Thursday, 8 March 2012

Frankton Locks and the Weston Branch.

Frankton Locks, winter opening 1200 to 1400, we arrived at 1030 so there was time for a recce. Promptly at 1200 the lock keeper turned up, off came the padlocks and we were on our way down, the only boat booked through the flight today.

On the wall of the lockies hut at the top of the locks this plaque proudly records the re-opening of the locks in 1987. You couldn't actually use them until 1995, mostly because of squabbles with various wildlife groups, mostly over rare water plants that infest the canal. Water weed is water weed isn't it?

The top two locks are a staircase,

it don't 'arf look deep and narrow.
Below the staircase there are two more locks, the top one of which has this plaque attached,

it records the conversion of Cressy, the narrow boat immortalised by Tom Rolt in his book Narrowboat, from working boat to leisure use.

Left centre is the remains of the dry dock where the conversion took place, it's a garden feature now.
After clearing the locks we turned into what remains of the Weston Branch. This was originally going to go as far as Shrewsbury but owing to shortage of cash it only ever went five and a half miles to the village of Weston Lullingfields. It opened in 1797 and closed, after a breach, in 1917.

The remaining stub is in use as very pleasant moorings, that's us with Balmaha behind. After about fifty yards it is blocked off

 and then extends a few more yards in water

and then, after a second block, it becomes a dry ditch.
Tomorrow we intend a spring clean.

Watch this space..............

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