Friday, 15 January 2016

Long cold cruise and a blog reader meeting

The weather forecast was spot on with rain overnight but a dry day.  We even had sunshine and a clear blue sky at one stage.

The decision from the boaters meeting was to go up the Chester staircase locks and moor outside Tesco. Once the cupboards had been restocked we’d review the situation and decide whether to continue.

I walked forward and set up the flight and then Jan worked Waiouru up.  A photographer hovered around taking numerous photos, but wasn’t much interested in helping Jan with the gates.  The transit up actually went better than our earlier trip down.  We were outside Tesco by 10.45am and back onboard with full bags by 11.30am.After an early lunch we looked at the weather and decided to go up the remaining five locks.  As we approach the first lock (Hoole Lane Lock) I could see one lower gate was open and there was a boat in the lock.  There’s an elsan station beside the lock and I thought the boater might be using it.  I was forced to loiter outside the entrance to the lock which proved to be rather difficult as there was a strong side wind blowing me acroos the canal and into the path the boat in the lock would need.  Eventually the solo boater left the lock and we managed to pass each other; both commenting on the wind.  At the next lock (Chemistry Lock) we found the lock empty and one gate open.  Obviously the solo boater had left it in this condition (probably due to the wind).  This actually made it easier for us, so no complaints!

We found the 3rd lock (Tarvin Lock) in our favour and a CRT working boat arrived whilst Jan was operating the lock.  One of the two man crew came forward to assist with the lock which was nice.  However Jan wasn’t too happy that he left his windlass on the raised paddle.  His colleague wasn’t too happy with him not wearing his lifejacket and kept calling out and waving the jacket above his head.  We don’t wear our life jackets on canals so I’m not going to criticise him.  But I’m willing to bet wearing the lifejacket is in his conditions of employment.

The last lock of the day was Christleton.  Jan had shut the lower gates and raised one paddle when she stopped to converse with a passing walker.  It turned out he had recognised the boat and was a blog reader.  It’s always nice when blog readers introduce themselves, so thanks Nick!  Thanks also for helping Jan with the lock.


Nick’s boat is moored out near Beeston Iron Lock, so we may see it tomorrow, weather permitting.

Jan went back inside Waiouru to sort out the laundry.  It’s interesting how drying laundry can drag down the temperature inside the cabin.  It’s the air-conditioning effect! Smile

We decided to make the most of the dry weather and keep going.  That didn’t provide too much of a problem whilst the sun continued to shine taking the sting out of the cold wind.  Actually we were well wrapped up.  I was wearing a T-shirt, jersey, fleece, scarf and raincoat along with a beanie on my head and thick winter socks.  My hands were protected by the ski gloves we bought in Aldi last year.  Jan was similarly dressed but was wearing two fleeces.

Eventually we reached the very long line of linear moorings at Golden Nook.


These moorings seem to go on forever when doing tick-over.  At times this proved tricky in the strong crosswind.

Beeston Castle was becoming more prominant on the skyline and eventually we reached the entrance to Tattenhall Marina.


Beeston Castle in the background

Shortly thereafter the sun decided to call it a day and started to disappear below the horizon.  That’s when the effect of the cold wind really started to be noticed.  I suggested to Jan there was no point in both us suffering and she should go inside the cabin.  However she declined, saying we should stick together.  Eventually we reached the 48 hour moorings a the Shady Oaks Pub and decided to call it a day.  I struggled erecting the wigwam for wimps.  My fingers were numb with cold which was causing problems with the turnbuckles.  A warm cabin was a welcome feeling, only surpassed by the subsequent hot shower.

We have changed our cabin heating routine.  Until now we have kept the diesel stove going whilst cruising.  Consequentially the Hurricane central heater has hardly been used.  This isn’t an issue but we have noticed some of the clothing in the drawers and lockers feel cold.  The diesel stove produces radiant heat which doesn’t do much for the content of cupboards and drawers.  However the central heating system runs through these areas warming the contents.  So from now on we will run the central heating when the engine is on and the diesel stove when it’s not. 


Halfie said...

Are you able to pump some of the waste heat from the engine through the radiators? We did that on Shadow in cold weather. The rads got warm enough to take the edge off the cold; doing this didn't overcool the engine. (Shadow had an Alde gas boiler with the usual tiny pump at the top).

Oh, and I did a double take at your photo of Nick. At first I thought he was leaning on the bottom gate balance beam. Then I realised he was standing on the walk board of the top gate!

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Halfie

I did investigate the feasibility and cost of your suggestion. In the end I decided the cost outweighed the cost of the diesel for running the central heating.