Day 48 – Grindley Brook to Whixall

We left Wrenbury early in the morning, Viv working the massive electric lift bridge & holding up the traffic. On through Marbury and four isolated locks: Marbury, Quoisley, Willey Moor and Povey’s before halting on the visitor moorings, before the locks at Grindley Brook. A good, quiet mooring with excellent 4G signal (>50MBps!). We’ll stop here for a few days and watch all the hire (and private) boats scamper by. The next bit is rather hectic – 3 locks very close together, all with that awful strong bywash and then the 3-rise staircase locks – all 6 lifting the boater nearly 39 feet up.

A very leaky lock at Marbury – look at all the spouts coming out of the brickwork – must note this on the way back – close all windows!
Steve drives Adagio in – slightly damper
The Llangollen is a very rural canal
When going up, you normally slow down and edge the boat (6’10” wide) into the lock (7′ wide!), however, there’s millions of gallons of water flowing down the whole length of the canal to the reservoir at the bottom and the bywash is a raging torrent – pushing the boat sideways . . .
And at the top of the lock – there’s a very strong pull from the top of the bywash – so no lingering!
Final resting spot – good all round. Also spotted two lapwings here.
Lots of blossom
We walked up to the staircase locks and bought some ice cream – for us and also for Toby
He did seem to enjoy it – Marshfield’s are on to a winner here, making special ice cream for dogs – £2 a tub too.
Here’s the locks and the very smart cafe. There’s no side ponds with these (unlike Foxton & Watford), so going up, you have to leave the bottom lock empty but the middle and top full.
Bit of a long post this one as it does cover 3 days . . . we left Grindley Brook in the light rain, at 0800 and in a bit of a grump – sorry no pix – . . . but we did get thru all 6 locks without delay and off to Whitchurch. A good water point (4 in fact) at the top of the locks plus a modern service station (elsan, toilets, showers, rubbish recycling and a pump out)
If you come up to the “Golli”, you’ll see loads of these – most are hydraulically operated, you just use a windlass to wind them up & down
Bit more tricky as you want to line the boat up properly but you also don’t want to hit the bridge and rip bits of your boat off!
More wildlife – Mrs Cow
And a longhorn – Mr Cow!
Ah! Someone’s dream home? An awfully nice “hice” and “grinds” with their own mooring. What do think Gail? Would it suit all of us??
with their own lift bridge too – No 42!
Viv’s arty photo
Final resting place (a) – turns out there was no signal here whatsoever – Platt Lane (bridges 43-44) – so we moved on, shame Tobes seemed happy here – note piggy brought out too.
We are now on the edge of Whixall moss – a vast nature reserve made up of old peat bogs – quite a find here.
Final resting place (b) – um, not very good either – shallow !
We had a good walk into the reserve – didn’t see any of the white-faced dragonflies but did see lots of Belted Galloways! With babies!
Final resting place (c) – visitor moorings by bridge 46, close to the Prees branch junction, very good all round – 4G, deep and on rings.
We may divert down here on the way back – looks nice a quiet plus there’s a grade 2 listed lift bridge here and a big marina at the end
They seemed to have organised the reserve well – with lots of these boards and info.
Just around the corner the canal crosses the border – no real sign, so Viv uses her GPS on the phone to make sure. In fact the canal does meander in and out of Wales a few times.
Here’s some of that bog!
Ah, yes, these guys – a couple of Kiwis, swapping their motor home in New Zealand for this narrowboat and thoroughly enjoying themselves – we keep meeting up with them, they have hired bikes and zoom around, visiting towns and places the canal doesn’t pass through
Didn’t quite manage to spot this fellah but this is the white faced dragonfly. Maybe later. We’ve got the oil burner going on the boat – diffusing bog myrtle (or Sweet Gale) – cos there’s bound to be mozzies around here!

And to end – the map – near Whixall marina – we’ve come a long way – not far to go now.