Llangollen Aqueduct is highI discovered the Pontcysyllte aqueduct in Llangollen, Wales while browsing the web one day and pencilled it in as a must do on stand up paddle boards in the future.

The aqueduct carries the Llangollen Canal over the valley of the River Dee in North East Wales. It was completed in 1805 and it’s the UK’s highest and longest aqueduct at 126 ft high! 1,007 ft long, 11 ft wide and 5.25 ft deep. It’s also a listed building and a World Heritage site.

This trip was as last minute as you can get. We’d been in Devon that weekend for the Head of the Dart SUP race and to visit Tushingham Sails, and were on our way home on the M6, tired but buzzing after a brilliant weekend of paddling. I was taking my turn driving, saw a sign to Wales and mentioned the aqueduct. A quick change of route on the sat nav showed that it was only an extra 40ish miles – possibly now or never. Even down to the last few hundred yards before the slip road it was an undecided “shall we, shan’t we” then last minute everyone agreed “let’s do it!”.

We arrived as the light was fading – one time when we wished our boards didn’t need inflating! Luckily the free parking is really close to the canal and the aqueduct was only 100 metres along – this wasn’t the time for a leisurely cruise, although we’d love to go back and have a proper paddle in the area. Two boards inflated and photographer nominated and we were off. The lip on the canal trough across the aqueduct really isn’t high – no more than a foot (although it looks less in our photos), but somehow I didn’t feel scared – you don’t fall off your SUP board on flat water do you? So there was no reason to fall to your death here…

This was the first time we had ever seen Alan truly scared. When Simon announced he was getting on the Red Paddle Co Explorer WITH Alan to take some different shots he almost lost his nerve. It’s nice to know that everyone has a vulnerability.

We were losing light rapidly and really were lucky to get a few pictures at all, but the experience was a buzz – even more so with the fact it was a last minute adventure with no planning!

 

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