Thursday, 21 June 2018

Duddleston Bridge

Having failed to write a blog for a few days, this entry will be a brief catch up including some pictures taken to get us back on track.     Sunday 10/6. Travelled from Nantwich to Hurleston Junction. Through Hurleston Lock onto the Llangollen Canal then moored between bridges 12 and 13. Total distance 5 Miles including 4 Hurleston Locks and 2 Swanley Locks.
Looking back down Hurleston Locks
Mooring by bridge 12 Llangollen Canal
Monday 11/6. Travelled to below Grindley Brook Locks a distance of 8 Miles and included a total of 7 Locks. We had a brief stop at the Willeymoor Lock Tavern for lunch and then due to it being a scorcher, took a mooring under some trees which cooled the boat by about 5 degrees.
Shady mooring below Grindley Brook
Tuesday 12/6. We travelled to Duddleston Bridge 4 miles away which included the 6 Locks at Grindley Brook, and 3 lift bridges which the crew had to wind up manually. Wednesday 13/6. Our journey took us through Bettisfield which we remembered was very shallow last time we passed this way. Just beyond the village we stopped for lunch at a nice spot so stayed there for the night. Distance travelled 6 Miles.
   
Mooring and views at Bettisfield
Thursday 14/6. Took us to Ellesmere where we planned to stay put for a few days. This was a distance of 4 miles and at the junction with the Ellesmere Arm we turned left and moored opposite the Wharf. We were allowed 72 hours here rather than the usual 48 and this suited our purposes.
Ellesmere Wharf Buildings
Side hatch view back to Junction
Friday 15/6. and Saturday 16/6.  We entertained friends who had travelled from Kent to visit us. We went on a cruise up to Frankton Locks and back on the Saturday which was a total distance of 6 miles. Sunday 17/6. Our friends having departed we needed to visit Blackwater Marina for services. Had to wait outside for several hours whilst they turned round their hire fleet before letting us in. In the end the wait was rather annoying as when they finally did the job we just held the boat in the entrance whilst they pumped it out. This could easily have been achieved three hours earlier. Then we cruised to Frankton Locks and took a mooring on the lock landing. We would be first in the queue. Total distance 3 miles.
Mooring above Frankton Locks
  Monday 18/6. We descended onto the Montgomery Canal and set off for the end of the navigation 6 miles away. We stopped at Queen's Head the halfway point for lunch then carried on the final 3 miles. We winded at Gronwyn Wharf and took a mooring by the Canal Central cafe in Maesbury Marsh. Total distance 6 miles which included 7 Locks.
Mooring Maesbury Marsh
A frequent feature of the Montgomery is that it is ludicrously shallow in places. What might not be visually evident in the photo above is that the back end of the boat is 2 feet from the bank, and this is at a dedicated mooring location. Tuesday 19/6. We wandered off to beyond the end of the navigation to see the efforts being made to restore to unnavigable bit.
The end of the current navigation
Some heavy engineering
Overgrown canal bed
Judging by the photos above it will be some time before this sees any boat movement. After viewing the restoration works we returned to the boat and headed back towards Lower Frankton. We moored in the short Weston Branch below the main Locks for the night, taking the opportunity to wash the boat whilst there.
Weston Branch mooring Montgomery Canal
Our journey had not been uneventful. By bridge 78 we came to a complete stop, hard aground and for fifteen to twenty minutes we wondered if we would even get through the bridge hole. Entry into Aston bottom lock was also rather difficult. We expected this canal to be shallow but run aground mid channel has warranted an email to the navigation authority. Wednesday 20/6. We moved up to the lock landing below Frankton Locks for our pre booked ascent. We couldn't get into the landing area and we're again stuck mid channel. The crew notified the lock keeper of our difficulties, and once we had ascended the flight he asked us to make an entry in the visitors book. Once through the staircase lock we turned right onto the Llangollen Canal and travelled to Ellesmere. Our previous spot was full so we ended up mooring in the arm close to the junction. Total distance 3 miles which included 4 Locks. Thursday 21/6. The longest day. Today we travelled to Duddleston Bridge which included passing through 2 lift bridges. Total distance was 10 miles and the sun is beginning to make an appearance. The wind however is blustery and cold. Running total 261 Miles 111 Locks 8 Tunnels

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