Saturday, 16 January 2016

Empty & Full

As forecasted, we awoke to find the countryside covered in a thick frost and the canal frozen over.  All of which left us with an important decision.  Do we wait and risk not being trapped out in the countryside or do we move on to Middlewich and closer to services.  The fuel for the diesel stove was also getting low.  After a brief discussion we decided to move knowing we would probably be breaking ice throughout the 10km cruise to Middlewich.

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IMG_873910am and it’s still slightly dark!

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The ice on the canal was about 10mm thick . 

The first problem was our inability to collapse the pram cover which had frozen stiff during the night.  Eventually I left the back hatch and doors open, the escaping heat took about 20 minutes to defrost the cover.  The bow and stern mooring ropes were also frozen.  In the end I managed to slip both of them off the tops of the wooden mooring posts without having to attempt to untie them.

The stern rope was thrown onto the back deck where it stood upright.  Actually it could have been used for the indian rope trick.  More importantly I had to stay out of its way to avoid the stiff end of the rope going up my trouser leg and making my eyes water.

After some forward and reverse I managed to clear the ice from around the boat and started heading towards Middlewich.  Jan was going to stay warm inside the boat but the noise of the breaking ice quickly drove her to join me outside.

P1020275P1020276Throughout the cruise I kept thinking of the blacking being scrapped off as we broke the ice.  Jan managed to get some interesting photos of the countryside.

P102027910km and two locks later we arrived at Middlewich Junction where I turned left and then reversed back to Kings Lock Chandlery for diesel and a pumpout.  Kings Lock no longer do pumpouts but at 57ppl (domestic) their diesel is the cheapest around here.  Actually if you buy more than 100 litres it’s 56ppl.  We filled all three tanks taking 285 litres.  A quick calculation revealed we are using approximately 2.7 litres per day heating the boat using the Refleks stove.

After the tanks were full we crossed over to the towpath side and filled the water tank from the CRT tap on the junction.  Next it was a slow cruise around the bend to Middlewich Boats to have the toilet tank emptied.  After three weeks it was only quarter full but we are being cautious at the moment.  Actually the boatyard had a problem with the pumpout.  The water had frozen in their pumpout hose.  Eventually the young fellow fetched a kettle of boiling water which he poured down the hose clearing the ice blockage.

Our plan was to be near a water point and shops so we dropped down the three locks of the Middlewich flight and moored beside the park. 

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I’m not sure how many layers of clothing the snow bunny is wearing but it’s significantly more than usual!

We winded just before the park moorings and reversed back.  These are very popular during summer but there’s only one other boat here at the moment.  To our surprise two Middlewich hire boats passed us later in the afternoon.  I wonder what happens if they get frozen in.  Speaking of frozen, It appears there has been no damage to the epoxy two-pack blacking after breaking ice all day.  The ice has remove the weed and that horrible minerals scab leaving the blacking untouched.  Not that it is particularly important as we plan to have Waiouru taken out and re-blacked this summer.

IMG_8746We will probably be here several days, or at least until the current cold snap passes.

4 comments :

Jenny said...

That sounds like you are a couple of intrepid Artic explorers, "breaking ice for the next 10kms". PKeased you made it safely and didn't get eaten by a polar bear!

Jenny and Robin, Romany Rambler - down here on a warm Kiwi summer's day.

Tom and Jan said...

No bears, only rabbits around here! 😊

Rona Hawes said...

I'm glad your blacking was undamaged by the ice breaker. We've been passed by a few boats ice breaking at speed and wondered what damage would be done. We're sitting cosy(ish)on our winter mooring on the Leicester arm,reading your daily blog. Rona nb'Unfazed'

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Rona

I don't think it's nice boating to pass a moored boat breaking ice at speed. We did it at tick-over in the belief it was us that had decided to move and any potential damage should be confined to our boat. Fortunately the boat doesn't appear to have suffered any damage to the blacking despite breaking the ice.