Around Wales without a map

Normally I have a road map in the car, but the last one (a spiral bound large-format affair) had gradually come loose from its moorings: that’s to say the spiral binding was no longer binding, and I had discarded the loose leaves and useless twirl in disgust on the day I packed up to go on a trip to Wales. Not brilliant timing. Its replacement was still on the shop shelf, waiting for me to buy it, and I was dependent over the holiday on the Sat Nag.

There are many routes to travel up through Wales. On our return, we wanted to reach The Wirral from Aberdyfi – but without a map I wasn’t sure which route to take. The Sat Nag, by default, chose the fastest, which is not necessarily the best or prettiest.

In the end we aimed for Bala, where we stopped for lunch. Luckily a couple who sat on the table opposite us had recently bought a new 2013 road map and after they had finished consulting it I asked if I could have a little gaze at it….

We studied the map and considered our options. It seemed that Milly remembered a route they used to take via Llangollen and it was decided.

The last time I visited Llangollen I wasn’t ‘the daughter-in-law’ I was ‘the son’s girlfriend.’ I have been the daughter-in-law for 25 years now, so it has been a little while since we visited: and as soon as Llangollen was mentioned I knew that was the route I wanted to take.

It turns out that the place I particularly wanted to see is actually at a little place called Trevor. Anyhoo we found it eventually, and parked in the free car park and got out to have a look.

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct  is a fantastic feat of engineering, which carries the Llangollen Canal over the valley of the River Dee. Thank you Thomas Telford! This will give you some impression of the height and length of the structure.

On this side of the aqueduct there is a hand rail and a footpath.

but as you can see here there is no rail on the other side, which is a little disconcerting if you are the one steering the boat….

Some, however, don’t have a problem with walking close to the edge!

It is a very strange feeling, walking along the edge, looking out over the deep valley… and quite exhilarating!

There is a small exhibition with details of recent renovations and it is well worth a visit. The waterways of Britain were so important for transport during the industrial revolution and the aqueduct was the only solution for the canal to navigate over the wide river valley.

In some areas a system of locks was used, but the sheer depth of the valley would have made this an non-viable option.

We had a cup of tea at the canal basin as we watched boats coming and going, and a little rest before making our way back to the car and the rest of the journey home.


Feature picture source here



  1. Wonderful, weird, and there are not enough pounds in the Exchequer to pay me to up there. Nay! 😀

    1. It’s fine, really…. just don’t look down!

  2. I got vertigo just looking at the pic.

    1. The river valley is so beautiful and so worth a visit.

  3. I didn’t like this post. I *LOVED* it!

    1. thank you!

  4. I want to visit – it is now in my diary – thanks.

    1. the whole area is worth a visit.

  5. Great post and pictures. Next time we make it to Great Britain, we’ll have to do some travelling through Wales. I’ve been in Scotland, and I’ve been in a few places in England (mostly London and a few places in southern England), but I’ve yet to visit Wales. Someday. 😀

    1. Mr V… there’s so much to see and do in Wales, I hope you make it someday!

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