Wednesday 31 December 2008

Last trip report of the year day 5

Last night was cold, there was ice on the gunwale at 4 PM and when we took the dog out last thing the canal was completely frozen over.  This morning the ice was about 10 mm thick when we took the dog for a walk about 10 AM. We could hear the ice "singing" and as we walked along the towing path sure enough we met a boat coming towards us, it must have been a 1/4 mile away when we heard the ice by the boat.  We were very pleased that N.B. Rick Oshay had cut a path for us. We walked back to the boat and continued for about 3/4 mile to the winding hole where we turned and then followed Rick Oshay's path back to Foxton Locks. Unfortunately for us he had turned off up the lock. N.B. Claxon and Matilda Rose were filling their water tanks at the junction and very kindly invited us to pass them before the also made their way towards Leicester, needles to say we were the first boat to travel that section today and ended up breaking the ice all the way to Debdale Wharf. We turned into the marina and made our way slowly round to then where Dave's paint shop is, I'm not sure if we should be moored here or not, but the Office is closed for the next couple of days and if we had moored outside, with temperatures as they are we may not get in on Friday, so we will sit here until someone comes and shouts at us.

So it looks as if our travels are not only over for 2008 but also for the first couple of months of 2009 as well. Watch this space.


You will find our latest position at

Tuesday 30 December 2008

Last trip of the year day 4

We set off at 10 am to a bright sunny morning, it felt quite mild compared with late but there was very thin ice on parts of the cut. We had about 7 miles to go to the Foxton flight and we only met a couple of boats on the way. Its good to see that North Kilworth Wharf has been taken over and is now supplying boaters needs once more.  At the top of the locks we stopped for lunch and then headed to the top lock which was in our favour. Diana walked down the flight to see the lock keeper and returned saying two boats were coming up the bottom half and there was no locky. by now another boat had drawn up behind us and we set off  down the top half to pass the up hill boats in the centre pound. Just as we approached half way the lock keeper appeared and told us to pull over in the centre pound and let the other boats passed. We said yes, I didn't add it was the only thing we could do. As the second boat passed I told the locky that there was a boat waiting at the top, checking the time he said " he will be lucky, last boat in is at 1445 and its now 1420 hrs." I don't know if the other boat made it but at 1445 the locky was seeing us out and putting the padlock on the bottom gate to stop anyone else coming up. Once through the lock we turned right towards Market Harborough and do battle with the new swing bridge, it would have been easier if the Canaltime boats were not moored to the bollards so Diana could have got off and on easily instead she had to step of the very bow onto the entrance to the bridge and then back on the stern on the off side.  On the 14 day moorings we passed n.b. Caxton  and  n.b. Matilda Rose, got a quick wave as we passed. We carried on towards Market Harborough for a couple of miles before mooring for the night at 4 PM.

For our latest location http://tinyurl.com/Harnser-s-route

Monday 29 December 2008


Today was not so bright but not quite so cold with no ice on the roof. We set off at ten past nine heading for the Watford flight. I stuck the nose into the bottom lock while Diana went to find the lock keeper, there wasn't one, but there were three boats coming down, one in the staircase, one just entering the second from bottom lock and one behind them. I filled the bottom lock and opened the top gates ready for the single hander at the next lock and then backed Harnser out of the way. Diana waved to the next boat that we were coming up and once the single hander had left the bottom lock we started to ascend, We had to wait above the second lock for the last boat to clear the staircase before we could go any further. If BW are not going to have a lock keep on duty why do they insist on having opening hours?

Once clear of the locks we found the going on the summit pound quite slow due to the bottom being to close to the top, and we are not as deep as several of the boats we met today. It seemed they had organised a Christmas get together at the end of the Welford Arm with 40 boats attending and now some of them are heading towards Stoke Bruerne for New Years eve. Lucky for us they were well spaced out. We had heard that there was a new marina being build at Yelvertoft but we didn't see any sign of it. The day seemed to get cooler as the afternoon progressed and we finally stopped for the night about a mile and a half before Welford Junction  at three o'clock.


For our latest location http://tinyurl.com/Harnser-s-route

Sunday 28 December 2008

Last trip of the year day 2

We woke to a sunny but cool morning, The boat had a layer of ice on the roof but there was no ice on the canal. We pushed off at 10 AM heading towards Braunston.  BW have really done bridge 100 proud, not only have they printed 100 on a laminated piece of A4 paper, they have then mounted them on 6 foot long round posts and driven one in each side of the bridge on the off side. NB Lucy now has a couple of notices on the side telling people that it is a restoration project and please keep off,  All the top cloths have gone, I don't know if  these were removed by the new owner or if their removal prompted the notices.    Just through Braunston Turn we saw NB Hadar moored up, chimneys smoking well. A couple of blasts on the horn soon brought Jo and Keith out to say hello and exchange Christmas and New Year greetings. We carried on to Braunston Bottom Lock where a boat had just gone up before us. As Diana turned the lock I got talking to Phil at Bottom Lock chandlery who has built a small Venetian Gondola that now stand beside his workshop. As we locked up John P came along for a chat and then returned to his boat, only to reappear with bike and windlass to help us up the flight. This did actually slow us down a bit as we had to stop at The Admiral Nelson for a swift one, as they were doing Sunday lunch we also tried the Gloucester Old Spot roast pork. Moored outside the Nelson was NB Debdale but there was no one onboard, so I expect they were in the Nelson as well.

After a good  Sunday Lunch and admiring some of the landlords art work, photographs on canvas. We continued our journey up the Braunston flight, while we had been eating a couple of boats came down so now the locks were with us and John helped us right to the top.  Braunston tunnel was very clear and we could see from end to end and it was quite a bit warmer in there. We turned left onto the Leicester Arm and a short way along we came to the Narrowboat trusts pair of boats, Brighton and Nuneaton moored breasted up opposite 3 BW boats moored , breasted up on the offside bank, I'm glad it was still light, if it had been 5 PM we probably wouldn't have seen the BW flats. We passed a few boats mooring up for the day and continued on just past Weltonfield Marina where we had planned to moor. Just as we were mooring Peter Thompson on Colonel followed by NB Bream, not sure if it was Steve came the other way and passed very slowly so as not to drag us back into the middle of the cut as we waited to step ashore.

For our latest location http://tinyurl.com/Harnser-s-route

Saturday 27 December 2008

Last trip of the year day 1

We arrived at the boat a little after 2 PM after a rather slow drive from Suffolk. At 3 o'clock we were at Napton top lock emptying the car onto the boat. One boat had just come up the flight but unfortunately for us, they must have met a boat in that pound, as from here on all the locks were against us with several of the bottom offside gates open. Just after 4 PM we were in the bottom pound and passing NB Ten Bob Note who was facing up the flight.  BW now have a notice at the bottom lock instructing people how to operate the locks, its a bit rough and ready stuck on what looks like a "road works" board, but with so many hire bases near by I suppose it makes sense.  We thought of mooring for the night by the Folly and there was a space behind the Ownerships NB Orchard, which to our surprise had friends and fellow Ipswich IWA/Gipping Trust members Lewis and Mitzi onboard. By now we had decided to carry on to The Bridge, Napton, but when we arrived the moorings were all full so we carried on to the next bridge and moored for the night at 5 PM in the dark.

For our latest location http://tinyurl.com/Harnser-s-route

Friday 19 December 2008

We are heading home

Yesterday evening we took the Christmas presents to my daughter and family. The only work I carried out apart from fitting a new battery was to put a new foot on the gang plank for when it stands on the freshly painted roof and remove the brass plaques from the inside of the engine room door ready to fit new linings after Christmas. Basically in 5 days we did about 2 hours work.

Wednesday 17 December 2008

I've got man flu

We arrived on the boat just after lunch on Monday; the plan was to do lots of work. Diana was half way through the flu and I am a few days behind her so we both feel more than one degree under. The temperature on the boat was just 4.5 C. with a humidly of 96% when we arrived. First job was to get the Dickinson fired up and then the range in the back cabin, which was not over cooperative. By bedtime the boat had warmed nicely and all the bedding in the boatman’s cabin was well aired before I let the fire die out for the night.
One of the jobs on the list was to fit a new domestic battery, last time we came to the boat the voltage was low, which is unusual as I always charge as much as possible before leaving the boat. We have a 24-volt system provided by 4X6 volt 200 amp batteries and when I removed the cover to the battery box one looked very suspect with dampness around the filler cap, sure enough it was the one with the low voltage. Tuesday I felt fit enough to change it, needless to say it wasn’t the easiest one in the bank to get out. While I was head down in the engine room with the side doors open for light "Epiphany" came by heading south and we exchanged a quick hello as they continued on there way and I continued struggling. Needless to say the new battery is about 1 cm longer than the old one so I had to adjust (saw a bit off) the spacer at the end of the battery box. Hopfully if things improve a bit I will do some more work before we go home at the weekend.