Sunday, 15 January 2017

Tomlow (a rare visit to a marina)

We were due for a pump out this weekend so thought we would try somewhere new.  Trouble was we were frozen in again but a couple of boats came through early and broke the ice for us (it wasn’t too thick).  Karen doesn’t like being around when we’re having a pump out so she went off shopping with Buddy and I made my way down to Wigrams Turn marina.

Entering the marina off Napton junction

Before setting off we all went for a walk around the reservoir and there was a cheeky kingfisher that seemed to keep about ten paces in front of us all the way round.  He was almost daring us to get close.  The strange thing was that he didn’t fly away as Buddy passed him – it was just us that he didn’t like.

This was only the third marina we have driven into.  We always felt a bit conspicuous on the old boat as marinas are normally full of posh shiny boats and our old girl clearly wasn’t in that league.  Saying that, we went into Crick marina once for services and the staff there were really friendly and helpful.  We also went into a marina up north once but I can’t remember which one – I do remember we were on a mission as we needed a pump out and everywhere was frozen so Karen was breaking the ice with the boat pole so we could manoeuvre onto the jetty.  The marina bar/cafĂ© was next to the service point and was packed so we had a good audience.  It can be surprisingly difficult, if not impossible sometimes, to turn boats in thick ice if it’s not broken first.

At the service point in Wigrams Turn marina

It was strange not having Buddy with me and I kept looking for him.  The chap who sorted us out at the marina was also really friendly and we had quite a long chat – he changed his lifestyle a year ago and he and his wife sold up and moved onto a boat too.  As the marina allowed us to claim the diesel as 100% domestic, thus avoiding the duty, we have marked them as a place to return to.

Once we had taken on diesel and water and had the pump out I set off for Tomlow.  When Karen had finished shopping she was going to drive the car to Tomlow and then walk back along the canal to meet me, therefore giving Buddy a walk at the same time.

I had to go down the three locks at Calcutt and was just about to leave the second and get the third ready when Karen and Buddy appeared.

In the middle lock at Calcutt – friends of ours with two well behaved Labradors live on the blue boat in the pound on the left

Coming out of the bottom lock – Karen stayed off so Buddy could have more exercise

It was good to do a couple of locks together as I have been doing them on my own for the last ten weeks or so whilst Karen has been at work.  It was also good to cruise along at a nice slow walking pace so we could chat away as I steered the boat and Karen walked along the towpath with Buddy.  Although boats had been through it was still quite icy and it was beginning to reform.

Cruising along the boring straight bit between Calcutt and Tomlow

When we got to Tomlow we moored up for lunch.  We had hoped to carry on and go down the Stockton flight in the afternoon but it was getting late and we didn’t want to be travelling in the dark so we stayed put for the rest of the day.

Moored at Tomlow

Ann, Karen’s mum, has been printing out the blog and binding each month into a separate book.  It’s really quite a lovely idea as it will enable us to dip in and out when we want to in the future.  Clearly we don’t have the space on the boat for the books but have a couple for reading.

Reading one of the books reminded us of when we had our last family get together before renting our house out.

With eight of our children and other halves – just Chris missing

I have to wear the orange tee shirt on family Christmas curry weekend as part of a long standing family tradition.  I don’t mind as long as I have a glass of red wine to hand! 

It rained all night on Saturday and is still pouring as I write this on Sunday morning.  We really want to have a cruise together so who knows, we may get our wet weather gear on and set off for the Stockton flight later.


  1. Two points, I have always found the pump out at Braunston Marina to be very good
    Second point you can get a blog printed as a book.

    1. Hiya - thanks for the book info. I used the Braunstonpump out for the first time a couple of months ago. Trouble is is that it is timed and I allowed 90 secs for rinsing (as advised by the staff) and the timer ran out before I had finished :(