Thursday, 12 January 2017

Calcutt (moved 100 yards)

Yes, we moved 100 yards on Wednesday!  It was washing day so once it was all done it was off to the water point to fill up again.  I would have filled up even if I hadn’t done any washing as we have more cold weather forecast and it’s good to keep topped up with supplies in case we get frozen in.

I knew it was windy but hadn’t realised just how strong it was until I set off – our spot by the reservoir was quite exposed especially as the wind whips across the water.  I got into one of those situations where, when you are half way through, you know you should really stop or things may go terribly wrong.  I was in danger of losing the boat as the wind was pulling it away from me and the mooring rope was slipping through my hands.  I managed to wrap the rope back round a tree which held the boat securely whilst I decided what to do.  I thought that the worst that could happen would be that the boat would just get blown across to the other bank so I waited for a lull in the wind and carried on.  Fortunately Buddy knows when we are casting off so was sitting on the back deck so I didn’t have to worry about getting him on the boat.

After taking on water, this is our new mooring just above Calcutt top lock.  The water point is on the left by the green sign.

I must admit that I had a little difficulty getting on the water point – I turned round OK and reversed into the spot but the wind kept blowing me away from the side.  These issues are much easier to deal with when there are two of you of course but Buddy didn’t really help.  Some people have bow thrusters at the front of their boats; these are little motors that can push the boat left or right at the front.  When coupled with the rudder at the stern it makes manoeuvring a lot easier.  There is concern that using bow thrusters erodes canal banks and I must admit that we often see people using them to push away from the bank when it is quite unnecessary.

My plan was to get back to the mooring I had just left but it was far too windy to attempt it on my own so I went to the tow path side and moored up as in the picture above.  Anyway, with the strong wind, it did mean I got the washing dry in record time, although I kept checking that the bed clothes hadn't blown away!

When we used to continuous cruise on the Kennet and Avon canal in the south we made friends with a couple of liveaboards called Richard and Sarah and I remember him telling me how he lost his boat in the wind once.  He was mooring up on his own once as his wife was inside with their new born baby.  He lost the boat and as he was so far from a bridge or a lock (and he had precious cargo inside) he waded/swam across to get the boat – this was in the winter too.  Of course, true to boating rule number 4 (if something goes wrong there will be people watching), there were hikers walking past to witness the episode.

My chesty cough has persisted this week so I haven’t been out for any long walks but it’s been nice to see blue skies occasionally.

Getting out with blue skies – Buddy 20 yards in front as usual

The stretch in the picture above is what Karen and I call, ‘the boring bit’, between Calcutt and Tomlow – we don’t like long straight sections like his – many can be found on the Shropshire Union so it puzzles us why so many people rave about that canal.

Buddy was glad the ice had melted as it meant he could get a drink whenever he wanted without waiting for me to break the ice.

Having said that we are heading for Stratford on Avon next, we have to delay setting off as the winter closures are continuing for a month longer than originally planned.  The final locks into the town are now going to be closed until nearly the end of March.  It just means we will spend more time getting to Warwick over the next couple of months.  We may even pop back to Flecknoe or have a trip on the South Oxford canal first.  That’s one of the joys of our way of life, we can decide on the day whether to move or not and where to go.

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