It was my first morning in Wales — and I was ready to leave the beautiful Royal Oak Hotel in Welshpool and go exploring! I’d already eaten what turned out to be the “standard” British hotel breakfast of fried side bacon, sausages (two kinds, neither of which tickled my taste buds as they say), pork ‘n beans (or that’s what I call them at home), baked tomato halves,
and cold toast with no butter. Well, I guess that’s not really true — there was butter, it just wasn’t on the toast. There was, however, an abundance of little jars of jam, of which blackberry was my favorite.
I’m not great with heights — especially when there’s an edge I can look over. However, nothing was keeping me from walking the thousand feet it would take to cross this two hundred year old aqueduct! Built by civil engineer, Thomas Telford, between 1795 and 1805, it’s a true feat of engineering. The stone used was local, with the central ones over the River Dee a full 126 feet from the water to the iron work (no, I didn’t spend much time looking down!).
The aqueduct canal itself runs through an an iron trough that’s 1007 feet long, 11 feet, 10 inches wide, and five feet, three inches deep. As you might imagine, the canal boats that make their way over the aqueduct are quite tiny, as they must fit into the trough. They’re rather like mini-houseboats with all the necessities of life built in.
I walked the tow path, beside the trough — historically, it was the bridle path for the horses that towed the canal boats. Our guide, Donna Goodman (from Turnstone Tours), said she’s taken a canal boat ride with her husband, and spent much of her time on top of the boat reading, or else bicycling on the shore alongside the canals, since the whole canal system can be walked.
While my trip was early spring before the start of canal boat season, I could imagine myself in one of the boats, moving slowly down the canal, not a care in the world…