Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Ice Skating!

0 Locks, 2.06 Miles. Now moored at Hillmorton.

After a week-end of fine sunny days and overnight frosts there was no sign or hope of the canal becoming ice free in the very near future. With a not very favourable weather forecast, an empty water tank and a very full toilet tank we had to bite the bullet and head off to Clifton Cruisers this afternoon. Derek and Carrie on Nb Uccello lead the way which was reasonably easy going as Nb Hero had already broken the ice for us. As they took off they were pushing large sheets of ice in front of the boat, the two swans who have kept us company for the last two weeks decided it was time for a ride.  With the two of them standing on the sheet of ice being pushed along was a comical sight.  Unfortunately Dot couldn’t get the camera out quick enough.

Once our business at Clifton Cruisers was concluded we set off towards Hillmorton.We got as far as bridge 68 where we caught up with Uccello as they were trying to moor up. Apparently Derek lost momentum on the previous bend and ground to a halt just before the bridge. He just couldn’t get through the ice. As we still had some speed up we attempted to carry on because this location is miles from anywhere or anything. It was certainly a battle as we were pushed around by some very thick sheets of ice. Derek on Uccello opted to follow us now the way was clear but we nearly came to a halt at Kent Road bridge where the ice pushed us completely off line to negotiate the bridge hole. At the very last moment the ice became thinner and we were able to carry on. We only travelled another 500 yards before deciding to call it a day and moor up.

Hillmorton 019 This ice will be thicker in the near future as all the ice mounts up and freezes on top of other sheets.

While mooring up, which was again a battle with all the ice between the bank and the boat, a young couple walked past stating that we were the first boats they had seen travelling in this area for over a week. Our next concern will be if the diesel/coal boat “Gosty Hill” can get through on his scheduled visit tomorrow. On average he is about 10 ton heavier than us so he should be able to get through assuming he managed to get off the Ashby Canal which we understand has been heavily frozen and impassable beyond Sutton Cheney.

 2034 locks, 4044.32 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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