United Kingdom

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  • Day97

    Chirk Castle Gardens

    August 6, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    The gardens were neglected during World War II. They were revived almost single-handedly by Lady Margaret Myddelton, who moved in with her husband after the war.

    There is a beauty around every corner of the garden!Read more

    Donna Vig


  • Day113

    Day 113: Liverpool via Pontcysyllte

    June 8, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Time to leave Wales, after a great 10 days or so travelling through. We've both really enjoyed our time here, and it's got a lot more variation than I think either of us were expecting. Good history, great beaches, friendly people, and of course the green hills, sheep and rain that you'd expect!

    Had a host-provided breakfast and another chat before heading off around 11am, a bit later than planned! Still quite stiff and sore as you'd imagine from our exertions the previous day. Today's mission was driving to Liverpool, via a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Pontcysyllte Aqueduct & Canal.

    First stop though was Betswy-y-Coed, a pretty little village town surrounded by mountains and rivers. We parked up and had a quick look around, but it was raining pretty steadily and didn't feel much like exploring. Instead we popped into one of the many many outdoor gear shops in town, where I bought some new hiking shoes and a rain jacket. Figured that travelling into northern England, Scotland and Ireland, I was definitely going to need both!

    Back in the car, where the 90 minute drive passed fairly uneventfully, though it was raining fairly heavily in places and we weren't feeling super enthused. Pontcysyllte (pronounced pont-ke-shith-te) is a large aqueduct built entirely of cast iron and wrought iron, the largest in the world. It was built as part of a larger system of canals and aqueducts to ship heavy goods like coal, copper and tin from the mines in Wales to the dockyards in Liverpool and Manchester.

    Unfortunately, despite the incredible engineering involving in getting parts of it built, it was about 40 years too late as the expanding railway network sounded the death knell for canal transport.

    Nowadays you can take a tourist boat across the aqueduct (which is impressive, at several hundred metres long and about 40 metres high), but we declined due to the rain. Did some filming, but neither of us were overly impressed with the site itself. Painfully descended a walking track down to the river level for a good view of the aqueduct, but the viewing trail was closed off for health & safety reasons (there was a guy doing gardening). This country is ridiculous sometimes, they close off an entire walking track because of one guy with a wheelbarrow.

    Back to the car, where we drove another couple of hours north-east into Liverpool. Made a couple of wrong turns but eventually found our accommodation, a spare room in a large terrace house with a couple our age. Had a good chat with them about the election taking place today, before we headed out to walk Schnitzel at a nearby park.

    He had a great run around on the grass, and we then went to a nearby pub our hosts had recommended. It was sadly a bit of a let-down, since the kitchen closed at 7:30 (!!!) and we had to make do with cold meat platters. And there was a guy playing piano and singing, which was fine except Schnitzel HATES rounds of applause, so at the end of every song he'd bark his head off. Oh well.

    Walked back home and made a slight detour to George Harrison's childhood home, in the block behind our house. Very disappointing, not even a plaque or a sign! Just a normal house in a normal street. Oh well. Back home and off to bed, looking forward to exploring the city tomorrow.
    Read more

    Trish Forrester

    I'm glad you gave the pronunciation of Pont.... I struggled with it several times before giving up!

  • Day20

    Back to Chirk

    September 5, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Leaving Llangollen this morning the sky is looking a bit greyer than yesterday. The neighbours were heading off early so they would get a clear run down the narrow sections, and when we heard them go we thought we may as well follow. Turns out quite a few people had this same idea and the one way section had more of a holdup than yesterday at lunchtime. Never mind it didn't take long and we had a nice run down to Trevor.

    We pulled up at Trevor and walked across the aqueduct, till almost halfway (ok well maybe I only made it a little way) man it's high and even where there's a railing the gaps are huge.

    Another eerie, foggy ride across the aqueduct, and on then down to Chirk! We parked were we hoped was the closest place to the Castle. We've been in the Uk for three weeks and haven't seen a castle yet. We have seen them just haven't visited one. Had a toss up whether to get the bikes off or just walk. Seemed like it would all be uphill, cause nobody builds castles in the valley do they? So we opted to walk.

    Found the gates ok and then followed where we thought the signs pointed, after a little way, no more signs and we weren't sure if we were on the right track or not. We flagged down a Jag going past, who just waved and keep going, Arsehole!

    The next car a cute little convertible Merc, pulled up for us and yes we were on the right track and would we like a lift. You bet we would, lovely man! Thank goodness, it was still a fair way up to the castle.

    We saw the Jag guy when we got there and Graham made himself know to him. Told him we were only after directions. Ha ha he kept trying to talk to us every time we ran into him.

    Our national trust membership got us free entry, Yah. this castle is 700 years old and what a beauty it is. They had all the staterooms open and volunteers in all the rooms to give you a bit of information, or answer any questions. It was amazing and we throughly enjoyed it, the staterooms, the tower, the dungeon and the gardens.

    We spend about three hours there, which is well above our usual attention span! We'd lost our friendly driver though so had to figure out how to walk back to the boat. Getting direction from one of the gardeners, it seemed like we could walk straight down the hill to town. Wasn't quite that simple, but certainly quicker then following the road!
    Read more

  • Day97

    Chirk Castle, Wales

    August 6, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 64 °F

    Built in 1295 when this area belonged to England, it was a defense against Welsh invasion. Now it belongs to Wales since the border changed. Chirk Castle is remarkable for having been lived in for over 700 years. The current owners use it as a holiday residence, but the public rooms are available to visit.

    On display in the Cromwell Room are some really old weapons from the English Civil War (1642-51). The last picture is a plaster frieze from the same period, making it the oldest interior decoration in the castle.
    Read more

  • Day97

    More Castle Rooms

    August 6, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    The library contains so many old books, including a Bible in Welsh. The owners didn't just collect books, they read them!

    The Long Gallery contains the fantastic King's Cabinet, given by Charles II to Thomas Myddleton for his loyalty. The bedroom is called the King's bedroom, but it is doubtful that he slept in it, as it was on the side of the castle that was receiving battle strikes at the time!Read more

  • Day108

    On the way to Cardiff

    August 1, 2016 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    We are back tracking slightly today on our way to Cardiff. The scenery is very reminiscent of new Zealand in many ways. Sheep, fields and green. Trees line the roadways though and you are often driving through their darkening shelter. The roads wind their way through countryside interspersed with homes. The odd village is passed by. We stopped for morning tea at a little village off the tourist track called Builyth Wells. Quaint with narrow streets, and shops right on the pavement. Very few of the shops have awnings or similar shelter from showers. Found a lovely tea place and got myself "cream tea" which is clotted cream with jam, butter and sugar served on lovely plate and china tea pot. People seem so friendly and helpful.Read more

  • Day7

    Day 4 and our slow return home

    May 9, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 7 °C

    Last actual day on the barge, need to get back to Pontcysylte Aqueduct, will need to queue up for our turn and return the barge in top condition by 9:0 am.

    This is a particularly memorable day as I spontaneously booked my ticket (2nd row) to the Dara O'Brien comedy show in Malta!!!

    Just before we got to our mooring spot I got to raise and lower a bridge for the first time, it's the little things that make me smile :)

    We stopped just outside the Aqueduct and walked across to the pub for some dinner, last of the pub foods... Oh they will be missed
    Read more

  • Day7

    Last of the Locks

    April 13, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    Another later start this morning, we were ready to cast off around 10:30 but a sudden rush of traffic meant we were delayed a little from moving off. This was not a problem as we had made sure we had plenty of time to cover the remaining distance on our last full day. Andrew spent quite a while driving at tick-over to build a gap to the boat in front.

    After the junction for the Montgomery Canal we paused for lunch to give us energy for the two remaining locks a little further on. After lunch we dealt with these locks like a well oiled machine. We targeted Chirk Bank for our final mooring but a combination of road noise, pubs and other boats meant we pressed on. So we crossed Chirk Aqueduct back into Wales, Andrew on the boat and Sarah on foot, and then bumped and scraped the 459 yards through Chirk Tunnel (with Sarah back on board). There is a 2mph flow on the Llangollen Canal; when travelling through constrictions such as bridges, aqueducts and tunnels this flow slows the boat considerably and makes steering very difficult.

    Our next choice of mooring was full and the next one was right next door to a large timber factory, very noisy. Thankfully we found a mooring right outside the marina where we need to return our boat tomorrow morning. At least we don’t have to worry about getting the boat back on time.

    Vegetable update: Today we spotted quite a lot of lettuce leaves floating down the canal, accompanied by a couple of leek leaves. Sarah is a little disappointed not to have seen any carrots!
    Read more

    Alistair Guthrie

    I wonder if there is a flooded allotment somewhere. No need for you to worry unless you see some seed potatoes floating by. We've really enjoyed reading about locks, leeks and lettuces, and have loved seeing some great photos. We landlubbers thank you nautical types. Have a safe journey home. X

  • Day1123


    June 20, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    The road to Chirk was a fast one, primarily on motorway and dual carriage ways.
    We had promised ourselves on our previous trip up to to Manchester two years ago that we would return here to cycle along the Llangollen Canal.
    We cycled into Llangollen along the canal passing over the famous Pontcysylite aquaduct which was busy with sightseers on foot and on canal trips. The canal follows a contour line and the aquaduct passes across the River Dee at an elevation of 130 feet. The pathway beside the canal on the aquaduct is very narrow which Karen found quite intimidating.
    The canal passes Llangollen at high level so we locked up the bikes and descended into the town for a look around. Llangollen was quite busy and hosted a number of individual retail shops and crafty shops.
    We returned to Chirk following the canal tow path a little further beyond where we joined it in the morning. Karen was a lot more comfortable across the aquaduct on the return journey and then we encountered the first of the famous Telford canal tunnels. We needed to walk our bikes through the tunnel due to reduced headroom, then followed the tow path up to the entrance of the longer Chirk tunnel where we left the path.
    Read more

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