LLANGOLLEN AND RETURN
16 (8x2) cruising hours
4 (2x2) Locks
2 Counties, 2 Aqueducts and 2 Tunnels
Your journey takes you from England into Wales and back again through the beautiful Vale of Llangollen passing through fascinating places with pubs and restaurants along the way. 11 miles of the stunning Llangollen canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, starting from Glendrid Bridge, near Chirk Aqueduct and finishing at the Horseshoe falls in Llangollen.
Leaving Whittington Wharf you will soon encounter New Marton Locks, these are the only two en route to Llangollen, once you have passed the locks you can then sit back and enjoy the stunning scenery.
Winding your way through the English countryside leads you to the start of the World Heritage Site at Glendrid Bridge, you will then arrive at Chirk Aqueduct, built between 1796 and 1801 by the famous civil engineers Thomas Telford and William Jessop. The Aqueduct reaches an impressive 710ft in length and 70ft in height. The later built railway viaduct runs beside. with regular steam trains running during the summer. Don't be surprised if a locomotive comes steaming past as you cross!
After the Aqueduct you will need to switch on your light as you enter Chirk Tunnel (Darkie Tunnel). Built in 1801, with a total length of 1380ft. While in Chirk, take some time out to visit the 700 year old Chirk Castle, run by the National Trust. The castle features stunning rooms, a 17th-century long gallery and award-winning gardens.
Navigating the beautiful Welsh countryside leads you through the 570ft long Whitehouse Tunnel. Heading northwards, one of the seven wonders of the waterways awaits you; the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.
This masterpiece of engineering is the longest and highest aqueduct in the UK, 1007 ft long, 11ft 10 ins wide, suspending the canal 126ft above the River Dee. Built by Thomas Telford and William Jessop it is a Grade I listed structure. It is known as 'The waterway through the sky.' With no handrail on one side it gives you the feeling of floating in the air. Work began in 1795 taking 10 years to complete and was opened on the 26th November 1805 with a procession of boats, music, gunfire and cheers from 8,000 spectators. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct originally cost £38,499 to build, approximately £39 million today.
Upon your arrival at Llangollen a wonderful range of shops, pubs and restaurants await you. The very popular Llangollen Railway Station is also open throughout the year.
Other attractions include Offa's Dyke footpath, Plas Newydd House, horse-drawn boat trips from Llangollen, Castell Dinas Bran, Valle Crucis Abbey and in early July the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
THE MONTGOMERY CANAL
This is quite a different canal, very peaceful and quiet, a tranquil exit from the Llangollen Canal main line. At present this canal consists of seven restored miles from Frankton Junction to Gronwen Wharf. It is accessed from the Llangollen Canal at Frankton Junction, approximately 15 minutes cruising from our base.
It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) with a variety of birds, wildlife and aquatic plants attracted by the conservation areas. Otters and water voles have also been spotted here.
Your passage down Frankton Locks must be booked in advance with Canal and Rivers Trust, this can be done by telephone or online.
The locks are open 19th March 2018 until 1st November 2018 from 12 o'clock until 2pm each day. They must be booked before 10 am on the day of passage. It is well worth booking in advance as there is a limited number of boats allowed on the Montgomery per day. Visit canalrivertrust.org.uk for more information.
The Montgomery Canal begins at Frankton Junction with a flight of locks manned by a lock-keeper. The Weston Arm, Graham Palmer Lock and Perry Aqueduct follow shortly after. The Queen's Head pub & restaurant is further on and at Maesbury Marsh you'll find The Navigation pub.
There is a cafe at Canal Central just before Crofts Mill lift bridge, followed by the Aston Locks. Shortly after you'll reach Gronwen Wharf Winding hole where your journey ends. Although there is water in the canal, there are no more turning points. Restoration is in progress and you can walk the towpath through to Crickheath, Pant and Llanymynech.
WHITCHURCH AND RETURN
11(5½ x 2) - Cruising Hours
There are no locks just 4 lift bridges from Whittington Wharf to Whitchurch, a gentle journey through peaceful countryside. You can walk into Whitchurch, one of the oldest towns in Shropshire, with its great gift shops, pubs and restaurants.
CHESTER AND RETURN
On a longer cruise you can travel past the end of the Llangollen Canal, through Whitchurch and Grindley Brook with its staircase locks, down to Wrenbury and then Hurleston Junction with its flight of four locks. Then onto the Shropshire Union Canal to cruise through the picturesque Cheshire countryside to visit the Roman City of Chester with its 2-level covered arcades (The Rows), half-timber buildings, Roman Walls, the largest amphitheatre and oldest racecourse in Britain.
14 to 21 days depending on experience and cruising hours per day
Taking in parts of the Llangollen, Shropshire Union, Trent & Mersey, Bridgewater, Ashton and Peak Forest Canals and all of the Macclesfield Canal.
Featuring several tunnels, aqueducts, lift bridges, swing bridges and snake bridges
Approximately 14 days depending on experience and cruising hours per day
Taking in parts of the Langollen, Shropshire Union, Staffordshire & Worcestershire and Trent & Mersey Canals.
Featuring the impressive 8776ft long Harecastle Tunnel.