Friday 5 June, 4 miles, 5 op shops.
As we went south down the Shroppie we passed the junction with the LLangollen canal an took a glance at the first 4 locks which will require attention in a few days. Trickled past heaps of moored boats at Nantwich before finding a 60ft gap to moore up for a couple of nights. Walked the mile into the town centre. We had been here 5 years ago and it took surprisingly little time to remember the buildings and where we had walked. Last time we were here it was a Sunday and Bank holiday weekend so most of the shops had been closed. This time Diana was into the op shops while I scouted around to find them all. She got to 5 before closing and there are another 5 to go. Back to the boat for an early night before tomorrow's adventure.
Saturday 6 June, 250 miles (by car)
0800. Jim & Anne are knocking on the door bearing gifts. They have driven down from Preston where they live on the banks of the Lancaster canal. We meet them last year and they invited us into their home. Today they have offered a mystery tour of North Wales. Off we go heading for Bodnant Gardens, a National Trust property in Tal-y-Cafn. On the way we see a sign for "Antique's. A side trip is in order. This proved to be very advantages later in the day. In the gift shop I saw a postcard of the Falls at Betws-y-Coed that my Granny had painted in 1906 and hangs in our hall at home.
The gardens were up there with the best of them. With a stream running through a tree lined gorge which included some massive specimens, it was a great place to wander around. After lunch the discussion was what else to see. We had been to a couple of the places suggested by Jim back in 2003 so when he mentioned Narrow gauge steam trains the choice was easy. What I didn't realise was how far away they were. West we go towards Ireland then follow the Menai Strait south ending up at Porthmadog. A quaint Welsh seaside village. It had a different feel about it from an English seaside village. I liked it. Down the end of the street we see steam so trot on down to the station where fascinating narrow gauge locomotives and carriages are preparing for an excursion. Unfortunately the round trip is 2 hours so the bucket list has an additional item added to it. Now we head for Betws-y-Coed. as I had earlier mentioned Granny's painting. The route took us up through an area where slate is quarried. Bleak and barren except, in the middle of this is a substantial town, Blaenau Ffestiniog". The railway goes through here as it's origins was the transport of slate and it's narrow gauge is because of the mountainous terrain it travels through. As we approach Betsy-y-Coed I spied a sign to Fairy Glen. This jogs a memory so I quickly look at the postcard bought in the morning and yes it is Fairy Glen where the painting is of, not the Falls at Betsy-y-Coed. Back we go, park, and tramp off over a farm through the bush and clamber down the rocks to this magical spot. Many photos taken so I can compare the differences 109 years later. I also took photos of a large rock with names carved into it. Haven't found "GET" yet. Now we are heading for home. Over the moor's through some lovely farmland with a stop for dinner at The Plough. Arrive back at the boat 2230. Jim & Anne stopped for a coffee before heading back to Preston. Their day ended at 0030. Thanks for a great day away from the canals.in wales.
Tunnel of flowers
Sunday 7 June, 4 miles, 4 locks.
Later start than yesterday. Headed south 1/2 a mile to a wining hole so we could turn around to go north again. Didn't go far before stopping in the country for lunch and to do the washing. Turned left onto the LLangollen canal climbed the 4 locks, topped up with water and after 2 bridges moored up for the night. Good choice, because when I went for a walk later I found the sign saying that the famous Snugburys ice cream farm is but a 10 minute walk away. it will be a late start again tomorrow as we gob out for morning tea.
2200 Sun going down