Over thirty LCC members gathered at the Pavilion Car park in Llangollen to unload boats and equipment before shuttling cars to the Poachers Pocket Pub in Chirk. On the drivers return all paddlers launch under the canal bridge and headed off towards the Trevor and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Stan van-den-berg was in his brand new Rockpool kayak and there were concerns about it getting marked on the canal way. Was this the rights decision to bring his new pride and joy?
Amanda had chosen the liquid Logic Remix as her preferred mode of transport which definitely proved not to be the right decision as she struggled in the little river kayak. Early on a swap was made leaving Amanda much happier in a Easky 13 kayak and making much greater progress towards the aqueduct.
The group enjoyed the beautiful scenery as they were gently assisted by the slight flow of the canal which was fed from the River Dee back at the Horseshoe Falls. As the back markers turned into the Trevor basin an array of colored kayaks came into view. The large group had waited for everyone to gather before heading over the Aqueduct but first we had to give way to a canal boat coming the other way. There is only room for one boat, and they are much bigger and heavier than our plastic boats. Dorin called the boat a “turtle” as it very slowly made its way across the water course which carried it some 126 feet above the River below.
Eventually we were off. People walking were taking photographs of the group which spanned from one end of the aqueduct to the other. One couple remarked to Liz that in all the years of walking this canal they had never seen such a large group enjoying themselves on the water. The view from the aqueduct was stunning but we were soon over and about ten minutes from our lunch stop location which was good news for Enda who had earlier remarked that he was starving.
After lunch it was a case of launching boats back into the canal the other side of the canal bridge. Some paddlers enjoyed being seal launched for their first time and screams of laughter could be heard from the group before the headed off for the second half of the trip.
The total distance for the journey was 9.5 miles although from the sound of boats hitting the sides of the tunnels it was evident that some did a little more. Without lights the tunnels were pitch black and we were glad of our head torches lighting the way. One by one the group emerged from the dark tunnel into the glorious sunshine that we had been blessed with for this journey. We continued over the smaller Chirk aqueduct and then made the final leg of our trip to the Poachers Pocket arriving in plenty of daylight to carry kayaks through the beer garden to the waiting cars.
After boats had been loaded back onto cars a welcome drink and a warm was enjoyed in the pub. Stan’s Rockpool had survived the trip has had Amanda. For some this had been their first club trip and hopefully the first of many.
Report by John Fay