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tipton1947

Yank - Llangollen Canal Questions

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After discussion with my wife and the other couple who joined us on our trip in July of 2016 we have decided to finish our exploration of the Llangollen canal. Previously we got as far as Ellesmere before returning to Middlewich. We plan to hire boats at either Trevor or Chirk and then run to Llangollen and to Ellesmere and back (or vice versa). This should be pretty easy, I think, in the middle of June.

1. Am I correct in thinking that 7 nights is plenty of time to make such a round trip while spending two nights each in both Ellesmere and Llangollen?

2. What are the chances of moorings in Llangollen at this time of year?

3. What are the complications of traversing the Chirk tunnel and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct? Is it first come first served, is there some sort of traffic control? Or what?

Any input would be welcome. 

 

 

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A seven night hire, which effectively gives you six full days plus a few hours on the first afternoon, is enough for Ellesmere to llangollen and a full day in each. The last time I went to Llangollen I was in Ellesmere Sunday night and Back Wednesday night having spent Monday night at Fron (just before Pontcysyllte Aqueduct) and Tuesday night at Chirk on the way back. The canal is slow generally, and especially between Pontcysyllte and Llangollen where much of it is single track and boats can't pass, but even so four and a bit days cruising is plenty.

The tunnels and the aqueducts work on a first come first served basis, if there is no-one in/on then off you go, if someone is coming the other way you have to wait. Some of the narrows towards Llangollen have bends and you can't see from one end to the other - send someone ahead. 

Pontcysyllte to Llangollen was built as a "navigable feeder" - hence it's limited dimensions, the golden rule as always is have plenty of time and take in the scenery. 

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Unless you are going at a different time of year this time, consider mooring at Trevor and enjoying the pleasant walk along the towpath to Llangollen. You can watch boaters getting into all sorts of a mess with complete impunity, and there's a pub half way should you have an ale related emergency.  If (when!) the weather goes off whilst your at the far end, or if your legs get all wobbly after another pub visit, there's a very convenient bus back!

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I doubt you will have any issues mooring at Llangollen, you have to pay (£6 per night last time I was there) and you can only stay 2 nights.  Best to send someone ahead on foot on the one way part up to Llangollen from Trevor, may say a bit of reversing.

The tunnels and aqueducts are first come first served, you just wait for it to be clear and set off.

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Another strategy for the narrow bits between Trevor and Llangollen is to tuck in closely behind another boat. 

Obviously it only works when there is a boat ahead going in your direction.

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4 minutes ago, cuthound said:

Another strategy for the narrow bits between Trevor and Llangollen is to tuck in closely behind another boat. 

 

Better still, tuck in closely behind 2 boats then, when 2 boats come the other way, your 3 beats their 2! :D

(Unless one of the other 2 is the trip boat, in which case that trumps all)

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1 hour ago, Sea Dog said:

Better still, tuck in closely behind 2 boats then, when 2 boats come the other way, your 3 beats their 2! :D

(Unless one of the other 2 is the trip boat, in which case that trumps all)

Agree about the trip boat,  best strategy is to follow the trip boat, that's a win.

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Also worth investing in a couple of cheap CB radios.  We use them all the time but for the last bit of this canal they are invaluable.  The long narrow single width section has a blind bend half way and you really don't want to meet someone coming the other way. Someone is going to have to reverse quite a long way.  Also, there are moorings just before you come into Llangollen itself.  Worth stopping there if there's space although you will still have to go all the way into the village to turn around.

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Have a look at the canalplan website, this will give you lots of information.

As far as I can remember Trevor to Llangollen basin will take you approximately 3 hours and Chirk marina to Llangollen basin is approximately 4 hours.

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2 hours ago, larryjc said:

Also worth investing in a couple of cheap CB radios.  We use them all the time but for the last bit of this canal they are invaluable.  The long narrow single width section has a blind bend half way and you really don't want to meet someone coming the other way. Someone is going to have to reverse quite a long way.  Also, there are moorings just before you come into Llangollen itself.  Worth stopping there if there's space although you will still have to go all the way into the village to turn around.

Exactly what we did, super cheap set of Binatone Latitude 100's the first time (fine at the first narrows, would not do the distance on the 2nd set but mobile phone worked) and the second time a set of Binatone Terrain 750's (fine on both but roger beep is louder than actual speaker so they'll be going back on eBay). Room for two or three boats on bollards before the narrow bits, send someone forward to report back. The first section has two passing places if memory serves, so in theory you can move up if nothing is approaching at that point, the second has no passing places.

Always gone right into the basin to moor, i'd go that far and have a look as you can always wind and go back if its full. Permits for mooring there are from the little shop by the café which shuts @ 6pm, but you can always pay the next morning, we did see some arrive late and beggar off early doors to avoid it though sadly :(
We were there this June in cracking weather and last week of school holidays and basin moorings were half empty.

DO NOT buy a large ice cream from the ice cream shop between the café and horse boat stand, we got standard size ones and they were HUGE, you'll never finish a large one :D 

There's a nice walk from the basin along the un-navigable part of the canal which passes the Motor & Motorcycle Museum, Chainbridge Hotel (with its own impressive bridge) and then the Horseshoe Falls (let down only by the detritus of picnics and local youth), takes a couple of hours there and back.

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I turned at Trevor and reversed back into the basin at Trevor circa 1997. Lovely quiet mooring then. 

Then headed for Llangollen early next morning to be assured of a mooring (this was before they opened the new basin at Llangollen) which has provided many more moorings.

Edited by cuthound

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4 hours ago, larryjc said:

Also worth investing in a couple of cheap CB radios.  We use them all the time but for the last bit of this canal they are invaluable.  The long narrow single width section has a blind bend half way and you really don't want to meet someone coming the other way. Someone is going to have to reverse quite a long way.  Also, there are moorings just before you come into Llangollen itself.  Worth stopping there if there's space although you will still have to go all the way into the village to turn around.

Is USA CB the same as UK or will they need UK sets?

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8 minutes ago, system 4-50 said:

Is USA CB the same as UK or will they need UK sets?

CB is Different.  but I presume what was meant was PMR not CB, but that is different in the US as well, and you could not legally use in the UK.  Whilst PMR radios are usefull in this case for the OP it's not worth the bother I would say.

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The last bit Trevor to Llangollen is perfectly fine - we managed it in our 36" draught tug in September. 

The last stretch of narrows before Llangollen is the only really long one but get a crew member to walk ahead. Most people are fearful of meeting someone so are cautious. 

The Basin is a good mooring (past the horse boat hire then turn right into it.) Celebrate arrival with a superb fried breakfast in the Horse boat cafe. Walk up to Horseshoe Weir, try the steam railway if you have time and at Trevor it's worth a walk down to the river to see the aqueduct from below. 

The tunnels, narrows and aqueducts are slow - revving hard is counter productive. 

Enjoy!

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4 hours ago, Hudds Lad said:

Exactly what we did, super cheap There's a nice walk from the basin along the un-navigable part of the canal which passes the Motor & Motorcycle Museum, Chainbridge Hotel (with its own impressive bridge) and then the Horseshoe Falls (let down only by the detritus of picnics and local youth), takes a couple of hours there and back.

Last but one time I was in Llangollen I walked up to Horseshoe Falls. IIRC the sign says 2 miles.

As you say it take a couple of hours so must be 3-4 miles each way.

Still it tired the dog out.

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24 minutes ago, cuthound said:

Last but one time I was in Llangollen I walked up to Horseshoe Falls. IIRC the sign says 2 miles.

As you say it take a couple of hours so must be 3-4 miles each way.

Still it tired the dog out.

I've been to Horseshoe Falls in my own boat, don't think they are keen in that now

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Just now, magpie patrick said:

I've been to Horseshoe Falls in my own boat, don't think they are keen in that now

True, they only allow the horse drawn trip boats up there now.

I was surprised how deep the water was up to the Chainbridge Hotel,  then it gets a bit shallower to metering station. 

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11 hours ago, Sea Dog said:

Unless you are going at a different time of year this time, consider mooring at Trevor and enjoying the pleasant walk along the towpath to Llangollen. You can watch boaters getting into all sorts of a mess with complete impunity, and there's a pub half way should you have an ale related emergency.  If (when!) the weather goes off whilst your at the far end, or if your legs get all wobbly after another pub visit, there's a very convenient bus back!

He’s coming from the US to go on a boating holiday, and you suggest he leaves the boat at the hire base and walks!

The good thing about hiring from Trevor would be that you can set off and immediately to the narrow bit up to Llangollen.  People hiring from further-away bases won’t have got there yet.  There’s something a bit special about that bit of Canal clinging to the side of the hill, and when you get to Llangollen below you.  If you want a walk, walk from the basin up the feeder to Horseshoe Falls, where the river is diverted into the canal (just don’t be misled by the term Falls, they’re only about a foot high).

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8 minutes ago, adam1uk said:

He’s coming from the US to go on a boating holiday, and you suggest he leaves the boat at the hire base and walks!

The good thing about hiring from Trevor would be that you can set off and immediately to the narrow bit up to Llangollen.  People hiring from further-away bases won’t have got there yet.  There’s something a bit special about that bit of Canal clinging to the side of the hill, and when you get to Llangollen below you.  If you want a walk, walk from the basin up the feeder to Horseshoe Falls, where the river is diverted into the canal (just don’t be misled by the term Falls, they’re only about a foot high).

Absolutely, why would you come all the way and pay a load of money for a boat and then walk :)

The quietest nights in Llangollen are Sat/Sun as most of the hire boats are way back down the canal at that point, so if you have at Sat start from Trevor going straight up to Llangollen will work out great. You can then have Sat and Sun nights there if you want to and go on the steam train on the Sunday.

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Thanks for all of the info! This is really the kind of stuff I was looking for. At this time we have gotten another couple turned on to this scheme so now I need find a hire outfit that can provide three boats for us.

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17 hours ago, Pie Eater said:

 

As far as I can remember Trevor to Llangollen basin will take you approximately 3 hours 

 

12 hours ago, adam1uk said:

He’s coming from the US to go on a boating holiday, and you suggest he leaves the boat at the hire base and walks!

 

12 hours ago, john6767 said:

Absolutely, why would you come all the way and pay a load of money for a boat and then walk 

:D

Why walk? Cos it's quicker and less hassle! It'll also take less time out of his holiday if he foregoes that last half day each way bit of boaty stuff and overnights at Trevor.  If he walks, he will go forwards (at boat speed, may I remind you) all the way, won't need to stop to wait for other travellers to pass and he certainly won't need to reverse to let them through.  Hey, and also cos it's a lovely walk and he's coming to enjoy Britain as well as boating.

Plus, by walking, he will probably get to watch two clueless steerers come face to face in narrows with no idea what to do, whilst a bunch of 'experts' of varying skill, either on the towpath or in boats behind each of them, shout conflicting and confusing instructions. Said 'experts' growing increasingly purple, their embarrassed wives (gently or otherwise) threatening them with divorce or making encouraging remarks about blood pressure, whilst the clueless spend the next hour misinterpreting the shouted instructions whether helpful or otherwise. Priceless - and, when he's had his fill of the entertainment, he can continue on to his destination arriving well before he would have had he been either stuck behind such a log jam... or having been part of it. 

I could be wrong, of course, and he may boat through completely hassle free. I'm sure many do, but I have been there and enjoyed that very scenario, and I suspect it is one that's recognised by quite a few others too! ;)

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27 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

 

 

:D

Why walk? Cos it's quicker and less hassle! It'll also take less time out of his holiday if he foregoes that last half day each way bit of boaty stuff and overnights at Trevor.  If he walks, he will go forwards (at boat speed, may I remind you) all the way, won't need to stop to wait for other travellers to pass and he certainly won't need to reverse to let them through.  Hey, and also cos it's a lovely walk and he's coming to enjoy Britain as well as boating.

Several reasons why not to walk, the most compelling of which is that the OP wishes to spend two nights and a full day in Llangollen. 

Walking is nearly always faster than using the boat as transport, but most if us choose to take our boats with us if for no other reason than we can sleep on board when we get there. 

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15 hours ago, cuthound said:

Last but one time I was in Llangollen I walked up to Horseshoe Falls. IIRC the sign says 2 miles.

As you say it take a couple of hours so must be 3-4 miles each way.

Still it tired the dog out.

It is less than two miles from Llangollen to Horseshoe Falls (The sign says 1 3/4 Miles)

Tim

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4 minutes ago, Tim Lewis said:

It is less than two miles from Llangollen to Horseshoe Falls (The sign says 1 3/4 Miles)

Tim

Hudd's Lad and I must walk very slowly then. :D

Edited by cuthound
To add a missing space

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