Friday, 5 September 2008

Maesbury Marsh.

8 Locks, 7 Miles. Now moored by The Navigation pub Maesbury Marsh.

Frankton Locks

This morning we awoke to more persistent rain and hoped that it clear up by lunch time. There were 7 boats waiting to go down the Frankton locks and we were number 2 in the queue. It turned out that the BW lock keeper decided to start letting boats down at 11am, an hour ahead of schedule which coincided with a slight improvement of the weather. He gave us an information sheet with a recommendation that we moor at Queens Head due to the festival at Maesbury this week-end.

The lock keeper put us through the 2 lock staircase and then we were on our own. From lock 4 to the junction of the derelict Weston branch we were restricted to 3 M.P.H. to protect flora and fauna. Upon reaching the Weston branch we reversed back up the arm to the facilities block for water and rubbish as did several other boats as facilities are few and far between along this canal.

Weston Arm Junction on the Montgomery Canal

As this canal is purely rural the scenery is very pleasant even in the rain. At times it got very narrow and shallow but we got through OK. Our only problem was that contractors had been through a couple of days ago trimming all the vegetation along the tow path, majority of which finished up in the water getting wrapped around our bow or propeller slowing us down. Every time we stopped it was a case of getting the pole hook and removing the offending vegetation and dumping it in the hedgerow.

After 4 ½ hours we finally arrived at Maesbury Marsh despite being advised to stop at Queens Head. We thought that if there were no moorings available we could always retrace our steps until we found some. As it turned out we found a 48 hour mooring near The Navigation pub and thought ourselves lucky. Our good fortune was soon shot to bits by a member of the Shropshire Union Canal Society who told us that all the moorings at this end of the canal were booked for the festival but the boat booked for our site wasn't due until Friday afternoon so we can stay here in the meantime.

As the sun had finally broken through this afternoon we went for a walk along the tow path to the end of the current navigation which is where Maesbury Wharf Cruisers have their workshops and a separate arm off the main canal. It was here that we got talking to the owner of MWC who gave us some of the history of the area and an offer of a mooring should we be forced to give up our present mooring.

The organisers of this week-ends festival have already been busy erecting tents and gazebos on the festival site and many historic narrowboats including the Shropshire Union fly boat Saturn are moored alongside the site so all we need now is some fine weather but the forecast is not looking good.

1432 locks, 2087 miles, 50 Tunnels, 42 swing bridges and 30 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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