The forecast for the Midlands was for heavy rain throughout New Year’s Day. It started when we woke up and looked like it was going to rain all day. We decided to stay in until lunchtime and then go for a good walk afterwards, whatever the weather. We had a couple of bags of rubbish to get rid of so we started by going to the boaters’ refuse point at the bottom of the Napton flight and then went on a circular walk taking in Napton and back along the canal. We paused by a field of pigs so they could investigate Buddy and vice versa.
Buddy and his porky buddies
Looking through the rain onto the start of the Napton flight from the top of Napton hill
Looking down onto where we are moored. We are the boat you can’t see fourth from left.
The boat on the far left is called Honore. Steve lives on this boat and travels the same stretches we do as he works in Leamington. The boat on the far right is called Ella and we are always passing them too – the couple who live there also seem to travel the same area as us. We have never spoken to them properly, just exchanging grunts occasionally as they really seem to keep themselves to themselves.
The rain didn’t let up the whole day and we took advantage of having a larger shower than we had on the previous boat and hung our wet weather gear up in there to dry when we got back.
Looking back over the time we have been living on the boat we haven’t had many days of non-stop rain; two days stick in our minds:
- New Year’s Day 2013 when we had to go up the Marsworth flight on the Grand Union as we had to get to a boat yard for hull blacking on the following day. Not only did we have torrential rain but it was also really windy. As we went past the reservoirs the wind was whipping the water up and driving it horizontally across the canal.
- The day before the General Election 2015 (May). We were on the Huddersfield Narrow canal and had to get to the summit by the end of the day as we were booked to go through Standedge tunnel the next day. We had to climb many locks and they were all really hard and the incessant rain didn’t help matters.
Standedge tunnel (under the pennines between Lancashire and Yorkshire) is one of the most amazing experiences we have had on the boat – at 3 ¼ miles long it is the highest, deepest and longest canal tunnel in the UK. After going through the tunnel we had to come back again as the boat we had then was too long to get through the locks in Huddersfield. We knew that before we set out on the canal but really wanted to experience the tunnel and were so glad we did even with the awful weather.
Today, Monday, looks like being a beautiful day so we will stay moored where we are and go for a long walk. It was very frosty first thing and the water was frozen over.
First thing Monday – you can see a boat has been through the ice already