Monday, 6 July 2009

On the Montgomery

Saturday 4th July

This is Petroc in the queue at the top of Frankton Locks waiting to go down the Montgomery. Passage has to be pre-booked at least the day before and they only take 12 down and 12 up a day. They are only open between 12-2pm daily. We were 5th in line of 7 to go down and there were three coming up and since the lock keeper started early at 11.30 and we started down about 1.30, it is difficult to see how 12/12 could be achieved within the publicised times.

However I had a good enough signal to write the previous blog as we sat waiting and we then had an easy passage down, aided by the lock keeper for the first 2 locks which are a staircase.

Bottom of the staircase and two more to go

Mooring did not seem to be at a premium when we reached Maesbury Marsh just before the limit of navigation (7 miles), so we took what seemed like the only space behind an old looking boat just before the Navigation Inn. The good point about the mooring was that we had a good satellite picture as it was Ladies Finals, which we had missed but we were in time to see the Williams sisters win the ladies doubles. The bad point about the mooring was that the boat in front started his engine(or it might have been his generator) at 7.30PM which was very noisy and smelt foul, you could see the fumes coming out. Since I was cooking supper at the time I was not impressed but Geoffrey would not allow me to go and moan at the looked like a liveaboard who had been on these 48hr moorings a while!

The pub was a lovely one but a bit more expensive than we like for our Sunday Roast. In any event we were expecting several members of my family to visit on Sunday so we were planning to eat in the evening. The Navigation closes at 6pm on Sunday and does not reopen until 6pm Tuesday so that ruled it out anyway!

On Sunday morning we went to the church at Maesbury for the service at 1115. It was in very small but interesting church. It was constructed of corrugated iron which had apparently arrived as a flat pack 103 years ago. From the inside you could not tell it was corrugated iron and we had a very warm welcome. The singing was interesting as they had a group of youngsters who were called "God's Singing Servers" who not only assisted during the service but acted as Cantors in the psalms and responses.
Afterwards we repaired to the Navigation Inn for a pint(Well Geoff had the pint!) and then retired to Petroc for the Mens Finals.
The family all arrived about 4.45 when the match still was not settled so since some of them were interested we had our cup of tea still watching. Unfortunately we had booked supper back at the Queens Head for 6pm (a bit further back along the canal) so we could not watch the end of the match. We had a good meal and it was lovely to catch up with family again.
Monday morning we decided to move a bit further down to a better mooring which was now free. So we went to the end of the navigation, through the lifting bridge and turned.

Lifting Bridge at Maesbury

Limit of navigation
Turning at the end of the road

Once we were all settled again, Geoff and Barnaby set off to explore down the unnavigable stretch. I would have liked to accompany them but since they anticipated walking about 8 miles it seemed too far for me. My back has improved, I am off the painkillers and doing short walks, but being very careful as I do not want a repeat of my condition a few weeks ago......I'll build up my walks gradually.
The following pictures show how the restoration work is progressing

Lime Kilns at Pant, part of a huge complex that has to be restored

So now we are ready for the return trip tomorrow. There is a small Post Office/Cafe/Store just here who are very obliging and order the paper we want.

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