four and a half miles to go to Llangollen and the end of the canal, but I decided to walk it this morning rather than take the boat up. Partly I was wimping out as it is a very narrow and shallow passage with notices saying 'send a crew member ahead to check if it is clear as there are no passing places' - damn I should have taught Bonny to speak - oh - and to return to me! Also it costs £6 per night to moor up there and I'm too mean to pay. Lastly I haven't really done the tourist thing yet, so Bonny and I set off this morning on foot, in a light drizzle, heading for Llangollen.

It is a tremendous walk, made even more pleasant by an excellent towpath - paved all the way so you could even take a wheelchair into the mountains! It is also lovely to see the valleys and cliffs while walking on the level! It rained most of the way there but it didn't dim our pleasure - especially for Bonny as the squirrels were throwing themselves out of the trees at her! We had walked 5 miles or so by the time we had a look round the village so we took a bus back to Trevor. That was another fairly terrifying experience. The young man drove as if he was at Le Mans and having not travelled at more than 4 mph in over a month, I was fairly convinced we were about to die. Add to that Bonny's fear as it was her first ever bus ride and we were ready to kiss the ground when we screeched to a halt in Trevor!

I rewarded myself with a bacon butty and a sit down to update this blog. We are moored at the dead end bit of the canal basin which means no boats passing and blessed quiet. There is even a little park outside my boat with benches. I spent a pleasant afternoon yesterday chatting to an elderly lady who passed by with her poodle and stayed for a cuppa - that is such a lovely part of a boaters life!


Lynda Alsford said...

Oh my word!!! Promise me you will never take me on that aqueduct! Sounds terrifying! The picture of the narrow lip above the water made my heart almost stop! Well done for doing that!

Marian and Roger said...

We've only just discovered your blog.

We're the previous owners of Don't Panic!

Slightly nervous about posting in view of your early experience
with her (the boiler especially.

We have to admit that was a bit of a black art).

Just to say that your blog is fascinating,
not just because of our time with Don't Panic

Which was wonderful by the way.

We think you're courageous and send you our best wishes!

We'll follow your blog from now on. Marian and Roger

Mandy Wright said...

Marian and Roger - how fantastic to make contact. No worries about the boat - she is wonderful and I am still using all the guides etc you left on board!
I don't know how to pass my email to you without announcing it to the whole world but I'd love to keep in contact.
1 question - why the latin quote and what does it mean to you?
I do hope you pick up this comment - just in case not I'll do a posting to you!

Lynda Alsford said...

Hi Mandy

If Marion and Roger want to stay in touch with you, feel free to point them to my website, where they could email me via the contact form and I will forward it to you. Emailing me via the website doesn't give them my email address and I am in still in control of who gets it!

Lynda Alsford said...

Google have changed things I have just realised. Clicking on my name in a comment used to get you straight to my website. Now it takes you to my google+ site, and I've not worked out how to change that yet. In the meantime my website is www.lyndaalsford.com