The Montgomery Canal is being actively restored, but of course it is a long and costly process. The limit of navigation is currently at Gronwyn Wharf. If you look carefully, you may be able to see that the canal is fenced off under the bridge, though the towpath continues. It runs nearly all the way to Newtown, Powys, 32½ miles from Frankton Junction. The hope is that the whole length of the 'Monty' will eventually be re-opened, but there is a lot of very basic work to be done, as you can see in the picture of the canal bed a little further on from Gronwyn Bridge. Further on again, the canal was very overgrown – even more to be done!
We had originally expected to simply turn south on the Shropshire Union as soon as we left the Llangollen, but now we planned a diversion back to Middlewich to get some work done on the boat. You may remember our occasional battles with our diesel-fired cooker hob. As we have talked with the team at Middlewich Narrowboats since we called in there in April 2007, we knew that they had the same hobs and ovens installed on their hire boats and that they had experienced some similar problems with the hobs sooting up. Recently, though, they had found a solution – running the hobs and ovens on kerosene instead of marine (red) diesel. Their experience (with 18 boats) showed that there was no sooting-up and the units burned much cleaner – and hotter. So we decided to have a kerosene tank fitted and arranged to be back there on Wednesday 8th October to get things started.