On Friday we met Chris the lock-keeper at the top of Frankton Locks. We’d set off around 11:00, arriving 25 minutes later.
A fine day for a short cruise.
Turning in to the Montgomery Canal at Frankton Junction.
The locks are only manned between noon and two o’clock, and in the winter have to be booked 48 hours in advance.
Chris was down the flight, setting up for a boat coming up, when he came back up we were able to drop down the double staircase locks then pass the uphill boat above the two singles.
Meg waiting for the lockie
Coming down the staircase pair, the shared gates looming above the lower chamber.
We reversed into the remaining stub of the Weston Arm, at the bottom of the locks, joining one other boat there.
A fine afternoon.
We spent the weekend here, with Val and Johnny arriving on Sunday with mail and a special package…
…a new design of stove fan.
I’ve reviewed it’s performance on a separate post here…
This morning we set off down the canal, sunny spells made it feel warmer than it was, but at least the wind has dropped for now.
Just five minutes on is Graham Palmer Lock, a new chamber installed when the canal was restored to lower the level between here and the Aston Locks.
The lock only drops the level about 14”, but it’s enough to better manage leaks on this section of the canal.
The lock is named for Graham Palmer, the founder of the Waterway Recovery Group. The WRG is at the sharp end of most restoration projects on the network. It’s a pity that some thug has defaced the memorial.
The Montgomery Canal is known for it’s rural isolation, with a diversity of wildlife still around even after the waterway was reopened to navigation in 1996.
Not exactly wildlife, but that one on the left looks annoyed…
Ahh, that’s better. This guy was lurking in the offside bushes making it difficult to photograph him…
…but he was a lot more co-operative later!
Rednall Basin runs a short way from the canal on the towpath side, with a swing bridge crossing the entrance.
A railway trans-shipment wharf, it’s now overgrown and weed-clogged. I was speaking to a local boater some time ago who was keen to see the basin cleared and re-opened for moorings. But, with the emphasis on conservation on the Monty, I can’t see that happening.
The canal loses a bit of it’s isolation at Heath Houses, running alongside a minor but busy road heading to Queens Head.
Bridges and a restored canal warehouse at Heath Houses
The settlement of Queens Head has grown around the junction with the A5, the pub that gives it it’s name sitting just a short distance from the canal.
We pulled in here, not the quietest spot on the canal but it’ll do for one night. The weather looks to be a bit mixed for the week, but we’ll try to avoid the worst. Tomorrow we’ll head down towards the terminus at Maesbury.
Locks 4, miles 5