We moved out of Ellesmere on Tuesday, after only the one night to top up the cupboards. We need to be back towards Chirk by Friday for Meg’s health review. I’m sure the vet will be pleased with her progress, I hope we’ll be able to reduce the steroids to a minimal dose, or even stop them completely.
Although the overnight forecast was for frost, there was no ice on the Ellesmere Arm as we pulled out, back onto the main line. Unusually we didn’t have to make use of the services; we’d topped up with water and disposed of rubbish and recycling before we left the Montgomery.
I mentioned the bridge repairs earlier, and the fact that they tend to get a bit battered through the “Silly Season”. Coachman’s Bridge, number 62, has protection both at water level and at handrail height. A good idea.
This cruiser was afloat a month ago, but now it looks like another abandoned boat to be recovered at C&RT’s expense…
Those surprised sheep again at Val Hill…
Passing Frankton Junction
It’s still very quiet on the canal, a boat a day is about normal. We’d already seen our quota heading in the other direction, so I was surprised to see a boat ahead, crawling slowly through Bridge 2W.
The reason for his lack of progress became apparent as we got nearer. It was the tug Minnow pushing a pan loaded with equipment being moved from the completed bridge repairs at Val Hill to the pending repairs at Maestermyn House Bridge. I was content to stay behind, we only had a mile more to go before we stopped, but he pulled over to let us pass.
We pulled in on the pleasant moorings just before Maestermyn. I’m glad we’d been waved past, we were tied up, TV set up and having a cup of tea by the time Minnow slowly chugged past.
We saw it several times later in the afternoon and in the wet windy weather yesterday. Upstream pushing a loaded pan, back downstream empty. We stayed put, it was just a bit too miserable for us…
I did my good deed for the day later in the afternoon. I heard a plaintive bleating on the other side of the hedge, and discovered a young sheep trapped up against the fence, it’s fleece entangled in briars and hawthorn. It had been there a day or two, judging by the condition of the ground. I managed to get it free, leaving several lumps of wool hanging on the bushes, and it toddled off across the field. Then I spent a jolly hour or so with a needle picking thorns out of my hands. I should have gone back for my gloves...
This morning dawned dry and clear, bright blue skies but a freshening breeze for our trip today.
Maestermyn House Bridge, 6W
The towpath is already closed, the navigation will be closed on Monday for 3 weeks. The pipes on the left will carry the downstream flow when the stop planks are in place and the section dewatered.
And this why…
…a dirty great hole at water level.
Approaching New Marton Locks, now heading north, and the westerly breeze was now a wind, blowing in from the towpath side. The landings for the locks, top and bottom, are exposed, so I wasn’t looking forward to having to tie up below to set the lock, then again above to close up after we’d ascended. Mags was banned from the tiller, the wind was much too cold.
As we got nearer I could see someone up at the lock, and the bottom gates wide open. Result. Even better, the lock was done for us by one of the crew working on the bywash weir!
The top lock was also part open for us, so I thought I’d be able to nudge the gates open. But the water level was down with the work being done on the weir at the bottom lock, and we were scraping the mud at the entrance. With judicious use of the throttle and the tiller we were able to slowly wiggle our way in, though.
New Marton Top Lock
We pulled in above the lock to fill with water, then, after struggling to get off the bank against the wind (the towpath is now on the right), we off across St Martins Moor, mostly sideways.
We pulled in just past Morton Bridge in bright sunshine. Meg decided she’d done enough for the day…
It’s been a good day, even with the wind. Behind glass the sun was warm, and the solar panels finished off topping up the batteries. There’s supposed to be more good weather for the weekend, too.
Tomorrow we’ll head a short distance to The Poachers. Richard, Chamberlain Carrying Company, is heading this way on Mountbatten now there’s a brief window of opportunity, so we’ll fill the diesel tank and get some more solid fuel as he passes. And Val and John are coming in the afternoon to give Meg and I a lift up to the doggy doctor in Chirk.
Locks 2, miles 9 since Ellesmere.