No, only 18% of the Montgomery Canal. The rest is unreachable for us at the moment.
We spend the night just in front of Frankton locks. Very quiet, and good for the solars.
We have a relaxed morning, the lock keepers don’t start much before noon.
We’re first in the locks, at 11:45 hrs, and are on our way around noon.
I immediately fall in love with the canal. It’s absolutely rural, and there is a lot to see.
Mile markers similar to the Trent&Mersey.
Nice views on the hills in the distance.
Cows, that start stampede when they see or hear the farmer’s car.
Deep green crops, or bright yellow.
But no coots, moorhen or swans.
And hardly any boats, ducks, fishermen, or people at all.
But a heap of Famous whisky birds…
Just the right amount of reeds, water plants.
A few easy, well behaving locks. And for future reference, a fine looking golf course.
There are old men’s homes with signs in the window: Young girls wanted.
And the sign:
A lovely canal to spend a few days on (that is, if one can do without phone and thus internet…).
Only at the end of the navigable section we get into trouble, or better, I get into trouble.
There is a lift bridge, and according to our guide we have to turn just after the bridge.
So Lawrance initially walks past the lift bridge to assess the situation.
When he walks over the bridge he signals to me: turn right (well, that’s where, according to the guide, the maintenance arm is, so I expected that).
He opens the bridge, and even while I’m still in the bridge hole he shouts: “Turn your nose right!”
(No, I can’t, half of the boat is still in the bridge hole.)
As soon as I can I turn WRT’s beautiful nose to the right.
But then, just as I get from under the bridge, I see, right in front of me, a huge sign: NO TURNING HERE, and next to it a smaller sign with: Turning 250 m ahead.
Heaps of things start going through my mind.
How the f**k did he miss this huge sign?
Can I stop WRT turning round? Answer: no, not really.
Would I make it to turn around her? Answer: Yes, I think I can turn around here.
There are a lot of boats on private moorings here, and if WRT is willing to drift just past one of them I will be fine. So I let her drift, slowly, and yes, she gets past.
With all the boaters out to see me struggle I start bringing the bow towards the bridge.
Lawrance, still at the open bridge, starts shouting at me: “Power! Give it more power!”
No, to me using full revs tell me: I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m making an awful lot of noise and an awful lot of waves.
And waves I don’t want, I don’t want all the boats on the private moorings getting rocked about. And besides that, WRT goes exactly where I want here to go (probably at the same speed as when I would do full revs).
In the mean time Lawrance has to close the bridge for a passing farmer. And I am in such a position that Lawrance could grab the middle line and just pull WRT’s noise in.
When he doesn’t realize that but keeps shouting: “Power, more power” I shout back: “You could grab the middle line!”
In the end that’s what he does. Saves me a few times shunting. While Lawrance opens the bridge again I apologize to the boaters. No problem, they said, you did well.
Then we’re on our way back up. We top up with water at the services and moor just next to the pub.
Unfortunately the pub is closed on Monday, so that’s one store cupboard meal. And I need to think about something for tomorrow.
The next day, except for Lawrance getting grounded, every time he tries to let me step off to do a lock, the journey back up is uneventful. We moor up at Weston Branch Junction, ready to go through the Frankton Locks tomorrow.
Another canal ticked off.