Waking up on a boat, on most days, is splendid. If you’ve moored in the right spot you will have the sun begging to shine through a curtain, a splashing of hungry ducks will be pecking expectantly at the hatch and there will not be a 36 metre high aqueduct some miles in front of you.
Today was not that day. Tomorrow wouldn’t be either- not if you don’t cross it today! So cross it we must! The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct knows you must cross it- if you want to see all the beauty that Llangollen holds and it really does try it’s best to be accommodating- you really have to cross this unpronounceable bridge.
This aqueduct is the highest canal aqueduct in the world and the longest in Great Britain, because of this, it is a massive tourist draw. People flow to this site- not just for those of us lucky enough to be on boats- but giddy people in canoes- pedestrians. It is clear that the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct wants everyone to enjoy it’s majesty. Therefore, it has a footpath that makes the crossing over the River Dee and the Vale of Llangollen a delight for walkers and my favourite- dog walkers.
I’m using words like ‘delight’ and ‘enjoy’ because I am naturally quite an optimistic person. However, for those scared of heights (or in my case ‘scared of bridges’) the Pontcysyllte will require a little more than just optimism.
Approaching the aqueduct it is best to not know that the 18 arched stones actually taper as they reach the top and are largely hollow. This Grade 1 listed building and World Heritage Site holds it’s own in grandeur even when compared with other World Heritage Sites like Stone Hedge. Completed by 1805 the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct took ten years to design and build. Yet, it can be appreciated via boat in under ten minutes.
Would I recommend the boat journey over the Pontcysyllte? Yes, I would. As a person who suffers from a fear of heights I definitely never thought I’d be able to be outside on the stern as we crossed the aqueduct. Yet, as the view approached I found it somewhat helpful to stay focused on enjoying the moment and not letting any negative doubts or fears into my mind. That’s where being an optimist does come in handy.
Have you been on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct? What is your top tip for avoiding the vertigo? Please share your comments below.