Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Elkington

Having spent a wet, and very windy Monday at Welford, it was time to move on. After breakfast we had the opportunity to test the reversing capabilities of our new axiom propeller, as we needed water and the water point was three hundred yards to our rear. I would like to report that I was able to reverse the whole distance, including rounding a slight bend, without the use of the front rudder aka the bow thruster, but alas it was not to be. Still whilst filling with water we were logged by the CRT boat checker, possibly for the first time this year, and then at 11 o'clock we were underway. The sun was shining but there was a slight breeze which was bitterly cold. We negotiated the single lock, and continued on towards the junction. We had considered turning right and popping along to Foxton for the day, but the weather tomorrow is not looking good. At the junction it was left, on a return journey towards Yelvertoft. We however were going to be stopping before then, at a frequent location of ours, near to bridge 27. Both the crew hopped ashore at bridge 33, in order to provide four legs with his exercise. Not long after, he was seen to be examining something in the hedgerow a little too closely. This usually means he has found something disgusting to stick his nose into. However on this occasion it turned out to be coiled grass snake, sunning itself in the spring sunshine. On arrival at our intended spot, we found we were alone and so had our choice of mooring. During the afternoon several boats have passed by with none stopping.  
 
  The views from our side hatch over the canal, show what a pleasant rural spot this is. It was on a visit to this spot over the winter, that cost me a propeller, so I am hoping whatever we hit has been moved since we were last here.  
  • Totals 7 Miles 1 Lock
  • Running total 22 Miles 2 Locks

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Welford

This morning we arose when the alarm clock, aka the diesel heater went off. The sun was streaming in through the roof prisms, however upon opening the side hatches, the sky was disappointingly cloudy. The forecast was for some very gusty winds, and these seemed to be building by the minute. After breakfast we were underway, 200 yards to the junction, and then turning right towards Welford. The arm is quite overgrown and shallow in places, but it was not long before reaching the solitary lock. The gates were already open in our favour, so it was straight in at which point the furry crew member, kept his beady eye on things from the bridge above.
Once through the lock it was only a few hundred yards to the end of the arm. The 48 hr spot at the far end was full, so we winded and moored opposite the Marina. Lunch was taken in the Wharf Inn, where we met fellow Hudson owners from nb ATLAST. The afternoon was spent watching England crumble at the final hurdle, in pursuit of a second Grand Slam. Looking at the weather forecast, we will stay put till Tuesday, when it appears we have some decent sunshine to look forward too.  
  • Totals 1 Mile 1 Lock
  • Running total 15 Miles 1 Lock
 
 
 

Friday, 17 March 2017

Welford Junction

Today after filling with water and pumping out the black tank, we finally departed the Marina following our winter confinement. The early signs of the sun soon disappeared as the sky clouded over, and the wind was decidedly chilly. Turning right from the Marina we headed north towards Welford. This was going to be the first opportunity to see how the axiom propeller performed. Despite being cold it was not long till we met an oncoming boat at a bridge hole. A quick burst of reverse throttle and the boat came to a complete stop. It also maintained a dead straight line. It appears as if the prop works as it should. We carried on passing beneath the A14 and a little more than three hours after setting off we arrived at Welford Junction. There was only one other boat moored here so we had plenty of room to choose our spot. We quickly secured the boat and lined up the satellite dish, doing so just before the rain arrived. Tomorrow we plan to turn right at the junction and travel the short canal arm to Welford and the Wharf Inn.   
  • Totals 8 Miles
  • Running total 14 Miles

Monday, 13 March 2017

An expensive day trip

This is our first post of 2017, having spent most of the winter in the relative luxury of Yelvertoft Marina. We have had a few jobs to sort out prior to commencing our travels on the waterways, including, changing the primary fuel filter, replacing a noisy and temperamental fresh water pump, and servicing our hurricane diesel heater. We have also had one or two days when the weather was so nice, it would have been criminal not to take the boat up the cut for a spin. It was during our last cruise a couple of weeks ago, we developed a bit of tiller wobble, well in fact more than a bit, it was quite a lot. Once back on our berth, it was down the weed hatch for the first time since the boat was built, to remove whatever had attached itself to our propeller. It couldn't be anything more serious than rubbish round the prop, as we had not heard any noise of the propeller striking a hard and unforgiving object. How wrong. As I felt the prop whilst perched upside down in the weed hatch, it was quickly apparent that the prop was no longer the shape it should be.  Today, it was round to the slipway to be dragged out by tractor for the new Axiom prop to be fitted. This was also the first time I could see how the hull was looking following our zinc treatment at Debdale Wharf. The hull looked as clean as a whistle. The prop however was a bit more bent than I thought.
The prop needed a bit of encouragement to free itself from the shaft, then it was time for the nice shiny new one to be attached. All in all the whole process took 15/20 minutes.
Shortly after lunch we were relaunched, and we made our way back to the berth. One of the claims made by Axiom, is the design of their prop allows for stopping in much shorter distances. I tried this, and it did seem to be the case that we stopped much quicker than previously, and also maintained a straight line. We will give it a proper trial later in the week, when we set off on our eight month journey.  
  • Totals 6 Miles
  • Running total 6 Miles

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Captain's shore leave

As skipper of the boat it is rare that I take shore leave and only tend to do so when we are safely secure in port. Such an occasion occurred on Tuesday, so I departed for Kent leaving the crew on board. Whilst away the crew got busy. I was the proud owner of eight shirts, but now I only have four. I do have a nice rag rug which seems to resemble the colour of my now missing shirts.
Missing shirts rug.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Yelvertoft Marina

Having departed Glascote Basin, we put on a bit of a spurt to get back to Yelvertoft before the arrival of some bad weather. We ended up doing in four days what we would normally do in fourteen. On Wednesday 12/10, we set off early to fill with water at the foot of the Atherstone flight. The flight consists of eleven single locks, and today luck was on our side. At each of the first five locks we met a boat coming down so the lock was set for us. The next three locks, we had a little assistance from the volunteers, and then again at the top lock. Soon we were passing through Nuneaton. This town has a bad reputation for rubbish in the canal. We passed through earlier in the year and we were pleasantly surprised, it seemed as if the town had cleaned up its act. Not so, it was once again squalid. We passed the junction with the Ashby Canal, we are planning on doing this next year, following the Hudson boat owners gathering at Glascote in July. We turned left at Hawkesbury Junction in front of the Greyhound P.H. and picked up a mooring just beyond the stop lock. We were now on the Oxford Canal. Following our epic day, it was justifiable to reward ourselves with an evening meal in the pub.

Thursday 13/10, we travelled 18 miles to the outskirts of Braunston. The weather was a bit warmer, the wind coming from the south rather than the east. This change whilst welcome, was also the reason why we wanted to get home before Sunday, when some heavy rain was due. We saw very few boats moving today, and just after navigating the relatively short Newbold Tunnel we stopped for lunch. The afternoon session took us through the three locks at Hillmorton, then passed the new Marina under construction at Dunchurch. By the time we arrived on the outskirts of Braunston we were both ready for a rest. No pub this time as we had stopped in the middle of the countryside.

Mooring outside Braunston.
 

Friday 14/10, we made our way towards Braunston. At the junction we joined the Grand Union Canal heading towards six wide locks. Just as we were entering the bottom lock another boat arrived, which would make the ascent of the flight much easier. We navigated Braunston Tunnel without meeting any oncoming boats, and then it was a short cruise to Norton Junction. Here we turned left onto the Leicester section of the Grand Union. We moored in our usual spot, and after securing the boat walked the short distance to the New Inn for lunch. We also booked in for our Sunday roast.

Saturday 15/10, the final leg of our journey. On arrival the foot of Watford staircase locks we were second in the queue. Shortly after our arrival, the single boat descending emerged from the bottom lock, and we were on our way. Once on the summit level of the Leicester line we navigated through Crick Tunnel, receiving a good drenching on the way through. As Cracks Hill came into view, the crew took four legs off the boat and walked him over the top, whilst I took the boat the long way round. They were waiting a good ten minutes for me to arrive at the other side of the hill. Back on the boat, we turned into the Marina and onto the service dock for a pump out and diesel. Now safely secured on our berth we have a few trips home over the next few weeks. Any further cruising will be restricted to the summit level and subject to the weather.

  • Totals Wednesday  12/10. 14 Miles 12 Locks
  •           Thursday      13/10. 18 Miles 1 Tunnel 
  •           Friday           14/10.  7 Miles  6 Locks  1 Tunnel 
  •           Saturday.      15/10.  7 Miles  7 Locks  1 Tunnel 
 
  • Running total  424 Miles 241 Locks 17 Tunnels

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Polesworth

Today the crew rejoin the boat, and shortly after lunch with our business at Glascote Basin complete, we made our way towards the cut. Under the bridge turning left towards Coventry the sun was shining, but there is the distinct feel of autumn in the air. After a few miles we reached the village of Polesworth and our chosen mooring spot was not much further. We opted for a short easy day today in preparation of the 11 locks at Atherstone we will face tomorrow.
Mooring at Polesworth.
 
Whilst at Glascote with the benefit of being able to moor against the side of the dock, bother sides of the boat have received there biannual wash and wax. The solid fuel stove was also lit to burn off any stove polish residue in readiness for its winter usage. We are aiming for Yelvertoft on Sunday so a couple of long days (for us) are on the cards.
 
  • Totals 5 Miles
  • Running total 378 Miles 216 Locks 14 Tunnels