This morning we moved forward towards the Ellesmere Arm, and whilst the crew replenished supplies at the conveniently located Tesco, I filled the water tank at the CRT service yard. Knowing the starboard side of the boat was going to be inaccessible from the towpath for some time, I also gave it a quick wash down. I then navigated to the end of the Ellesmere Arm and waited for the crew to finish shopping. The weather was as forecast cloudy, but with the sun breaking through in places. It quickly became apparent that today was going to be busy with boat traffic in both directions. Passing through the short Ellesmere Tunnel, the Francis Searchlight on the front of the boat illuminated its entire 87 yard length. We had a trip of 11 miles to do which is a long day for us, so we broke up the trip, taking lunch just beyond the junction with the Prees Branch. Not long after passing under the second of two lift bridges, we began to look for a mooring spot. We need to stop for two days to coincide with our arrangement to use the services at the Viking Afloat hirebase at Whitchurch on Sunday. We found a nice spot just prior to bridge 37 with clear views to the sky for the satellite, and 3G on the phone for Internet access. We are forecast some heavy weather tomorrow so we can now batten down the hatches if need be.
Continuing our return journey along the Llangollen Canal, today we travelled as far as Ellesmere. We had to navigate the two New Marton Locks and pass through Frankton Junction. We have decided not to visit the Montgomery Canal this year due to its partial closure. On route we met an increasing number of mainly hire boats, usually at the tightest bridges and bends. Some were ok at steering and some were not, but we were able to avoid any unwanted contact. Having said that we have collected quite a few scrapes to our blacking on this canal. On arrival at Ellesmere we moored in our previous spot a couple of hundred yards from the Ellesmere Arm Junction. We will stay here a day or two, moving into the arm only to visit Tesco when we are departing.
In contrast to our trip to Ellesmere, today we were treated to clear blue skies and bright sunshine. There was a slight breeze which had a chill to it but otherwise, it was perfect boating weather. We set off and maintained a steady two miles an hour. It is not possible to go much faster, due to the shallow depth of this canal.