Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An iron aqueduct

As we left Gaynor and Fred's at Shrewsbury they said we must go to see Pontcysyllte Aqueduct as it would be on our way to Holyhead in Wales. So we did, and as we pulled up in the carpark we could see that a road had been lifted above the canal to allow barges through. We watched the whole process of course and Phil chatted to the bargee as she lowered the road to its proper place. (I asked him why he was watching instead of offering to do but apparently it's a very easy process - each barge carries its own crank handle.) It was a lovely day and the daffodils are really flowering now so the canal was looking beautiful.

The aqueduct, built by Thomas Telford and William Jessop, is 1,007 ft (307 m) long, 11 ft (3.4 m) wide and 5.25 ft (1.60 m) deep. It consists of a cast iron trough supported 126 ft (38 m) above the river on iron arched ribs carried on nineteen hollow masonry piers (pillars). Each span is 53 ft (16 m) wide. (Wikipedia) It was opened in 1805.

It turned out that the bargee and her husband, who own their long boat, have been exploring the canals of the UK for over a year and still have a way to go. They offered to show us their boat which turned out to be surprisingly roomy and Phil could stand upright which impressed him no end, and then they offered to take us over the aqueduct. What a generous offer! It's the highlight of any canal-explorer's experience apparently, and no wonder. It was delightful. We then walked back along the quite narrow footpath next to the iron canal.

1 comment:

  1. Is that the closest you have ever been to "walking on water"? What an interesting trip you are having . Thanks for sharing it. love Triggs