Eilean Donan Built By Accountants

Eilean Donan (not) sat sitting in the middle of Hurleston Reservoir’s ninety-six million gallons of fish-poop and seagull-pee. Ideal perhaps for a brief sojourn during a Zoombie apockyclypse – until the Llangollen stops flowing and the reservoir runs dry…

For the geographically challenged among us, this is the real Eilean Donan in Scotchland – blown to smithereens in 1719 by the Spainish, “rebuilt” in 1932…

Eilean Donan – (re)built in 1932.

Yep, I woke up the other morning and the Cardinal had moved us on again while I slept. He put us on some moorings that previously I have only mooched past, there being legit room for perhaps two or three boats – and the oft chaotic lower landings for the Hurleston Lock flight in das shoulder-rubbing proximity. It is a little quieter though, which is why the Cardinal tells me he thought he’d risk it for a couple of days.

Bottom of Hurleston Locks, Shropshire Union, Cardinal Wolsey 508533 09/10/2021

There’s an internet tree growing close by and, should the whim to spin around and go back in the direction from whence I came come upon me, turning is possible below the bottom lock.

On a busy day the traffic at this junction is almost as much fun to watch – from a distance – as is Barbridge Junction.

Hurleston Junction, Magical Stuff – were it not for that ruddy green box monstrosity. Cardinal Wolsey 508533 09/10/2021

The bridge is blind until the last few yards, the queue for the lock forms both sides of the bridge, and those coming down the locks may turn in either direction. The lock landing immediately under the bottom lock has polite room for one boat and is out of sight of those queuing from the south. The edge of the canal sports a fine example of the ‘Shroppie Shelf‘ – and a bend, all designed to make shuffling about interesting and getting off the edge for those who still think that a 70′ hire boat drives like a 12′ car ahm-poss-ee-bluh. So long as you’re not one of those stuck on the shelf or engaged in fisticuffs because of a misunderstanding in re the order of the (split) queue – fascinating.

Hurleston Junction, Cardinal Wolsey, 508533. 09/10/2021

So how does a chap moor when there is a damnable two-hundred year old concrete shelf poking out ten inches from the side, eight inches under-water? A chap moors his boat on wheels of course…

Cardinal Wolsey on wheels, Hurleston Junction, Shropshire Union, 09/10/2021

Fourteen-inch trolley wheels dangling from short lines and – as long as boats pass at a well-behaved velocity – floating horizontally to keep the hull away from the concrete.

If a boat speeds past it can knock the wheels upright, in which case the first sign is a terrible graunching noise as the lip of the baseplate and the sides of the hull make blacking-paint-removing contact. The canal is quite wide here so we’ve more chance than usual of a civilised, non-grinding stay. I hope.

Being moored so does rather stretch the old gusset when stepping on and orf though… and it is as well to check each time that the gap is unchanged before sticking out a Gucci Loafer and waggling it about in search of terra firma.

This is the water flowing from the Llangollen Canal to feed the reservoir and supply the local townships with tea, coffee, and something other than stale champagne with which to flush the bog:

This was/is/would be/will be in times of hydro-crisis the emergency overflow outflow:

…although I prefer to refer to it as the Hurleston Branch of the Shropshire Union, a very short, overly-narrow branch, with room for one boat and no winding hole. You may just make out some very, very impressive ironmongery in the form of a huge pipe and an equally huge wheel atop which which to staunch of to facilitate the flow.

It is possible to perambulate completely around the reservoir, which is what I did done, occasionally stopping to misquote Cagney by shouting ‘Top of the world, Ma!’

The elevation has to be all of perhaps 40′ but it’s amazing what views just that affords.

The rise of the locks is something on the order of 34′ something something blah blah blah.

There are four locks here and I went up and, necessarily, also down them (solo) a few weeks ago on my ill-advised, too-early-in-the-season foray onto the Llangollen. I’ll be up them again soon enough, there are some v.pleasant moorings a couple of bends hence. I do enjoy a nice mooring around the bend.

Not today though.

Today’s a day for watching the world (attempting to) go by.

…and for doing one or two jobs from the long, long list of jobs to be done.

Also for watching the Audi SUV & Labradoodle & Baby-Sling Slung First (and only) Carefully-Planned Fruit of Mummy & Daddy’s Eco-Loins out on their (weekends only) Walks for Africa (or whatever else thoroughly lame “cause” is in vogue), checking the pedometers on their iPhones while their dogs pi*ss over my mooring ropes.

It’s quite fun when that happens to simply shout out ‘Tarquin!’ or ‘Jocasta!’ and see how even the dog looks up in answer to its name.

Generally it’s also the only way to tell the parents apart, since they’ll be dressed identically and both will be sporting hipster/millenial beards, Save The Whale tattoos and expressions on their faces such as are worn only by those whose idea of “fun” is an evening spent with friends drinking tofu wine and checking their declared pronouns for imperialism and micro-aggressions.

Enough, Hutson, enough. As I’ve mentioned once or twice before, I’m really not a people person.

Not until protein becomes difficult to obtain, anyway.

In a week or two, by the look of the news.

Then people will be (back) on the menu.

Whither hence from here? The Greek and Romans gods alone may know. I could go onwards, backwards, or sideways. I shall have to toss my three-sided coin to decide.

Chin-chin, chaps, for the mo.



    1. My elders and betters cling to the theory that it was an early attempt at mitigating the effect of the wash produced by working boats back in the day. These boats worked day and night, time was money and so they weren’t slow pootlers as we, the strange creatures in their far-distant future, are. My theory is that those building the canal just didn’t give it a thought and built it the least-difficult way that they could for the least money… 😉


  1. I left a reply…but I think it has disappeared into the maw of WordPress…or I have become a non person…..
    It was only to suggest that judicious use of the air horn might failitate passage of that junction….at sparrowfart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would indeed, and it were wot as woz only my attempt at taking pity on the local residents did confound and confusticate – as did the actions of the other boat, being similarly church-mouse-ish. One hundred and twenty duodecadeadibels makes an awfully loud wake-up call. 😉

      No idea what has happened to your earlier comment, I’ve checked in the old spamination folders and suchlike and there’s no sign. I blame my banana-republic government and its brown-shirted bureaucrats. Thank’ee, and my apologies for whatever the hiccough was.


    1. It’s the scrapey-graunchy noises that make my toes curl (and not in a good way). Someone’s bright (and silly, very silly) idea from two centuries ago bites boats on the bum.

      Mind you, whoever it was put the mooring rings in around here managed to totally avoid there being any two rings matching -any- known length of boat… Every boat here is on one ring and the other end is on pins.

      Let us never accuse the Human Species of being particularly intelligent [Proverbs 62:14, King Neptune Version.]

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