Wednesday 22 May 2013

Two arms and a leg

We were running a bit low on diesel, and the price at Ellesmere marina was steep. So on the way back east yesterday we called in at Whixall marina down the arm of the Llangollen known as the Prees branch. I think this is one of the oddest places we've so far come across.

It starts with a couple of awkward lift bridges, and trickles down for about a mile through the middle of nowhere until it suddenly terminates at the marina.

We scratched our heads trying to think who would moor here. The lift bridges are a real pain, and negotiating them is a non-negotiable if you want to go anywhere.

Even odder, there was no one around and the offices were all shut up. This was Tuesday, early afternoon, so why they were closed is a mystery. We left them to it, knowing we could fuel up further along. Unfortunately, this turned out (today) to be at the Viking boatyard at Whitchurch – helpful people but the prices were as bad as Ellesmere's.

Rather than do yet another lift bridge, we decided to take the turning just before it, and go down the Whitchurch arm. This is so short there was no time for a picture and, more to the point, the wind was blowing hard enough to make manoeuvering quite a challenge. We managed to wind Erin Mae and then reverse down the final 40 yards to tie up right at the end of the section, without damage to ourselves or others. Nicholson's guide said Whitchurch was worth a visit, so after a late recovery routine (homemade bread / homemade soup), we headed off into town.

The guide was right – it was a long haul. But the path avoids the roads…

and  passes this garden in the Jubilee Park.

Once in the centre it was intriguing to see the architectural styles (corporate image?) of the different banks. HSBC and Barclays…


The Tudor style we noted in Cheshire last year was much in evidence – here it's not only the pounds that are stretching.

The parish church, St Alkmund's, at the top of the High Street, is more recent, celebrating this year its 300th anniversary, with a difficult-to-photograph banner in the entrance ("Jesus Christ, the same yesterday (1713), today (2013), and forever (2313, 2613…", or words to that effect).

We finished with a quick visit to Tesco, and legged it back to the boat again in the evening sunshine.


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