Saturday, 27 April 2013

Boat Returning to Borrowed Mooring, So Sickle Back to Base.

(Boat Sickle - Friday 26th & Saturday 27th April 2013 - posted by Alan)

Seabrook Locks
Circumstances had allowed "Sickle" to remain closer to home, on a mooring adjoining "Chalice's" for longer than expected, but we now knew  that the boat that belonged there was expected back.  So this was the trip to take "Sickle" back to her home mooring.

We had still not managed to get as much done as expected whilst we had her at 'Cooks', but at least we were getting the chance of another trip.

Seabrook Locks again.
It is our preference if we can get on board at 'Cooks' on a Friday evening, after Cath has finished work, to boat up the canal a few locks, and spend the night somewhere quiet.  A favourite spot is just above the two Ivinghoe locks, and that is what we did this time.  I was surprised deep draughted "Sickle" could be persuaded to come in close to some new piling that has gone in there, but she was still just about floating when at the bank - something you can never take for granted with an ex working boat!

Approaching Ivinghoe Locks after a night spent just above.
I don't have the pictures to prove it, unfortunately, but it was a truly stunning evening, as the sun set, with Ivinghoe Beacon fading into the darkness.  Later on a moonlit night produced some wonderful silhouettes from the trees that line the canal here.  Its a lovely spot, and that night it was magical.

We had knocked off the first 3 locks (at Seabrook) on the Friday evening, leaving a fairly leisurely 12 still to do on the Saturday, (or maybe eleven and a half, as the shallow "Fenny" lock barely qualifies somehow!

Saturday was a day of mixed weather - at times brilliant sunshine, at others heavy showers.  If I include one of the pictures of Cath togged up against the fouler weather I don't think I'll be too popular (!), so the photos will more likely show the bits where the sun was attempting to shine.

The sun is out for supermarket stop at Leighton Buzzard.
At Willowbridge Marina we passed Mike Askin's coal boat "Victoria".  Mike had already had problems with a hull leak when on his trip to Ellesmere Port, and some running repairs had been done.  However he was apparently now finding new water appearing in his hold, and clearly a bit concerned "Vicky" was still in trouble.  He explained he rather feared any leak was under the large tank that "Victoria" has in her hold to hold diesel fuel for resale to other boats.  Obviously not the best of places if you need to try and get to it in a hurry!

Cooks Wharf to Fenny Stratford (Grand Union)
Miles: 15.0, Locks: 15

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Slow Start To 2013 Boating

(Boat Sickle - Tuesday 9th April 2013 - posted by Alan)

Waiting for lock at Stoke Hammond
The Easter School Holidays would normally see the serious start of one of our fairly intensive "boating years" that attempts to fit in as many miles and locks as things allow, but always moderated by Cath's job as a teacher.  Traditionally at this time of year it has not only been know for us to (say) attempt the Thames ring in the Easter Holidays, but maybe also pack in a return trip to Lechlade too.

Stoke Hammond lock, on a grey day.

Plenty of volunteer "lockies" at Three Locks - but very few boats!
This year, however, plenty else was going on.  Firstly one of Cath's colleagues was marrying, and we had an invite to her wedding celebrations in London.  Almost immediately after a "Boater's banter" was organised at Gnosall, (with the added promise of a day at Ellesmere Port for the historic boat event taking place there).  Finally I always try and attend reunions with my many old friends from my days in Brighton, who I first met when I went to the University of Sussex, and one of these was to take place in Brighton.

Swing Bridge at Cheddington
Reluctantly Cath and I decided initially that we might have to have just a few days boating, not the usual fortnight, but ultimately we called off any serious plans to go anywhere.  Although this decision was not actually tempered by the appalling weather we had over Easter, it probably proved to be quite a good one - I know other people did cancel plans, not fancying battling along in rain and heavy cross winds!
We decided however that we would move "Sickle" South from its regular mooring, onto a borrowed mooring where we keep "Chalice", as we might be able to tackle some much needed work on her if closer to home, and mains electricity was available.

Railway bridge at Cheddington
In practice that one day move ended up being our sole boating over Easter, and our first of the year.  e had planned to move "Sickle" back again by the end of the two weeks, but it became possible to leave her there a bit longer, so that is what we did.

Variety in approaches to painting cans.
Fenny Stratford to Cooks Wharf (Grand Union)
Miles: 15.0, Locks: 15