Sunday, 18 September 2016

The "Full Monty"!

Sunday 18th September, 2016 in Ellesmere.
The weather forecast had promised a fine day today, so we decided to set off before dawn (for the second time in three days). One reason was to ensure that we were close to the front in the queue for the locks to leave the Montgomery Canal, but the second reason was that it is a marvellous experience to witness the sky getting light as the sun rises and slowly banishes the early morning mist.

When M got up at 5:15, the moon was still high overhead and the stars bright in the dark sky.
We set off at quarter past six, just as it was beginning to get light.
It is surprising how quickly the day banishes night but the mist still lingers over the water.
M had resolved to walk the six miles along the towpath all the way back to the junction and Frankton Locks. About half an hour after we set off, the sun came up over the horizon.
As the sun rose, it made magical effects through the mist and the trees.
It was a delight for M to walk to towpath, with only fields and cows for company - and MM, of course, never far behind.
M was also able to set each of the three Aston Locks before MM arrived. Good lock-wheeling!
We arrived at the bottom of Frankton Locks at 9:30 to find that one other boat had beaten us to it - they had moored there overnight. The paddles of the top and bottom locks are chained overnight, so it is not possible to start until the lock-keeper arrives. We passed the time chatting to the other boaters, another two arrived soon after us.
The lock-keeper arrived about 11:30 and we were the second boat up through into the pound above the first two locks and below the staircase.
We had a bit of a wait while the first boat went through the staircase locks and then it was our turn. Quite a few gongoozlers were on hand to watch the boats go through.
At the top of the locks, we thanked the two lock-keepers and turned back on to the main line of the Llangollen.
M was very proud that she had not only walked the full length of the navigable Montgomery Canal but also the bits under renovation (last night). So - she declared that she had truly done "The Full Monty!"
The Montgomery is a short "there and back again" length of canal but very well worth doing and we are really glad we made the effort. It is very quiet and remote, with views to the Welsh hills and we wish the restoration group well in continuing with their project. Seeing the unrestored section made us much more aware of the huge undertaking they have in hand.
We decided that we would not moor tied up to a parking meter (it is the second time that we have seen a parking meter next to the canal)!
So, we pressed on to Ellesmere, where we moored up in the arm and went to Tesco for a "few bits" and M hung out the washing to dry.

We were going to reward ourselves with a delicious crepe at Coco's Coffee shop in the town - but it was closed. Rats! Never mind, there's always tomorrow.....
Today: 9 miles, 8 locks and 6.3 hours, 1 heron.
Trip: 381 miles, 261 locks and 277.0 hours.

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