Sunday, 1 July 2012

The Montgomery Canal

‘Roots and Wings’ and ‘Futurest’ are tonight moored adjacent to the water point on the Weston Branch of the Montgomery Canal.


001  Plaque to 'Cressy' on Hurleston Bottom Lock

Dedication to ‘Cressy’


All is now calm and quiet after the battering of the strong breeze from the south west and the dousing from heavy showers that we have endured over the last couple of days. What has been worse is that the latter all seemed to occur at the most inopportune moments too; when we were just entering a lock or in the middle of our turn around at the navigable end of this canal, just beyond Maesbury.

Some would call it ‘Sods Law’.

Mostly on these wet occasions I am able to close the doors behind me on the top step, slide the lid aft up close to my stomach, put up my large umbrella and also with the jibes of passing boats about sissy southerners.

If I don’t take this precaution the rain pours into the back cabin and as well as soaking everything, it soon would fill the bilge. However the big black nylon dome keeps all things dry including myself, which makes it very useful to have around.


016  Rural Bridge

A rural Bridge


But when the rain catches you working the locks, there is nothing one can do except be extra careful on slippery grass and concrete surfaces near the lock.

However in spite of the wetting we seemed to suffer periodically, the passage down through the locks at Frankton and to the end at Maesbury and back, have proved most enjoyable and satisfactory. In between showers the roof of the little ship steamed as it dried in the bright warm June sunshine and the wild flowers and green foliage of trees sparkled brightly as the rain water on them dripped into the passing canal.

One hardly sees a dwelling down here let alone any towns or villages and the odd boat appears only occasionally to interrupt one’s languid reverie. In parts the canal is narrow and abundantly covered with Yellow Water lily which all disappear underwater as we pass due to the Venturi Effect between the ship and the bank nearby. It’s as if they are bowing to us as we regally go by. All this is very reminiscent of the Chesterfield Canal last year; just a narrow navigable ditch.


023  Janis operating Bridge

Janis operating Croft’s Mill Lift Bridge


However the one drawback is the booking system which is in place to preserve water supplies. We booked on Friday morning  before ten and were asked when we were returning. We said yesterday which we soon realised was too ambitious for dawdlers like Janis and I. But when Janis phoned yesterday, a Saturday, to change the plan all she heard was a machine telling her to phone on Monday as the office was not manned. But when we turned up at the bottom lock this morning, we were not allowed through because we hadn’t made the arrangement with them, as well as being in trouble for not cancelling our previous planned passage of yesterday.

So we have been here very pleasantly all day waiting to book our passage tomorrow morning for the journey up through the locks at midday.

On the way down on Friday we were joined at the Weston Branch Quay by Neil a friend of Janis’ who willingly crewed for us both, swapping from one boat to the other during the course of the journey. He stayed over night with us at Queens Head Moorings and returned to collect his car in the car park yesterday. It was good to meet him and he was certainly a very great help, which we appreciated.

And that’s it for now. We continue our adventure tomorrow.

No comments: