I’ve always fancied a narrow boat trip, so what better way to have a go than hiring our own boat for the day, crossing the Pontcysllte Aquaduct on the Shopshire Union Canal.
We set off on the Julia from Trevor, near Llangollen at 10 a.m. after a 30 minute lesson on how to use the boat. Luckily our friends Linda and Shaun are old hands at this boating lark, so we were confident in our ability not to crash into anything or seriously breach any waterways etiquette.
The view crossing the aqueduct was stunning – despite the weather being unkind to us, by pouring with rain, the Ceiriog Valley looked beautiful. Built by Thomas Telford, this is an amazing piece of architecture. You feel like you are sailing up in the sky.
A couple of hours and a couple of very dark tunnels later we were at The Poacher’s Pocket in Chirk for a very welcome lunch, then it was back on board for the return journey. I have to say, it was so peaceful just drifting along and pottering in the kitchen making tea. Just the tonic for a day of relaxation.
Steering the boat was somewhat of a challenge for both Steve and I who couldn’t get the hang of which way to move the tiller, as it seems to defy common sense, but luckily, Shaun was a dab hand. Linda also was excellent at jumping off and pulling various ropes, winching bridge gates and looking out for oncoming traffic. She knows all the technical terms too, plus one or two which may be a bit dubious. Me? Not much good for anything except taking photos and handing out biscuits.
This was a little test to see if we wanted to spend a few days on a narrowboat holiday and actually, I think it could be quite a lot of fun, if a little intimate. You do have to know your friends well for this sort of trip.
The dayboat hire cost £110 from Anglo Welsh and was perfectly well equipped for a day out. I’d definitely do it again, but would hope not to look and feel quite so much like a drowned rat next time.