Thursday, 18 October 2012

The cruising year in reflection

This is a pictorial reflection of our cruise this year. With some of the highlights captured on camera rather than words. March promised a hot summer to come. The evening before we left our home mooring, I did a night shot of the sky through the bare branches of the trees.

Evening over Tinsley Marina.

The Memsahib was busy with her knitting and a few dogs around the canals had benefit of one of her dog coats. Here is Abbey modelling one of her coats in her winter collection.

Does my Bum look Big in this?

In the early part of the year we were in the north, where the working boats still ply their trade. The locks are huge and the barges are built to match. Its a 24 hour working day for the barges and they often pass in the middle of the night. You soon learn how to moor your boat correctly. No one ever complains about the speed that they pass at either! You southern Jessie's need a few weeks up north to learn to moor and how to rock a boat!

The only princess to be found in Rotherham.

In May the weather was abysmal and the rain reached record levels. There were a few times when we had to sit out the flooded rivers waiting for a safe level for passage. Frequent trips were made by everyone to check on water levels. Here is a lock landing, which is on split levels. The lower level is already under water and was soon followed by the second level!

Wellington's are not optional!

The barges continue their trade on the river long after the water level has gone from below the green through yellow and into the red! Here two barges had a near miss, passing with bow and bow at one point less than two feet apart. 

Inland Helmsman Course Anyone!
Spring was delayed as the weather grew colder. The trees eventually made foliage a bit later than usual. The heavy sky often provided a dramatic background. here the first shaft of sunlight for several days highlights the new leaves on the trees. A short while later the rain fell in torrents!

It's Spring At Last!

By June the weather deteriorated even further and the farm fields became lakes. Yet the hosepipe ban continued and on several canals, locks were being locked down to preserve water. Like in the previous drought we were asked to share our baths. British Waterways asked us to share locks. I can't help but feel that the deluge actually saved a major amount of embarrassment at BW!

Canal or farm field?
This year I have seen more dead wildlife in the canal than at any other time. Rabbits, fox, badger, squirrel, sheep, goat, hedgehog and deer made it onto an ever growing list of casualties.

Red Deer
The canal continues as a dumping ground for the odd shopping trolley and plastics of every colour and shade. Some of it even made its way on to the propeller. This year we have had shopping bags, conveyor belt, rope, fishing line and on a few occasions even weed! However, this year we spotted a higher class of rubbish in the form of parts of an old marine radio!

GLK London Calling!
Mixed in with the rain were days when it was cold but clear. There were times when the sky even hinted that summer was on its way. Whilst waiting for the Trent to come down a bit we had a trip along the Fossdyke to Boston and back.

False Promise.

We have done a fair few tunnels on our cruise. Gosty Hill Tunnel on the Dudley Canal number two was the tightest fit. Just put the engine in forward on tick over and let it do its own thing while you make a cup of tea.

We spent quite a bit of time around Birmingham. Getting to know the city quite well. Then it was time to move on again. There were a couple of routes we could take. The choice was easy to make.

The Shroppie was just as good as I remembered it to be. The weather was noticeably much better. But there was the odd morning with a misty start that often ended in a warm day.

Some days on the Shroppie ended as if it was the autumn already. The farmers were busy gathering in the crops from the fields.

We went via the Bridgewater canal and the challenge that is the Wigan flight to the Leeds Liverpool Canal. 

The last hurrah for this cruising season was a trip to Ripon. Going via the River Aire, Selby Canal, River Ouse to York.

Then the River Ure and the Ripon Canal. The weather at this point was quite good when compared to the rest of the year.

But that was all about to change. In Ripon we became aware of the large volume of rain falling in the watershed that supplies the River Ouse. It was time to pull the pins and run for shelter on our home canals.

Soon we were back on the River Ouse doing a 27 mile stint on the strength of the water flow. We paused in York for a couple of hours before heading off downstream to Nayburn Lock.

The very next morning we were on our way downstream to Selby. Before running the section of the River Aire and onto the Aire and Calder Navigation. The flooding in York and its surroundings were on the news. Stories of sunken boats in the exact spot where we were moored in York made us feel that we had made the right choice. 

Soon we were back on our home mooring and getting ready for the winter. Starting preparations for next spring and being out on the canals once again.

I have created a poll that will run between now and the 1st of January 2013. It's not very scientific. Its a simple question "Will CART Succeed". You have three choices Yes, Unsure and No. Now you can vote for one of the three choices. If you change your mind before the poll closing date. You can come back and change your vote. (I wish we could do that for politicians) You will find the poll option on the right hand side just below the members pictures.



  1. A nice cruising year and some great photos to describe in detail. What does next year hold ?

    Nev NB Waterlily

    1. Hi Nev.

      Next year....

      We would like to do the Huddersfield narrow from East to West. Along the Peak Forest and then the Macclesfield Canal. Including the Buxworth Basin. Up the Trent and Mersey and down the Anderton boat lift and onto the River Weaver. (most of this would be new to us)

      Depending on water and weather.....

      Then it would be the Bridgewater Canal and The last bit of the Leeds Liverpool into Liverpool. Then retrace our steps and up the Rufford branch, Ribble link and then the Lancaster Canal, including the Glasson branch. (most of this would be new to us)


      Trent and Mersey, Birmingham and Fazley, Coventry Canal, North Oxford, Grand Union, River Soar and Erewash Canal. (not a lot of new stuff here)

      Then it could be either the River Trent and a dawdle home. However, there is also a good chance that a new home could be on the BCN.


  2. Hi Both
    Good to meet you this year. Have a good winter. TTFN!


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