Friday, 21 December 2007

Arctic White Out

3 locks, and 4 ½ miles. Now moored at Leighton Buzzard

Last night we thought that the temperature was quite mild but this morning we awoke to an arctic white out. The canal was frozen over and you can see from the photo's what we were up against. With the weather forecast predicting more over night frost tonight I could see the ice getting thicker and possibly impenetrable for days. As we had to get to Leighton Buzzard to get diesel before Friday we decided to try and smash our way through.



To start with I had to go around the boat with the pole hook and smash the ice before we could move at all. After 3 goes of backwards and forwards we finally started to make headway up to the water point. The ice was about 10 - 15mm thick, the thickest we have struck, excuse the pun. At the water point somebody had left the tap dripping so it wouldn't freeze up,lucky for us.

While waiting for the tank to fill I set the lock and had to swing the gate backwards and forwards a few times to smash more ice to get the gate to open fully. While doing this I spoke to 1 of the permanent's moored nearby who told me that 9 years ago the canal froze to about 5 inches thick and for 3 weeks they merely walked across the canal to the carpark instead of crossing over on the lock gates. This made me more determined to get to Leighton Buzzard before we did get frozen in.




From Slapton to Grove lock it was really heavy going especially at Grove lock where the lock was really iced up. Out with the pole hook again to smash more ice. Surprising the ice became thinner after this lock possibly due to another boat having gone through earlier.



Do you call this an Ice Shelf?

At the Wyvern Shipping company we tried to turn but the winding hole was well and truly iced up. Eventually a guy from the boat yard came out and took the bow rope and helped us round. While halfway through the winding manoeuvre he told us to tie up so we could take on diesel. The yard has a veeeery long hose to be able to reach all their hire boats regardless of where they are moored, 112 litre's later and we headed back to the Tesco moorings for the night.

863 locks, 1159 ¾ miles, 33 Tunnels, 40 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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