Pontcysyllte Aqueduct: The UNESCO Canal in the Sky

Happy St. David’s Day! For those that are unaware, St. David is the patron saint of Wales, which is where my post takes us this week.

Before the days of motorways and interstates, or even railways, canals were the transportation backbone of many countries. In the United Kingdom, the canal network was nothing less than a marvel of the Industrial Revolution.

Some of the most impressive sights of this time were the aqueducts used to carry canals across valleys. And perhaps the most striking of all still stands to this day in Pontcysyllte, Wales. Even more amazing, it’s still in use, although these days by holiday makers instead of industry.

Looking Up at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct from the River Dee

Looking Up at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct from the River Dee

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct crossing the valley of the Dee

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct crossing the valley of the Dee

Soaring 126 feet above the River Dee on 18 stone pillars, Pontcysyllte (which aptly means the bridge that connects in Welsh) is the highest navigable aqueduct ever built. It was constructed over 200 years ago, by Thomas Telford and William Jessop, two engineering giants of their day.

The Trevor Basin at the north end of the aqueduct

The Trevor Basin at the north end of the aqueduct

The canal was originally planned to go to Wrexham, but the coming of the railways stopped all that

The canal was originally planned to go to Wrexham, but the coming of the railways stopped all that

Holiday barge heading up the Llangollen canal from Trevor Basin, having just crossed the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Holiday barge heading up the Llangollen Canal from Trevor Basin, having just crossed the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, leaping out across the Dee Valley

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, leaping out across the Dee Valley

Hesitating at the brink

Hesitating at the brink

Come on! You'd hesitate, too!

Come on! You’d hesitate, too!

The Llangollen Canal crosses Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in a cast iron trough, one of the earliest aqueducts to use this method. The trough is 1007 feet long, 11 feet 10 inches wide, and 5 feet 3 inches deep. Over 50 million litres of water (more than 13 million US gallons) flow through it each day.

1000 feet seems a long way, when you're 126 feet up in the air

1000 feet seems a long way, when you’re 126 feet up in the air

Rich's Mum and Dad feeling much too exposed

Rich’s Mum and Dad feeling much too exposed

Although this family of ducks doesn't seem to mind

Although this family of ducks doesn’t seem to mind

Beside the trough runs a pathway, which is exposed enough to make most people hesitate. Also note, there’s no railing on the trough side of the bridge!

It's a long way down to the River Dee below

It’s a long way down to the River Dee below

Although again, the ducks don't seem to mind

Although again, the ducks don’t seem to mind

And the views from up here are spectacular!

And the views from up here are spectacular!

Rainbow over the Cefn Mawr Railway Viaduct to the east

Rainbow over the Cefn Mawr Railway Viaduct to the east

In 2009, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and 11 miles of the Llangollen Canal, were given UNESCO World Heritage status.

View from the other end

View from the other end

Time to head back across

Time to head back across

Panorama from the centre of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, with brooding clouds over England (to the left), blue skies over Wales, and the Sun over the River Dee

Panorama from the centre of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, with brooding clouds over England (to the left), blue skies over Wales, and the Sun over the River Dee

This post was inspired by this photo themes of The Road Taken and Hesitate from the Daily Post, Exposure from Jennifer’s One Word Photo Challenge, and Looking Up At Things from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, not to mention Cee’s Which Way Challenge.

The duck family having a well-earned rest

The duck family having a well-earned rest

the-great-migration-coverthe-pride-of-london-coverThe first two Jaspa’s Journey adventures, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats! Click here for more information. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes later this year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: www.jaspasjourney.com And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
This entry was posted in Adventure, History, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage Site, United Kingdom and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Pontcysyllte Aqueduct: The UNESCO Canal in the Sky

  1. Cee Neuner says:

    This post certainly does work for a lot of challenges. Isn’t fun when you can do that. I like the little rainbow in the sky photo. Terrific post.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge-The-Road-Taken – WoollyMuses

  3. klara says:

    wow, how cool is it that you could get up there, walk, take photos. I never imagined one could walk on aqueduct.

  4. Very impressive! Evidently only the narrowboats can use this canal, but what fun to travel there (until you have to turn around.)

    janet

  5. mukhamani says:

    Fantastic, thank you for sharing 🙂

  6. browney237 says:

    Amazing place.
    Not sure I’d be game to walk over – I’m not a fan of heights!

  7. Pingback: The Road Taken: Atmosphere | What's (in) the picture?

  8. Cee Neuner says:

    I would walk that bridge. What a view and the ducks are precious.

  9. Pingback: Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – March 3, 2017 – Cee's Photography

  10. Cee Neuner says:

    Congratulations! I have featured your post on my Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge.
    http://wp.me/p3ZTqs-5Sx
    I sure hope you have a marvelous weekend.

  11. thoughts36 says:

    I keep seeing photos of this aqueduct, it looks beautiful. I love canals so shall make it my mission to visit there this summer, it must only be a couple of hours away from me and yet I have never been there.

    • Jaspa says:

      Rich grew up (until the age of 11) less than 10 miles away, yet this was the first time he’d walked across it, so it’s never too late! Now I want to ride a narrowboat across!

  12. goannasnake says:

    Definitely not one for the faint-hearted!

  13. margaret21 says:

    A terrific exploration of this week’s theme, and some dramatic shots.

  14. Pingback: Cee’s Weekly Wrap March 4, 2017 and DP Weekly Photo Challenge-The Road Taken – Cee's Photography

  15. Pingback: One Word Photo Challenge: Fabricated – Jennifer Nichole Wells

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