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Pontcysyllte Aqueduct- how many spans?

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This World Heritage Structure has been looked at in minute detail by canal historians and is appreciated by many. Historic Wales list the correct number of spans as 19, although Wikepedia seems to believe there are 18 arches. Whether the word arch or span is used the number is still 19. There are 18 intermediate supporting pillars and two pillars at either end of the aqueduct. The tallest pillars are the four that have their foundations in the  bed of river Dee. The end pier on the Trevor side is the shortest with the base embedded in the hillside.  All piers in the Froncysyllte side are of similar height although steadily increasing along the flood plain to the river bank. The first pier and  the second pier (the first intermediate pier) are full height and have their base in the bed of the flood plain, the embankment that surrounds both was added during construction as spoil was moved by contractors to make the embankment so that boats could access the aqueduct channel.

 

Attaches is a copy of the engraving from the Atlas in the Life of Thomas Telford, that shows the extent the pillars were constructed.  

Pontcysyllte20.jpg

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Looks awesome in the elevation - I've seen it many times, but one never gets quite that view. If you'd asked me how many spans I wouldn't have known, I'd never thought about it, which isn't like me.

 

I have gone off the view from it though... tendency to vertigo

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Just reading a biography of Telford called 'Man of Iron.' He put some hours in, we think we worked hard. 

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Off thread I know but does anyone here know how much of a slope the canal is set at, or how many feet the canal drops from Llangollen Basin to the first lock down? We are currently up this way and there does appear to be a noticeable up or downwards slope to the water level. I may well be imagining it though.

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I walked along it last week en route back home from work. Met up with a local and I asked him the correct pronunciation. Phonetically, it went like this ... 

 

Pont ka stecth tee or Pont ka stucth  tee

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2 hours ago, ianali said:

Off thread I know but does anyone here know how much of a slope the canal is set at, or how many feet the canal drops from Llangollen Basin to the first lock down? We are currently up this way and there does appear to be a noticeable up or downwards slope to the water level. I may well be imagining it though.

I doubt the canal slopes, but the water will - the canal is fed at the 'top' from the river, and the locks will draw water so the water will 'slope' down - how much will depend on how much is feeding in and how much is being drawn or flowing down the bywash. As I remember the narrow section just before llangollen can be quite hard work against the current, but you get a good run on the way back.

 

springy  

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30 minutes ago, springy said:

I doubt the canal slopes, but the water will - the canal is fed at the 'top' from the river, and the locks will draw water so the water will 'slope' down - how much will depend on how much is feeding in and how much is being drawn or flowing down the bywash. As I remember the narrow section just before llangollen can be quite hard work against the current, but you get a good run on the way back.

 

springy  

You may be correct but looking up or down gives a definite impression of a slope. Mind you I have always been easily impressed lol .

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Just now, Boater Sam said:

Get the skis out and try it out. Some shared ownership boats try it frequently.

Yes I’ve noticed. Due to unforeseen circumstances we have been up around Trevor and Llangollen for a month or more. Has been quite entertaining at times. Like it a lot up here.

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3 hours ago, Markinaboat said:

I walked along it last week en route back home from work. Met up with a local and I asked him the correct pronunciation. Phonetically, it went like this ... 

 

Pont ka stecth tee or Pont ka stucth  tee

I prefer ponti-skill-it.

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4 hours ago, ianali said:

Off thread I know but does anyone here know how much of a slope the canal is set at, or how many feet the canal drops from Llangollen Basin to the first lock down? We are currently up this way and there does appear to be a noticeable up or downwards slope to the water level. I may well be imagining it though.

Backwater curve calculations would suggest about 6 inches on each of the two long levels (above and below New Marton). To put that in perspective, the pound from Wheaton Aston to Tyrley  (17 miles of "still" water) slopes by around 2 inches 

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1 minute ago, magpie patrick said:

Backwater curve calculations would suggest about 6 inches on each of the two long levels (above and below New Marton). To put that in perspective, the pound from Wheaton Aston to Tyrley  (17 miles of "still" water) slopes by around 2 inches 

 

I seem to remember reading somewhere that the huge numbers of horse drawn loaded coal boats from the Cannock coalfield heading along the Wyrley and Essington during the daytime pushed a pile of water towards Wolverhampton, resulting in the water level there being rather higher than at Anglesea Basin, despite the water coming in from Chasewater.  And during the night, with fewer boats on the move, it all ran back again.

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5 minutes ago, David Mack said:

 

I seem to remember reading somewhere that the huge numbers of horse drawn loaded coal boats from the Cannock coalfield heading along the Wyrley and Essington during the daytime pushed a pile of water towards Wolverhampton, resulting in the water level there being rather higher than at Anglesea Basin, despite the water coming in from Chasewater.  And during the night, with fewer boats on the move, it all ran back again.

There was talk about 'tides' on the W&E but with boats running the other way empty Im not sure how much of it was apocryphal.

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Of course, water is only flat in relation to the curvature of the earth. I have seen some calculations with regard to this done by early canal engineers as it was thought important when setting out long lengths. Wind also has an effect on water levels, and it was suggested to me by an old section inspector at Burscough, Bill Mason, that the Liverpool pool (lengths of canal between locks were called pools on the L&LC) could vary by up to 6 inches at either end in a strong wind. Bill did not suffer fools gladly, and though I got on well with him, he did rub some pleasure boaters up the wrong way. I recently found a file of letters in the Waterways Archive from the 1970s complaining about him.

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19 hours ago, mark99 said:

I prefer ponti-skill-it.

sounds more like it to me too!

Edited by Markinaboat
typo

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I think Markinaboat in post #5 is closer - pont-ka-suth-tay, that's how I've heard it pronounced by a Welsh speaking English woman who could converse in Welsh pretty well.

Edited by Derek R.
Added text

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My wife has several Welsh speaking relatives (her parents were Welsh).

 

I've asked various ones how it's pronounced and no two pronounced it the same ?

  • Greenie 1

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On 14/06/2018 at 16:15, Derek R. said:

I think Markinaboat in post #5 is closer - pont-ka-suth-tay, that's how I've heard it pronounced by a Welsh speaking English woman who could converse in Welsh pretty well.

Agreed the suth may be more sith and the combination sith-tay is pronounced in a way that comes only from much practice, theres no real comparable sound in English almost Silthtay but not quite.
As cuthound says a lot depends on where the welsh speaker comes from, local mutations in the welsh language exist the same as accents do, someone from one town could tell someone from a nearby town quite easily but someone from further away would think they both had the same accent.

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Never been there, but one way or another I'll probably end up doing it on someone's boat one day. Meanwhile, it being so famous, there's an occasional need to refer to it in conversation, so I just call it the Ponty-wotsit aqueduct and people know the one I mean. I'm far enough away from Wales that I feel I can be excused my near total ignorance of the language.

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6 hours ago, Peter X said:

Never been there, but one way or another I'll probably end up doing it on someone's boat one day. Meanwhile, it being so famous, there's an occasional need to refer to it in conversation, so I just call it the Ponty-wotsit aqueduct and people know the one I mean. I'm far enough away from Wales that I feel I can be excused my near total ignorance of the language.

 

It is an experience not to be missed - the nearest you will get to flying in a boat ?

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