Something of an ‘Arm’ theme in our stops, after our departure from the Whitchurch we had plans to make our next stop the Prees Arm or more correctly Prees Branch but without going through another two lift bridges (in and out) the available moorings were a bit isolated so we decided to carry on to Bettisfield where we spent the night after travelling 7 miles and negotiating 4 lift bridges. Whist these bridges are hydraulically operated by turning a windlass and not that difficult they require a good number of turns to wind them up & down.
Our next day’s trip was shorter, just short of 5 miles and took us into The Ellesmere Arm, but first had the Ellesmere Tunnel and stopped off in Blackwater Meadow Marina to get a pump out.
Ellesmere is located by the side of ‘the Mere’, one of the largest natural meres in England outside the Lake District and one of nine glacial meres in the area. (‘glacial’ means that the depression occupied by the mere was the location of a block of ice that persisted at the end of the last Ice Age). These meres are different from those in the Lake District in that they do not have a flow of water into them to maintain the level. [Source: Wikipedia]
As we turned in towards the town there was just one space left for us and we spent the afternoon sitting in the shade beside the boat chatting to folk as they walked by. One gent, Teddy, born and bred in Ellesmere who was a mine of information about the town’s history and had been a postman in the area for 35 years.
This morning we were able to move the boat nearer the town centre, ready for a shop at Tesco which is right next to the canal, but before that I visited the barbers, for a haircut and the dentist to get a missing filling replaced, I expect you can guess which left me the poorer!
The Llangollen Canal is actually a comparatively recent name, it was originally The Ellesmere Canal. We had lunch at The Corner House cafe opposite what is now the Ellesmere Hotel where the Duke of Bridgewater and his associates got together [I’m sure it was called something else then but the name escapes me, I’ll ask Teddy if I see him again] and decided that Ellesmere could become the hub of a new canal network connecting the Midlands with the River Mersey so they raised over a £1million pounds in one day (a lot of money today, even more so in 1791) and the Ellesmere Canal was born.
This evening we have had a BBQ and Joy says if we had had 50p for every person who has stopped to talk about Catty we would be rich!