After doing a few chores and taking Buddy for a walk, we set off back to Warwick on Monday. As I said yesterday, it’s expected that the canal will freeze for a week and, to be on the safe side, I wanted to get a pump out and fill up with water.
The ice wasn’t particularly thick – about ¾” - but it still made that lovely noise as the bow broke through it. Walkers and commuters on the towpath often stop to listen and exchange a few words in those conditions, and yesterday was no exception.
Breaking the ice can actually make it thicker which seems a bit obtuse. As it breaks, large sheets come free and slide across the top of the unbroken ice. This then doubles the thickness when it refreezes and then repeats when the next boat comes through.
As we approached Cape we passed some new houses. I have noticed before that one of the houses has been building a collection of gin bottles on the fence that adjoins the cut. They must have had a heavy Christmas because it looks completely full now.
When we reached Cape, I moored up to get the bottom lock set and saw that the next pound was completely ice-free.
It was bitterly cold, so I had put Buddy’s coat on him as he would be standing on the back deck for most of the journey.
I had lunch whilst taking on water opposite the Cape of Good Hope pub and then continued on to the Saltisford arm. The cut was still ice-free and there were just a few bits on the arm itself. When I pulled up at the jetty, Les was working on the pump out machine. When I came a month ago, he had had a new pump installed and, on that day, it had broken down and the engineers from Leesan fixed it whilst I waited. This time, it had completely failed and had just been taken away. Les was getting his previous pump back into service and it worked like a dream.
When we were finished, I reversed out of the arm and moored up just past the junction in the same spot we had been in a week ago.
Before it got dark, we went for a walk up the Hatton flight and stopped to have a look at how the works were getting on at lock #27. Stop planks were fully in place below the bottom gates and above the top gates and the water had been pumped out. Work was now going on to repair the cill which is why the lock needs to be completely dry.
During the week the old balance beams had been put on the new bottom lock gates so all that needs to be done to finish them off is to put the handrails back.
We don’t seem to be getting the heavy snow that was forecast so it will be interesting to see what this week really brings 😊