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 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.
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)!
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.