Thursday, January 29, 2015

Heading downhill again.

The feeders attracted the expected quota of birds yesterday, including a couple of sparrows and thrushes. These ground-feeders only had what was dropped from above, so I put some seed and a broken up fat ball on the ground. They enjoyed their own portions, till this chap turned up and hoovered up the lot!
Inevitable, really. It was raining, and he was holding his tail up over his back like an umbrella…

It was windy and wet most of the day, so we didn’t venture far from the boat. Today started OK, but the fresh wind kept bringing bands of showers over. One minute rain, sleet or snow, the next sunshine.

We’d arranged to go down Frankton Locks today, so had to move otherwise we probably wouldn’t have bothered. The locks give access to the Montgomery Canal, and are controlled by C&RT. Only so many boats at a time are allowed on the canal, due to it’s status as a SSSI.

Heading towards Frankton

During the clearer spells the snow-covered slopes of the Breidden Hills were visible, 12 miles away.IMG_3407

These guys weren’t all that impressed with the weather either!IMG_3405

We arrived at the top of Frankton Locks after around 40 minutes. Time for a brew before the waterways men arrived.IMG_3409

In 1936 a breech occurred not far below the locks, and the then owners, the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, chose to ignore their obligation to maintain the navigation and refused to repair it. In 1944 they successfully applied for an Act of Parliament to abandon the canal, on the grounds that it had not been used for several years!
Fast forward 40 years, and an effective campaign by the Montgomery Waterways Restoration Trust, the Inland Waterways Association, Shropshire Union Canal Society and lots of graft by the Waterways Recovery Group saw the locks reopened, followed by the 7 mile section to Gronwen Wharf.
The restoration further south to Newtown is slowly ongoing…

At around 11:45 our two C&RT chaperones arrived, and we were ushered into the top of the double staircase locks. Mags was pleased, with two in attendance at the lockside I looked after the tiller and she could stay inside.

In the top lock  IMG_3412

Below the staircase an abandoned dry-dock on the offside has become a garden feature, complete with model railway running around it’s perimeter.IMG_3414

Bottom lock of the four, and it’s snowing again.IMG_3415

We’d already decided not to go much further, so pulled in to the end of the truncated Weston Arm, joining the two boats already there.

Snow showers and sunny spells have been and gone this afternoon. We’ll probably head off to Queen’s Head if the weather is half decent tomorrow.

Hi Andy. Yes, she was definitely an ex-Challenger boat, but I didn't get the name. Well spotted!

Locks 4, miles 2

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