11th October 2014 (a little delayed post due to O2’s 3G dead zone)
As I write this we have been out from Overwater for just over a week and so far, for once, we have stuck to the schedule. Sunday to Nantwich, Monday to Wrenbury, Tuesday to Whitchurch, Wednesday to Ellesmere, Thursday to Maesbury Marsh (on the Montgomery Canal), Friday stayed put and walked the un-navigable section to Pant on the Welsh border and Saturday (today) we turned Oakmere around 250 yards beyond Crofts Mill Lift Bridge – you can go no further. Tonight we are moored on the Weston Branch, in pole position for ascending the Frankton staircase which is manned and only open between 12:00 and 14:00.
I am sure some would complete this round trip within a week but where is the fun in rushing.
Much work remains to join up the entire Montgomery Canal (35 miles from Frankton to Newtown) but I am just grateful and amazed to cruise those first seven miles to Maesbury Marsh; when I first passed the entrance to the canal at Frankton in 1977, there was little trace of the canal which had closed in 1944, harder still to imagine it would ever re-open.
Oakmere remains an absolute joy. She is a heavy boat with a larger draught than normal which means she handles beautifully, sitting rock steady in the water – the only downside being she takes some extra muscle to bow haul and she will find shallow water quicker than most (exactly like Florence). Not only is the engine a joy to behold, the 3 cylinder Beta Marine sounds wonderful and generates masses of heat which permeates the entire boat – the true heart of the machine.
The weather has been mixed throughout, hardly a day without a monsoon shower. Equally there have been glorious periods of bright light, particularly in the morning and early evening when the low sun floodlights a sparkling wet world. It has been a memorable trip and we are only just over half way … much effort remains for the hard-pressed crew 😉
A selection of images from the trip – not all in chronological order and not all on the Montgomery: