24-Feb-2007 -- As Dr. Karl Donert had invited me to assist in the promotion of geographic inquiry through Geographic Information Systems (GIS) this week at Liverpool Hope University, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect way to end our week of thinking spatially.
After visiting the wonderfully odd and fascinating Williamson Tunnels in Liverpool, followed by a tour of Liverpool's Catholic Cathedral, we set off for points south. Nicole adeptly maneuvered us around traffic circles and a variety of land use and landforms until we were heading south across fascinating arched bridges. We left the A55 at Chester, crossed into Wales, and drove south on the A483 motorway. At Rhosllanerchrugog, we turned east on Bangor Road, where suddenly, life became much quieter. In less than 2 kilometers, just after Sontley Road, Nicole deftly perched us on the edge of the road. We were less than 100 meters from the confluence. Karl and I took off on foot as a light sprinkle was falling. We descended a steep, slippery footpath and suddenly found ourselves at the scene of so many before us: The single lane winding up toward Crabtree Green, the fence, and the ditch.
After just a few minutes, we located the confluence very near where the drainage ditch is funnelled underground. A great deal of flotsam and jetsam had accumulated there, and we gingerly stepped on the logs in an attempt to zero out the unit while not falling into the ditch. I was never quite able to do so, even after leaning over the fence, due to the heavy tree cover. At first I thought it might be one meter north of the fence, but after we had a pleasant stroll up the lane and then returned to the site, I now believe that it is on the debris at the north side of the lane, over the drainage ditch.
The confluence thus lies on land sloping 5 degrees to the west, in a beautiful small valley that includes a half dozen houses surrounded by fields. The landscape is wonderfully rolling with much forest still remaining. Karl and I remarked how excellent the site would be to take a geography class on a field study excursion, as we could discuss much about land use and the processes of physical geography. The river terraces were clearly visible on the slope to the north. We saw no animals, a few birds, and no people during our visit. The skies were cloudy with light rain, but the temperature a mild 11 C (52 F) for mid February.
This was the first time I had stood on 3 degrees West, and the second time I had stood on 53 North. This was my 3rd confluence of this trip to the UK, raising my total confluences in the country to six. I was grateful that Karl and Nicole had wanted to drive out here and we all felt centered after the experience.
We spent about 20 minutes at the site, and then reluctantly clambered up the slope, a bit more slippery now due to the rain. I tried to wipe my shoes off as we walked back across the road, and we then told Nicole the good news about our successful journey. We drove to Crabtree Green, turned around, and drove back the way we came. As wonderful as the confluence trip was, we then passed one of the most wonderful afternoons together, in the fascinating city of Chester. The confluence visit indeed proved to be the perfect capstone to our week of geotechnologies. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with two of the finest people I know on an unforgettable day.