Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cruising the Monty....

We were a bit short on essentials, so decided to get a Tesco delivery for this morning. There’s road access to a car park alongside the moorings for the van to get to us.

The groceries arrived at 10:45, but it was another hour before we’d got everything unpacked and stowed away. We’ll be eating well for the next couple of days. We tend to indulge in some luxuries when we don’t have to carry them far, and we’re now well stocked up on fresh fruit and vegetables. I know what the sailors of the early long distance voyages felt like; we look forward to fresh food and eat it while it’s at it’s best before resorting to canned goods till the next opportunity. Fresh pineapple and strawberries! Yum!

We were off at 11:45, with just a 10 minute cruise till arriving at Graham Palmer lock. This is a new lock, built to maintain the water at slightly higher level than originally. It’s named after one of the founder members of the Waterways Recovery Group, who were responsible for a lot of the restoration work on the canal.

Graham Palmer Lock
All that we’ve heard about the Montgomery turns out to be true; it’s very pretty, and pretty shallow and narrow too!

Typical Montgomery Canal.

The canal is cut fairly straight, through arable and pasture land. Just the odd farmhouse is seen in the distance, until the road and railway arrives for a short time at Heath Houses.

Restored Warehouse and Heath House Bridge
The next bit of civilisation is at Queens Head with the eponymous pub and smart hotel boats Snipe and Taurus tied up near by.

Snipe and Taurus
The Aston Locks are the last encountered at the current level of restoration, a flight of 3, spaced over a mile. I think the middle one, set in woodland, is high on my list for The Most Attractive Lock award.

Aston Middle Lock
The slimline Red Bridge is next, before more civilisation intrudes as the current terminus is neared. There are visitor moorings opposite the Navigation Inn at Maesbury (recommended for food, apparently) and a little further on, but we pressed on to the last lift bridge and the terminus winding hole.

End of the line. Carol turning in the winding hole at Gronwyn Bridge.
That’s all for now, folks. The towpath can be followed for a while, but the navigation is closed at the bridge.

We turned around, came back through Maesbury with it’s unusually designed Post Office, stores and Tea Room, and moored between the village and Red Bridge. We’re looking out across open fields, here.

Maesbury Post Office. Yes it does have a corrugated iron roof……
Red Bridge
The weather remains much as it has been, cool with odd showers and the occasional glimpse of the sun.
Coming down here is a bit of a relief from the hectic activity on the Langollen. Access is restricted to only so many boats per year, as the area is a designated SSSI.

While we were at the moorings on the Weston Arm, Carol negotiated with a couple on another boat for a redundant dog life-jacket. So here's Sealy, sporting her rather snazzy fluorescent red number...

Locks 4, miles 7

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