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End of the Canals

Sunday 23rd June, 2019
Monday 24th June, 2019
Tuesday 25th June, 2019
Wednesday 26th June, 2019
Thursday 27th June, 2019

Sunday 23rd June, 2019

Frankton Top Lock photograph

Frankton Top Lock

Drop Cap pleasant start to the day but after lunch it deteriorated into rain again. One of the guests, Sandra, told us that a heatwave is forecast for next week (just in time for Wimbledon) but we will be gone by then.

Flowery Lock Sign photograph

Decorative Lock Sign

Drop Cap e headed back to the Montgomery where we took a couple of hours to negotiate the Frankton Locks. There are three of them, one of which is a staircase of two. Taking two 70+foot boats through the locks, takes time and patience.

Frankston Top Lock photograph

Skipper Brian, Susan, Phil and Mac at the Lock

Drop Cap here were quite a number of other boats doing the same thing, in both directions, considering that the Montgomery is quite restricted in numbers. I suppose the lack of other directions to travel is having an effect even on mostly untrafficked canals.

LockKeepers Cottage photograph

LockKeepers Cottage

Drop Cap nlike most locks, there is still a lock keeper on the Frankton, to take bookings and help people through, staircase locks are tricky, as we discovered on our very first trip at Grindley Brook.
There was a lovely lock keepers' cottage at the bottom of the staircase lock. I don't know whether the lock keeper still lives in it but I would not mind it!

Montgomery Canal photograph

Montgomery Canal Below the Locks


Coming Through the Locks photograph

Coming Through the Locks

Drop Cap e are going to moor tonight at the Queen's Head, which is of course a pub so let's hope we have no more catastrophes this time. That is where we lost Raewyn last week.


Montgomery Canal photograph

Montgomery Canal Reflections

Drop Cap wonderful Sunday roast again tonight. The meals really help make up for the disappointing weather and canal problems but WW looms all too shortly ahead. Some of my clothes are getting tighter. This has to stop! (as soon as I get home!)

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Monday 24th June, 2019

Serene Locking photograph

Serenity Locking

Drop Cap am nearly at the end of this book. Instead of starting a new book right at the end of a trip I will use the blank sides of some of our used paperwork.

Morning Tea Time photograph

Morning Tea Time on Board

Drop Cap o catastrophes last night, so we are still eight. It was a pleasant putter up this pretty rural canal. Only a couple of easy narrow locks and it was serenity itself. Polly baked some serious biscuits for morning tea and life was fine!

End of line photograph

End of the Navigable Section of the Canal

Drop Cap e headed up the Monty for a short distance then stopped at a bridge which is the current end of the canal, to take on water, a fairly long winded business with two 70ft boats.

Polly and Swans photograph

Polly and Swans

Drop Cap t is very peaceful, a slight mistiness in the air. Supposed to be thunderstorms this afternoon but it doesn't feel like it yet. Polly found a family of swans to feed and coo over before lunch. Stopping for lunch now.

Start of Restoration photograph

Start of Restoration


Start of Restoration photograph

Restoration Goes On

Drop Cap fter lunch Mac and I went for a three mile walk up the towpath, past the unnavigable section, to where the Canal Restoration Society is doing an incredible job of restoring quite a long section with the aid of a grant from the Lottery. With luck, in a couple of years there might be another navigable couple of miles on the Monty.

Start of Canal Work photograph

Start of Restoration Work


Drop Cap hile we were gone they turned the boats but waited for us and Susan, also at large on the towpath before returning down the canal to a pub we saw earlier.

Unfortunately for those who are missing a regular dose of WiFi the pub is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. WiFi (or the lack of it) seems to be the dominating feature of several of the guests. Susan is trying to get in touch to see if she has got a job she wanted and is getting very twitchy. Lesley and Cliff, (mostly Lesley) chatter endlessly about her need to keep up with her emails. We would like to keep in touch with Geoff but don't feel too worried about it. Lesley is a very trying woman, a health food and fitness freak, who orders food then doesn't eat it and forces Cliff to have it (otherwise it would be a waste) - then keeps at him to keep his weight down!

Rosemary on the Monty photograph

Rosemary at the end of the Line on the Montgomery

Drop Cap he weather is hot and sunny, leading me to change into a T-shirt, then out of a reasonably clear blue sky, it started to pour and there was even some thunder to keep the weather pundits happy (it has been forecast since Saturday) This seemed to pass very quickly and there are patches of blue now. Crazy weather.

Still no info about how we are going to end this cruise. We have rail tickets from Whaley Bridge to London but we won't be anywhere near WB. We await events - it is a long way from here to Whaley Bridge.


Drop Cap osie and Brian have told us now that we will be ending the cruise at Chirk, leaving from there on Friday. Train to Shrewsbury, then Shrewsbury to Stockport, then use our own tickets from Stockport to Euston. The train from Whaley Bridge to Stockport is only a little sprinter like the one from Chester to Ruabon so we can afford to ditch it. Our bete noir, Lesley from Melbourne is doing the same thing, and she and Cliff are staying at the Royal National Hotel just up the road from the Bedford. Hope we can avoid.

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Tuesday 25th June, 2019

Boats on the Monty photograph

Boats on the Montgomery Canal

Drop Cap his morning we were awoken very early by a downpour of rain which meant we had to hurry and close the windows. It is still continuing and promises a dismal day. One of the guests, Susan from Canada, left her window wide open and slept through the rain, consequently her bedding , including the duvet, has to be dried out somehow (no spares - no room) before tonight. Yesterday her husband, Brian, spilled a cup of coffee in his bed! Not easy passengers (like us - says she smugly!)

Llangollen Signpost photograph

Signpost at Frankton Junction

Drop Cap t rained most of the morning as Mac and Phil (another experienced passenger with his own windlass, like Michael last week) worked us up the three locks to Frankton. Polly says that lunch is going to be very late because Brian (the skipper) wants to get up the locks before stopping. So no cake for afternoon tea. We will probably still be eating lunch then.


Peaceful Llangollen photograph

Back on the Llangollen

Drop Cap e got through Frankton, then turned back on to the Llangollen, heading towards Chirk with its spectacular aqueduct and viaduct, then moored a mile from Marton Bottom Lock. A bit of acrimony in the discussions at dinner tonight led to an uncomfortable feeling for me, and Susan drank too much, becoming a bit silly.

Drop Cap he house rule is that the passengers have their coffee after dinner in the lounge on the butty, leaving the dining table for the crew but after the dinner table debacle we didn't feel like joining in tonight so Mac and I escaped and went for a walk along the towpath to the lock and back (two miles).

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Wednesday 26th June, 2019

Chirk Viaduct photograph

The Chirk Viaduct

Drop Cap rying hard to rain again, but not really succeeding. We made it through the two Marton Locks and made the goal for today Llangollen, back where we started. The first thrill was the Chirk Aqueduct and railway viaduct which was great to see again. The newbies were entranced.

Through Chirk Tunnel  photograph

Nearly through Chirk Tunnel

Drop Cap sometimes feel that Chirk is more spectacular than the Pontcysyllte, if just because it is more visible. It also has the quite long tunnel which we negotiated as well. Something for every interest!

Under pontcysyllte  photograph

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct from Beneath

Drop Cap e stopped for lunch before the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct (toad in the hole followed by oranges in Cointreau) then proceeded to the PA. We had to wait while lots of boats came across the other way, so I got off and walked to the underside of the aqueduct. There is a subway of sorts, under the canal. I took some pictures of the aqueduct from underneath, much more interesting than the little you see of it when you are crossing it.

Under pontcysyllte photograph

Under the Pontcysyllte

Drop Cap e crossed finally and negotiated the sharp bend towards Llangollen. There was a lot of traffic coming the other way and it didn't help when we ran aground under a bridge. Mac helped haul off, of course, but we were surrounded by other boats all trying not to run aground as well. We are now approaching the narrows. Josh (the crewman) has gone ahead to clear the way. I hope it works better than it did with Neil 20 years ago.

under Ponty  photograph

Still Under the Aqueduct

Drop Cap e got through but it was a very longwinded process and we were constantly meeting boats both coming and going. But we eventually made it into Llangollen and moored by the canal, not in the basin.


Canalside House Llangollen  photograph

Canalside House Llangollen

Drop Cap e had dinner, again marred by Susan ostensibly apologising for last night, but she "is under such stress" because she couldn't connect to WiFi in order to confirm the job she coveted so of course the rest of us had to put up with her stress. I don't know why some people bother to have holidays! In the end Cliff offered the use of his i-pad because her phone was very small for all this communication and they all decamped to the pub.

220 Across the Dee Llangollen photograph

Across the Dee Llangollen

Drop Cap fter dinner we walked down to the town and walked along the lovely Riverside Walk beside the Dee. It is a really lovely river, all weirs and rapids and we enjoyed the walk.

Then we adjourned to the Bridge End pub for ciders and to use the WiFi, If you can't beat them! We left when the table next to us was taken by a couple of thuggish looking loudmouths and their slutty looking girlfriends. (Mac's comment) I had felt more comfortable in the bar when it was invaded by a group of bikies in full leathers and helmets.

Drop Cap s we left the pub Lesley, looking furious, stomped in looking for Cliff (who was helping Susan) dragged him out and screamed at him all the way home and later, we were told, in the cabin.

Tomorrow, back to Chirk and the end of the cruise. Oh well, there's always next year.

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Thursday 27th June, 2019

Drop Cap ur last day on the canals dawned bright and sunny - typical! We motored on to the basin at Llangollen and turned both boats quite easily. Heading back towards the PA we sent John on to the narrows to warn other boats to let us through - no problems this time.

View from Ponty photograph

Looking Down from the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Drop Cap e puttered gently on to the PA, picked up Cliff and Lesley who had walked the whole way and had had time for a cream tea and a short film before we turned up. They are fast walkers.

Rosemary on Board (by Cliff) photograph

Rosemary on Board, (by Cliff)

Drop Cap ver the PA again and on towards Chirk. We dropped Mac to open the lift bridge and picked him up again afterwards, then moored for lunch. Weightwatchers meatballs apparently in tomato and fennel sauce with couscous, quite good, followed by an extremely rich and sweet frangipane and roast pear tart with the inevitable cream! I think my body can't get home soon enough. Must get straight back to strict WW.


Drop Cap oored at Chirk, north end of the tunnel, about five minutes walk from the station. We went for a walk to the town and did some shopping at the little Supermarket. Then came back and packed. Nearly everything is dirty - hope we can get to the laundrette tomorrow. Another big meal, chicken traybake and chocolate and cream profiteroles. WW here we come!

Tomorrow we catch a train to Shrewsbury, then on to Stockport where we catch our train to Euston. All our travels, Lord , soon be over.

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