Well we had great weather for a weeks hire from Anglo Welsh. I started at Trevor, turned left across the Ponty, got as far as the Monty and diverted for two days to Maesbury. Re entered the Llan and went to Ellesemere, then back up to Llan itself for a very nice overnight before turning round and returning to Trevor.
Anglo Welsh: Pretty good. The boat, Lacewing, a 65 footer, was not bad at all. Everything worked and worked fine. Couple of niggles: the potable water pump was a "fortnight" pump (too weak!) and the ropes provided were risible. Three lines, fore, mid and aft, of about twenty foot each. They did the job but no more. I'd use AW again though, and thats the final arbiter.
The Llangollen itself...I think I'll steer clear in future. The bit into Llan was great and e enjoyed it, and the basin, but the stretch from Trevor to the Monty is populated by rude nutters. I was overtaken three times on the first afternoon by some very clever Number 1s who oh so clearly knew that I was utterly incompetent because I was hiring. At one point I was coming round a blind corner that was too tight for my boat so I was, I admit, straddling the centre of the canal. Because of this I made sound signals and proceeded dead slow in accordance with the colregs. Around the corner came a smart Number 1 doing flank speed! He slammed it into a canal churning reverse, lost all steerage and rammed the bank. He then lectured me on the rules of the road. I said something like "sorry mate, cant hear over the noise of your engine" and drove away. Even if I was doing it all wrong (I wasnt), his speed was daft. He lost control, not me.
On another occasion I came through the ellesmere tunnel which ends in a blind corner. Once again, sound sigs and dead slow ahead. As I was halfway through around pops another Number 1, slams into reverse and gives me a dirty look. When in ear shot he says "didnt you hear my sound signal???" I replied, "No, sorry. Didnt you hear mine?" He mumbled no and prepared for another go. I could have had some sympathy if he was single handed but he had a surfeit of crew and and could easily have sent someone ahead for a look.
There's no escaping the fact that hirers are treated like dirt on the llan!
Then there's the Canal Boat Club! Stories for another day.
All in all, I am glad I did the Ponty and would recommend anyone to do it, after that do the Monty, which is lovely. Then do another canal, the Llan isnt worth the hassle in summer. I have a feeling it might be bliss in the winter though.