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Sunday, 25 May 2014

Llangollen Canal May 2014 - Day 5

After a peaceful night at Maesbury we set off around 9am to the winding hole at the end of the current limit of navigation of the Montgomery Canal. Through the lift bridge, a neat winding then back up the canal.
Gronwen Wharf - Limit of navigation.
Near Maesbury Marsh.
Up the three Aston locks we passed Queens Head and entered the narrow section up to Heath Houses, then a couple of long straights up to Perry Aquaduct.
Former Packet Terminal for passengers at Heath Houses,  a service ran between
Newtown and here for passengers to change to the nearby railway.

Former basin for the nearby bone works.
We arrived early again for our passage up Frankton locks with a similar chaos, this time exaberated by a female volunteer with no clue whatsoever so another long passage up the locks. She kept us waiting in the middle pound which was again low, resulting in a tipping boat. The chap in the nearby house told us it was his daily entertainment watching boats grind to a halt in the muddy pound. Apparently the lower locks when rebuilt are of differing dimensions causing a shortage of water in the middle pound when under heavy useage.
Pulling over in the middle pound to wait for downwards boats.
Frankton Staircase Locks.
We turned left onto the Llangollen passing Maestermyn and Hindford, then tackling the 2 New Marton Locks, topping up with water at the top lock, then cruised past St Martins Moor.
Entering a narrow section after St Martins Moor we passed a large number of hire boats heading home to the various bases, we cheekily winded at Lion Quays, plenty of room for a 62 footer to turn, then headed back to St Martins Moor to moor for the night. We will complete the journey to Llangollen when next on the boat in July.
Near St Martins Moor
St Martins Moor
More fishing whilst father took his turn at preparing the evening meal before settling down for the night. Not a drop of rain today for a change.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Llangollen Canal May 2014 - Day 4

After a very quiet night on the Ellesmere mooring, we awoke to grey sky however the forecast was for improvement. We where in no hurry to get away as it was only a few miles to Frankton Junction for our 12 midday appointment at Frankton Locks. We turned at the junction and onto the waterpoint and services next to the old canal company offices Beech House.
Beech House opposite the junction.
We filled the water tank and disposed of the rubbish then headed off slowly towards Tetchill, along the way we passed a group of ladies stuffed into the offside bank (henceforth called Damsels in Distress as we passed and repassed each other) with the weed hatch up and masses of white stuff in the hatch. We offered help and towed them to the next bit of armco whence I was roped in to trying to remove a double quilt round the prop that had stalled the engine. A good half hour later it was all in 2 black bin bags, it took some sawing with a breadknife and scissors to remove it! Prop checked and Engine started we where rewarded with a very nice and expensive looking bottle of red wine.
More black clouds at Tetchill but no rain.
We arrived at Frankton Junction to find ten boats already there, we thought they only let a few boats down each day? there was 12 down and 5 up today. No room for mooring in the short arm where they where 3 abreast so we had to wait before the bridge.
Waiting for Frankton Lock.
We had a long wait whilst the lock keeper controlled the downs and ups, we where there at 11.15 and it was 2pm by the time we entered the first lock. What a stupid system, the lockie is around most of the day in summer, so why not stagger the booking times say between 11am and 3pm instead of condensing it all in to 2 hours with the chaos that ensues!
At last, front of the queue.

The locks are nicely situated, with good views over the countryside. Once in the 2 rise staircase we where quickly down, however the pound below was low, and as Gill had to pass another boat just outside the lock she grounded and it was so low she was not coming off, so we had to wait a while until the next down ward boat brought a lock full of water with it.
In the staircase.
Going down.
Stuck in the middle pound.
In the lower pound. That was low too so Gill stuck firmly to the middle.
We cleared Frankton locks and set off down towards the end of the canal which is currently only 7 miles long, some blue sky now which was welcome, through the shallow Graham Palmer lock and across Perry Aqueduct towards Heath Houses and Queens Head. All moorings taken so we carried on through the 3 Aston Locks to Maesbury Marsh and moored next to the wooden Canal Central shop, tea room and restaurant.
Ham Houses
Aston Top Lock
Another early evening spent fishing before we walked down to the end of the current navigable section and took a look at the next restored section which is partially in water. Lunch on board again with the excellent wine provided by the Damsels in distress.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Llangollen Canal May 2014 Day 3

Monday we woke latish, around 8am, whilst having breakfast the grass cutters and strimmer's arrived to clear the towpath and moorings, glad to say they strimmed the edges apart from next to the boat, the grass was wet from overnight so when pulling the pins we had wet grass stuck to our boots which ended up all over the cockpit and stern.
Setting off towards Prees Junction we spotted NB Lois - Jane who blog about their life on the cut NB Lois-Jane moored at Prees Junction.
NB Lois-Jane.
We had booked to go down onto the Montgomery Canal at midday on Tuesday so we where not in a hurry and took it easy heading to Ellesmere. We pulled over to have a look at the Fenns nature reserve just past Prees Junction with views over the Mosses.
View over Fenn's Moss.
Rain was still on and off as we joined a small convoy near Hampton Bank, despite the clouds we could see over to the Welsh hills.
Convoy at Hampton Bank.
Getting near to Lyneal Wharf we started to get a few bright periods.
Lyneal Wharf.
I pulled over at Cole Mere for an early lunch, we had good views over the Mere.
Lunch at Cole Mere.
Moving on after lunch we headed past Blake Mere, when we where caught in a sudden downpour, including hailstone's I had to reach for the brolley, only lasted a few minutes.
Hail Storm.
The sun then came out for the cruise into Ellesmere, we headed down the arm easily finding a mooring not too near the winding hole. Shame to find that the old Shropshire Union Warehouse has not found a good use yet, sure it would make a nice cafe or restaurant if this is the only way of preserving it.
Ellesmere Arm, old Shropshire Union warehouse and crane.
Leaving Gill to do a little shopping in the town, Father and I walked the long way round to the Mere via the towpath and the Motte and Bailey and then had a look at the older part of the town, some black clouds around but any further rain held off.
Sculpture trail near the Motte and Bailey.
Fine old School House.
Timbered Cottage.
Ellesmere Church.
We walked down to the Mere visitor centre, dodging the protective Geese guarding the Goslings, and walking part way round the Mere before heading back to the boat for dinner.
Geese and Goslings

Monday, 19 May 2014

Llangollen Canal May 2014 - Day 1 and 2.

We have just spent a week on our share owner NB Centurion now based at Wrenbury Mill on the Llangollen Canal.
Day 1
After a long drive from Norfolk, we stocked with food and drink at Whitchurch, then loaded up at the base by the lift bridge. Waiting for father to arrive we sorted out bedding, clothes, food, etc then left the boatyard to moor on the visitor moorings near the nursery at Whitchurch. We hit our first obstacle here when we discovered one of the water pumps leaking from the pump body, the carpet by the bed was soaked. A quick call to ABC at Wrenbury had the pump changed within an hour and we attempted to dry out the carpet. Later Gill cooked a nice meal, eaten with some lovely wine.
Moored opposite a Pink Floyd Fan.
Day 2
The Sunday brought rain, a steady drizzle to begin with, so after my normal narrow boat breakfast of bacon butties I put on full wet weather gear and we set off up the Llangollen Canal. The canal was not busy as we headed for the locks.
Quiet stretch of canal near Marbury.
We first had Marbury lock to do, only a short queue of 1 boat, before heading through the other locks to Grindley Brook.
Waiting for Marbury Lock.
Nice stretch near Quoisley Lock.
We pushed on to moor for lunch before the old railway bridge before Grindley Brook.
We then ascended the Grindley Brook locks, fist time ever we have seen no queue here. We where still having the occasional shower but nothing too heavy.
We had help up the staircase locks by some volunteers, making for a quick journey up the flight.
Grindley Brook Locks.
Waiting for the gates to the top rise.
We carried on through the rain which sometimes got heavier, through Whitchurch, with most of the Yellow peril fleet at base, then through various lift bridges,and along the winding canal past Fenns Bank, stopping to allow father a little time to explore the old Cambrian Railway Whitchurch to Welshpool line which crossed the canal before finally calling it a day just after Platt Lane. Plenty of time for a little fishing before dinner, mainly Perch and Roach where caught. Too wet later to walk down to the Waggoner's Inn for a beer.
Peaceful mooring near Platt Lane.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Earsham Hall Classic Car Show

Sunday of the Bank Holiday weekend we attended Earsham Hall for a classic car show, the first show under our new identity of Phoenix CVC. Was a nice day, with plenty of cars to see, however I was struck down with Hay Fever, first time ever for me, I had runny eyes and non stop sneezing, not pleasant and surrounded by Rape fields and tree blossom it was not the ideal place to be. Under control now though.
I only took just a few pics of the event so here they are.

A week on the narrowboat next, looking forward to dodging the hire boats on the Llangollen canal.