After we left Ellesmere we were followed down the canal by this kingfisher who kept flying off in front and then sitting in a tree until we caught up, before setting off again. It did this for about half a mile when it was joined by another kingfisher, presumably its mate, and they started flying in and out of a hole in the canal bank. We cut the engine and coasted past to watch what they were doing. They were actually digging out the hole to make a nest and we watched one fly in and then kick out soil before it flew out again. I've never seen two kingfishers in such close proximity before, truly a beautiful sight.
At bridge 50 we picked up something around the propeller. Normally we just put the boat hard into reverse and the weed cutter on our prop shaft cuts whatever it is off, but this time it didn't work so Roger had to go down the weed hatch.
It was a very thick polypropylene sheet. You can see that the weed cutter had done a good job of shredding it but there was just too much. It's now bagged up ready for disposal at the next rubbish point.
There are plenty of lift bridges on the Llangollen canal which are quite difficult for single-handers to operate as they need to tie off their boat before they can lift/lower the bridge. Usually there are bollards to tie off to but I much prefer this method - a mooring ring has been fitted onto existing bolts. Not only is it a much cheaper job but there's nothing to fall over.
Yesterday was extremely windy and the Viking Afloat hire boat we were following was having real difficulty at the first lift bridge. He'd tied to a bollard while his wife went to operate the bridge but she somehow fell in and had to be helped out of the canal by motorists who were waiting to go over the bridge. She wasn't hurt just a bit shocked by the cold. At the next bridge I got off and ran forwards to open it for them. Another Viking Afloat boat had moored up for lunch but his stern mooring pin had been pulled out by a speeding boat and he hadn't noticed which meant that his boat was diagonal across the canal and blocking our passage. After a couple of blasts of the horn he came out, started the engine and pulled over to the bank but in his hurry he forgot about the trailing mooring rope which promptly wrapped itself around the propeller. Despite their mishaps both sets of hire crews said how much they were enjoying their holidays.
Today it's been much better weather-wise and we're now moored below Willeymoor Lock and pub. The last time we went in the pub the beer was dreadful but on Graham's recommendation (n.b. Armadillo) we're going to give it a second chance. I'll let you know the verdict tomorrow.