The northern entrance to 421m Chirk Tunnel, along which the tow path disappearance into the pitch blackness.

Today I visited Chirk with my son. We parked at the iron gates of Chirk Castle and walked to the Llangollen Canal. Opened in 1806, the canal navigates the Ceiriog valley first through Chirk Tunnel, a full 421m in length, and then over Thomas Telford’s Chirk Aqueduct.

Just inside Chirk Tunnel’s northern entrance

We entered the northern end of Chirk Tunnel and traversed its full length without a torch. We navigated using the handrail. The pitch blackness and the half-hidden light at the end of the tunnel (due to a slight kink in the orientation of the tunnel) made proceeding sligthly awkward. My son was very brave.

Chirk Aqueduct and Railway Viaduct

At the other end there was a pool and then along the tow path we crossed the ten-span Chirk Aqueduct. The later railway viaduct runs beside it on the western side and at a higher level. Once across, we were able to watch two trains pass by on the viaduct and one boat on the aqueduct. The railway viaduct has some striking neo-Classical niches.

The Chirk Railway Viaduct
Chirk viaduct and aqueduct – both in use

On the way back, we once again traversed the tunnel, despite a warning from a group of cubs’ leader that there was a monster in the tunnel that always claims the last person in any group to go through. We went first, leaving them to their fate.