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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.

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