Category: Boat Update

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Into winter hibernation

Little did Cleddau or her crew know in early October last year that she was leaving Victoria Pit on the upper level of the Macclesfield Canal for what would be a Gap Year Plus… Tixall Wide to Aston Marina, 9 miles, 3 locks Monday October 1st dawned dry, though breezy. This really was to be the final boating day of the 2018 cruise. There was a short final stroll along the towpath at Tixall Wide,    the bank now clear...

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Do you want … Paradise?

Slowly onward, Hopwas to Tixall Wide, 21¼ miles, 5 locks During the recent crop of warm September days there have been lengthening afternoon shadows and stunning evening sunsets.   The most frequent sign of the season has been grey squirrels, spotted in numerous locations, scrabbling for booty to haul away to secret places. Along the Coventry Canal, beside the Trent and Mersey and on the Shugborough Estate grey squirrels have been seen, always focused and always fast!   On sunny Thursday...

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Battling on

There had been a sharp right at Marston Junction off the Coventry Canal.  High winds and poor weather drove Cleddau to hunker down in a safe setting for a couple of days. (Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th September). There are plenty of mooring areas along the Ashby Canal although a tree-free stretch with straight metal piling to hook or chain onto between Bridges 2 and 3 was already occupied by several boats. In the high winds    the boat was...

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An end to things

Braunston Summit (Northamptonshire) to Marston Junction (Warwickshire):  29½ miles, 10 locks Cruising since Braunston Summit has had a sense of finality about it. This (Braunston Tunnel on Saturday morning)    was to be the last proper tunnel of the year.   The tunnel light checked, the cabin lights turned on, the flood light was mounted on the engine hatch – and yes, the bow was struck by an oncoming Napton hire boat… It’s a tunnel wide enough for a broad beam boat...

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Grand cruising on the Grand Union

Gayton – Braunston Summit: 13 miles, 7 locks Safely up and away from the River Nene, Cleddau and Tentatrice both had engines serviced at Gayton Marina on Tuesday morning. This was the first service for Cleddau since Burton Fields Marina, near Lincoln. For those who like numbers it was a basic service after 250 engine hours, the BETA 43 engine installed by Stoke Boats in Spring 2014 now having run for 2282 hours. The engine service was a remarkably slick...

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Back to the canals

Cleddau had been climbing steadily since leaving Peterborough on 27th August. Peterborough is judged as 10 feet above sea level and Gayton, where Cleddau has paused for an engine service, is 300 feet. A lot of feet and a lot of locks then… Monday was the day for a serious climb. There was an early departure from a mooring overlooked by the University of Northampton, then on past the Carlsberg Brewery      and back onto Canal and River Trust waters. ...

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Bridges, boats, trains – and reeds

What are the characteristics of the Nen (as in hen and men, spelt Nene) between Thrapston and Northampton, a distance of some 26 miles and 22 locks… Well, there are bridges (rail and road), locks, chalet and caravan parks – and weedy, reedy waters… After a quick morning visit to Thrapston on Tuesday (see previous post ) the boats left the Sailing Club moorings, passed easily under the new (and higher) footbridge    and rose through Islip Lock. The upstream...

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Never presume…

Along the Nene (rhyming with preen and mean) from Oundle to Thrapston, 8½ miles, 4 locks So what of Oundle then?    This extremely good-looking Northamptonshire town was previously investigated in June 2014. Then, as now, it exuded wealth and a sense of ‘county class’.  It was a mile or so short of Oundle on Thursday that this structure was passed.     It was a yurt – a yoga yurt. Inside two lithe young women were stretching and posing –...

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 Upstream strategy

Wet, wet, wet it was, when Cleddau and Tentatrice left Peterborough on Sunday morning. What strategy would bring likely success? The target was overnight moorings at Ferry Meadow Lake (only two pontoons, mooring allowed for 24 hours only). En route the water tanks needed replenishment (would there be a boat queue at the water tap?) and supplies needed replenishing from ASDA (would the railings beside the store be free of other boats…?) From their mooring nearer the water point the...

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Sky high!

In a flat landscape any vertical structure is pretty prominent. Whittlesey, a small market town, is 6 miles east of Peterborough. From the moorings beside the park (just above Ashline Lock) the tall tower and spire of St Mary’s Church is very noticeable.     Currently the church has scaffolding around the base of the spire but there was no peek inside as (on Wednesday afternoon) all doors to the church were locked. On Thursday morning Cleddau, closely followed by Tentatrice,   ...