The Llangollen Canal starts at Hurleston Junction where it joins the Shropshire Union (just north of Nantwich, Cheshire). Five locks at Hurleston leads to a southbound voyage towards Wrenbury and then turning west past Marbury. Next up is Grindley Brook locks. 6 locks in total including 3 staircase locks. With the hard work now out of the way, continue sailing to Whitchurch (where you may wish to moor in the Whitchurch Arm) or carry on through Whixall Moss, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Cross the border into North Wales and you'll soon reach the market town of Ellesmere, which is a delightful place to look around.
Shortly after leaving Ellesmere you will come to Frankton Junction which is also the start of the Montgomery Canal, which is currently being restored.
At Chirk, the Llangollen canal crosses into Wales by way of the spectacular Chirk Aqueduct. This carries you over the river Ceiriog and is followed immediately by Chirk Tunnel. Chirk Aqueduct is not to be confused with it's big brother though, as Thomas Telford's breathtaking Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is still to come. Before reaching the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, you'll be treated to spectacular views of the Welsh hills as you head west.
Crossing the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct by narrowboat is an exhilarating experience. There's a sheer, bone chilling drop on the non-towpath side! Don't worry though, as the tow path side does indeed have protective railings the full length of the aqueduct providing peace of mind. The aqueduct actually carries the canal 1,000 feet across the Dee valley at a height of 120 feet.
The final stage of your outward journey to Llangollen is by way of a channel that hugs the steep sides of the valley. The canal is towered over by limestone cliffs and provides wonderful views before entering Llangollen. The canal is narrow but has regular passing places. There are moorings at Llangollen that will allow you time to stretch your legs and explore all that this charming town has to offer.
The full length of the Llangollen Canal is a relaxing 41 mile cruise with 21 locks and some spectacular scenery. A return journeyis about 40 hours of cruising. More gentle, but shorter cruising can be had by starting your journey at Whitchurch.
You can hire a narrowboat through Hoseasons Boating Holidays, based at Whittington boatyard, Shropshire - which is around 25 miles from Hurleston Junction.
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015