On Saturday I did something that I had long hoped to do and that was to walk along the narrow path beside the Llangollen Canal over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. I first heard about this huge feat of Georgian construction (1795-1805) on a school Geography field trip to North Wales exactly 50 years ago. We were travelling from Norwich to Snowdonia and as we passed along the Dee Valley on the A5 through Llangollen Mr Powell told us about the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site is an 11 mile linear corridor from Horseshoe Falls in Llangollen to Gledrid in Shropshire. The Aqueduct was the first great masterpiece of the civil engineer Thomas Telford and formed the basis of his outstanding international reputation. It is the tallest navigable aqueduct in the world at 126 feet 8 inches in height and stands on 18 tapering stone piers and has 19 arches which carry a narrow trough of iron plates for 1,007 feet. The trough holds 1.5 million litres of water and its name is pronounced Pont-ker-sulth-tay which means “the bridge that joins”.
We parked at Trevor Basin where there’s a Visitor Centre, Boat Hire and Boat Trip businesses, and the starting point for pedestrians to walk over the Aqueduct. My views of Trevor Basin :
And so we set off over the Aqueduct and here are my views of it from all directions :
At the weekend staying with friends near Gateshead it was suggested that we visit Corbridge on the Saturday. I’d heard of Corbridge’s Roman connections but wasn’t quite sure what was there nor how extensive the and well-preserved they would be. I was to find out. We parked in the free car park on the opposite side of the river from the village and Roman site; spent some time in some of the multitude of small shops – including gifts and cards, kitchenwares and books; ate lunch in an excellent deli then walked to the former Roman Town about half a mile away. It was a beautiful day crisp and sunny but very very cold.
Earlier in the week I decided that on Thursday I’d head off to Fountains Abbey and have a walk, a bite to eat and be home early afternoon. Thursday dawned very frosty but the roads were fine and the car park almost empty when I arrived. I’ve posted several times about my visits to Fountains including here, here and here. But I visit many more times than I have posted – it is just such a beautiful place to walk and think and enjoy the views and the Georgian landscape and its follies.
During November Milady was called to the Jury at Leeds Crown Court and those two (harrowing) weeks were followed by a week busy visiting family and friends in Norwich, London and Surrey and last week preparing for Christmas – writing cards, shopping and buying presents – and planning and packing for THIS week in Switzerland!
Last weekend I rounded off my two-and-a-half weeks in the Southwest in Bath. This was to share further birthday celebrations with my friend, Ann, and the combination of Bath and a Landmark Trust property is an excellent way to do this. Ten years ago I helped my mum celebrate her eightieth birthday in another Bath Landmark.
It was meant to be a quiet, stay-at-home, reading-in-the-boudoir week (most of October, in fact) but irresistible opportunities for travel turned up and I resisted none of them!
When friends asked if I would a share a day with them in Edinburgh I leapt at the chance. It’s possible to do the trip in a day from Leeds. I’ve done it before. I spent one Saturday in August six years ago at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which is just confined to the limits of Charlotte Square.
Charlotte Square in Autumn
Last year on my final day in southern Ireland I travelled up to County Fermanagh in the north via Bru na Boinne or Newgrange the designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in Co. Meath. I approached the site from the west and toddled a long a very quiet road, turned into the car park and was stunned to find it full of cars and coaches. Apparently from the other direction traffic comes directly from the M1 Dublin-Belfast motorway.