The Itinerary

The Itinerary

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 22, Country Cottage Betys-y-Coed, Wales

Friday, May 22, Day 108 - Country Cottage Betys-y-Coed, Wales

Dick is concerned about the ATM cash problem and heads into Llanrwst (bet you can’t say that three times fast and correctly) to try the ATM there. So, at 7:38AM he makes a hit on the local HSBC and gets the cash we need without a problem. Ah, the wonders of technology that actually works!

After another usual, but good, breakfast and we head up to the beautiful River Dee Valley. It is a picture postcard area a little east and south of our cottage.

We are going see the World Heritage Site: "The Pontcysylite Aqueduct," built between 1795 and 1805 and still in use today. It contains 18 piers that are 126 feet high and 19 arches with a 45 foot span between each of the piers. It is 1,077 feet long and crosses the valley containing the River Dee. On top is an iron trough that measures 11' 10" wide and 5' 3" deep. It is mostly used by pleasure craft these days but had heavy industrial use through WWII. The drive over, on the A5, is pretty, but slow due to heavy traffic and lots of construction and one lane closures controlled by traffic lights.

We finally find it, after a couple of missteps, including a stop in a local park for a look at the viaduct that carries the train track across the River Dee about a half a mile down stream from the aqueduct. We thought we had found it when we first saw the viaduct. Locals call it "that other bridge."  It is almost twice as long and half again as high as the  aqueduct.

Finally at the aqueduct, we walk along the canal and then out onto it for about 100 yards. There are several boats coming across toward us and we stand on the old tow path and watch them go buy and, as usual, Dick strikes up a conversation with a couple who have been doing the canal system on a rented boat for most of the last two weeks. Looks like fun! We then go to the little information center/gift shop and spend nearly an hour looking at the exhibits and watching a video done for the 200th anniversary celebration in 2005. It is quite interesting as ten people tell their stories about the effect living near the canal has had on their life.

Out on the aqueduct we can see the third bridge across the River Dee in this mile long stretch of the river; a lowly, little, one-lane auto bridge. We work our way down to the river as it is a steep V shaped valley here and take a few more pictures. The setting is beautiful!

From here we drive to Horseshoe Falls, a man-made diversion on the River Dee that feeds water into the canal system and the water that crosses the aqueduct. It too is part of the World Heritage Site. The whole 200 year old canal and aqueduct to carry goods across the deep valley is a masterful engineering feat, especially when one considers the tools they had to work with. The joining glue for the metal trough pieces of the aqueduct was oakum and tar. We follow the canal off and on for awhile and see a couple of canal boats. This reminds us that the first time we came to England we saw the canals and the boats full of people on outings and said we wanted to do that some day. Well, we may have come up with our next trip if, that is, we can get a grandson or two to come with us and handle the shore lines and locks...sounds like fun!

Now on to Valle Crucis Abbey for a picnic stop and visit. According to the GPS it is very close. So we punch go and get yet another tour of one lane roads as the fastest route from point "A" to "B"! The abbey was founded in 1201 and dissolved by Henry VIII in 1537. Its ruins are impressive and Dick has a pleasant conversation with a local couple who are willing to exchange their knowledge of the abbey in return for some American Civil War conversation.  "Quid Pro Quo," as they say.

Carolyn tolerates this for awhile, but it is later than we think. So, we turn back toward home, crossing Horse Shoe Pass and a huge slate mine, before we move on to Ruthin. Here we drive through the grounds of Ruthin Castle Hotel. We stayed here with our son and his friend, Robert, in 1985 and have good memories of its Medieval Banquet presentation and the fun two teenaged boys had exploring the dungeon by flashlight that night. Ruthin is a quaint little market town and retains much of that feeling even today.

By now, it is after 4PM and Dick is tired of fighting the narrow roads, traffic, etc. We put home into the GPS and it says the 35 miles will take nearly an hour so we better get started. We get into some light rain but have an otherwise uneventful drive through the countryside. Back home among the flowers, we pull our usual evening routine and finish up the left-overs from last night with the addition of some fresh roasted garlic bread. The smell of the roasting garlic attacks our host as he is watering his pot plants around the house and he asks, "What is the wonderful smell." The garlic was hard to find in the store so it must not be used too much around here. Again, as usual, we write up the blog and hope to get at least two days published before bed.

No comments:

Post a Comment