Monday, December 02, 2013

A stop and start trip back

Today we started to make our way back to Frankton and the junction with the Llangollen Canal. We’ve actually overstayed in Maesbury Marsh by a day, but being as we’re the only visiting boat down here at the moment, it hardly matters!

We got off at around 10:30, and the first stop was at the services to fill with water.

Maesbury Services
The crane that Meg is demonstrating is believed to be the only surviving 15cwt example built by Ormerod and Crierson in Manchester.

The wharf was built to tranship coal. The “black diamonds” were one of the main cargoes on the canal, Gronwyn Wharf was for the same purpose. A tramway from collieries in Morda supplied it.


Our next pause was to hook up a log, the result of a blow-down, floating at the edge of the canal. Too heavy to lift aboard, we towed it to Park Mill Bridge and sat in the bridge ‘ole while I cut it up and loaded it onto the roof.

Red Bridge no longer has a parapet (did it ever have one?) and demonstrates how skinny the top of a very strong arch can be.

Red BridgeSAM_7382

Aston Locks were all in our favour, still empty from when we came down. If I’d known I could have left the bottom gates open to speed up the return trip!

Aston Bottom Lock

Just above this lock I’d spotted a log below the towpath on the way down, but it was just too big to handle. I did take a sizeable chunk off the end, though. The side was too shallow to get right in, but running hard aground allowed Mags to go and sit down for 10 minutes while I wielded the chain saw.

Cruising by the reeds between Locks 2 and 1SAM_7384

Horse-boat Saturn is still tied up below Aston Lock 1SAM_7386

Up Aston Lock 1

Heading towards Queens Head there’s a field of ewes, incubating next Spring’s lamb chops!
All the offspring will be half-brothers and -sisters, it looks like the ladies have all been covered by the same ram.

Another look at the passenger terminus in Heath Houses. I assume the wooden frame under the eaves once supported a hoist. That being the case the building must have doubled up as warehousing.

We pulled over at the entrance to the Bone Arm leading to Rednall Basin. I wanted to have a look at the basin itself.SAM_7399

There’s no evidence now of the bone mill that once stood beside the arm. It’s all well overgrown.

The basin is in very good conditionSAM_7397

Cleared out it would make good moorings for half a dozen boats. Just a bit noisy with the railway on the embankment above. But that’s why it was built, after all.

For future reference, the entrance to the arm is long enough and deep enough to accommodate a 57 foot boat….

We took a very slow cruise along the two straight sections towards Perry Aqueduct, hoping that our friend the bold kingfisher would be out hunting again. But, alas, he was nowhere to be seen this afternoon.SAM_7401

Rather than push on to the Weston Arm, we decided to call it a day at the aqueduct. Either end there are mooring bollards, presumably for maintenance boats, but also useful for visitors.

Moored at Perry Aqueduct

Meg and I will take a walk back along the straight in the morning. We may have more chance to spot the elusive angler…

We’re booked to go back up onto the Llangollen Canal on Wednesday, then we’ll head back to Ellesmere for a few days before making our way steadily up to Llangollen for Christmas.

Locks 3, miles 5

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