Sunday, 26 September 2010

September Cruise - Day 10

The Navigation Inn was excellent.  Very friendly atmosphere, a lovely bar with a roaring fire, and fantastic food.  We'd have no hesitation in recommending it.

We woke this morning to another fantastic day.  There was frost on the roof of the boat, a clear blue sky (with the moon still visible), and mist rising off the water.  We wanted to be at the foot of the Frankton Locks in good time, so because of the speed limits we set off just after 8am.  It was very cold, yet very sunny, and the canal looked spectacular.  It's so quiet, it feels like a secret waterway.  We were soon at the Aston Locks, which were in our favour, largely because we were the last boat down them.  We met the only moving boat we saw on the canal today at one of the widest parts.  Above Graham Palmer Lock, the level was very low.  We made a quick stop at the services on the Weston branch for water and to dump rubbish, then went to the waiting area for the Frankton Locks.  The only other boat due to go up was already there.  I went to find the relief lock keeper to let him know we'd arrived.  The other boat set off up the locks at 11.30, and we followed.  There's a stall selling eggs and veg at one of the individual locks, so we bought a red cabbage.  Between the two locks is a beautiful cottage on the off side.

At the staircase locks, we talked to a couple who were on their first hire boat holiday and had stopped to see locks in action before tackling them themselves.  They only picked up their boat yesterday, but already seemed to have caught the bug.

We thoroughly enjoyed our excursion down the Monty.  It's beautiful, secluded, and has plenty of interest.  It will be even better when there's further to go -- although I hope it retains something of its secret status.  The Shropshire Union Canal Society is currently running a fundraising campaign for the restoration.  A barrow of boulders costs £5 -- surely something all boaters could afford to donate.

At the top of the locks, we stopped on the visitor moorings for lunch, and were entertained by a Black Prince boat trying to wind in the junction, and getting wedged across the corner several times.  We then continued to Ellesmere, planning to stock up at Tesco for the rest of the week.  We moored just outside the arm, on the junction.

After shopping, we decided to stay put, and sat in the cratch, reading and watching the comings and goings.  It was sunny and warm; perfect.

9 miles, 8 locks.  (102 miles, 66 locks)

No comments: