The crowd had thinned out by Monday afternoon, here we have Kieth (NB Jack of Diamonds), Hazel (NB Tess of Wooton) who incidentally was on the phone to partner Mike - who was in work - explaining that the chicken dinner planned for that evening would now be a fish & chips take-away! Also we have Mike (NB Makin Sport) who limped back today with a faulty gearbox.
The White Hart
Unfortunately, it was rather busy on our return run to Fron: When we arrived at the bottom of New Marton Locks, we were 9th in the queue. I immediately walked up to the lock with my windlass, passing everyone else standing about, watching. The queues had formed due problems at the lock, due to (a) an obstruction behind the bottom mitre gate, so it wouldn't open properly, and (b) the same gate wouldn't close properly so leaving a gap, which was leaking water so badly that the lock was taking an age to fill up. I phoned BW, who attended immediately, armed with long poles with an angled rake on the end (I can't remember the technical term for such poles).
Dave Lee & Roger Howard of BW, after much prodding around, managed to remove a large piece of wood which was stuck behind the gate. Apparently, this lock is lined with oak, not concrete or bricks, due to the shifting sands, and periodically a piece of wood becomes free, usually lodging itself behind the gate. It took us 2hours 50minutes to get through this bottom lock. Not to worry, its nice to chat at locks. I did however, get a little frustrated with the occupants of boats waiting to come up the locks just standing around, watching me opening and shutting paddles, locking through every boat. I found myself saying to one lad who came up to the lock for a look "Young man" (trying not to sound like a character from a Paul Whitehouse sketch) "Are you on a boat coming up these locks?", "Yes" he replied. "Well go back to your boat, get your windlass , and come and help". Which he did.
Oh and the best bit of being stuck at the lock - we saw our first swallows of the year, so it's official, summer is on the way.
We stopped for these eggs on the way, bought from the canal side house between Br 15 & 16 - look out for the beer drinking mannequin, pull in & the eggs and an honesty bucket are alongside him. And yes - they do taste as good as they look!
Past the Lion Quays Hotel. Unfortunately the pontoons here are so silted up, that it's difficult to get into them. You have to take a run at them, and 'beach' the bow on the silt. It's impossible to get in stern first. The result is that few people moor here, and tend to moor each side of the canal a bit further up, which makes it a bit conjested.
Over Chirk Aqueduct, and back into Wales.
A random pic this one - this boat didn't make the turn, and went straight into the tree!