Thursday, 5 April 2018

Yelvertoft Marina

Following our overnight stop at Hemplow Hills, on Monday 26/3, we returned to the Marina, parking the boat for a few days over the Easter break, whilst we visited family. Back at the Marina following the holiday weekend, we are in the process of having a box made to store our anchor, and this is expected to be completed around the 15th April. Our intention is to stay put till then, before finally departing on our 7 month summer cruise. This morning however, we woke to clear blue sky and warm sunshine. It was far too nice not to be cruising. Sadly, the carpenter had phoned making arrangements to attend the boat for a final fitting of our anchor box. It was just after midday when things were concluded, we got underway turning right from the Marina. Once we cleared the outskirts of Yelvertoft village, we stopped for lunch. This was in the vicinity of bridge 22. Having secured the boat, Oscar the furry crew member, decided that a photo was required. He took up his position posing in the well deck, but was most put out, when he was photo bombed by a very noisy Chinook flying overhead.
Photo bombed by a Chinook
After a brief lunch we set off for the winding hole at bridge 28. On arrival we encountered a fisherman, who soon realised his swim was about to be ruined for the day. He took it in good grace though. Once winded, it was back to the Marina arriving a little under four hours after we had initially left. 
  • Totals Monday 26/3. 5 Miles
  •          Thursday 5/4. 6 Miles
  • Running total 24 Miles 2 Locks

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Hemplow Hills

This morning we felt cheated. Waking at 9 am when really it was 8 am, meant we had missed out on an hour of sleep. The weather however made up for this, as the sun was bright and the sky clear blue. After the furry crew had been on his morning walk, we wandered off back towards the Wharf Inn for Sunday lunch. Today it was roast pheasant, followed by treacle tart and ice cream. Returning to the boat we got ourselves ready to get underway, it was 1.45 pm. Today we were aiming for a spot somewhere between bridges 36 and 32, roughly four miles away. We navigated through the lock and along the Welford arm, turning left at the Junction. The canal was surprisingly quiet, especially as today was the warmest day this year so far. We found our spot midway between bridge 34 and 33. The towpath is wide, flat and grassy, we have a 4g phone signal and satellite reception, perfect. This will be added to our list of favoured locations, and from the picture below you can probably see why.
Mooring Hemplow Hills
Having secured the boat, the weather was so fine the starboard side got a wash. Unfortunately, our stay here this time will be brief, as we have Easter activities to look forward to.
  • Totals 4 Miles 1 Lock
  • Running total 13 Miles 2 Locks

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Welford

Well our internment at Yelvertoft for the winter is now over, and we are once again in cruising mode. The winter months have allowed us to conduct some essential maintenance tasks, and the boat has also successfully passed its first BSS (Boat Safety Scheme) check. We did manage a few days trips, along the Leicester section summit of the Grand Union, and we have survived unscathed, from the harshest winter we have experienced since owning the boat. The engine has been serviced, and we have restocked our supply of filters, oils and other consumables, ready for the year ahead. We have also purchased an anchor, which will allow us to use some of the river navigations from now on. Our departure day was set as Wednesday 21st March, but upon waking, we found the Marina had frozen overnight. Fortunately the sun was up, and after a few hours, the crust of ice had turned to mush and we were off. We were aiming for a regular mooring spot near bridge 28, and after cruising for an hour and a half, we reached it to find it empty of other boats. The following morning, we got underway after breakfast, heading for Welford Junction. There was no sun shining, and the wind had picked up a bit. It felt much colder. Not long after setting off, we noted two boats astern who seemed to be traveling a bit quicker than we wanted to. We pulled over to allow them past, then continued our slow dawdle. On arrival at the straight moorings prior to the Junction, we once again found it completely empty of other boats.
All alone at Welford Junction
After lunch we took four legs for a short walk, heading towards North Kilworth. This took us past the new Marina, which has been under construction for a few years. It has recently been filled with water so it must be getting close to completion, although there still seems a lot of work needed to finish it off.                           
North Kilworth Marina
We continued on to the Wharf opposite, and purchased some firelighters. We didn't really need any, but we always try and support the smaller canalside businesses. Back at the boat we settled down for a peaceful afternoon. Friday 23rd March, after a solitary night we set off for Welford. Turning right at the Junction we soon encountered a work boat blocking the canal. The workers were busy clearing substantial overgrown vegetation. They moved their boat allowing us to continue our passage along the Welford arm, towards the single lock ahead. Once through the lock, we trundled along to the end of the arm and found it completely full. This is where all the boats are. We winded, and took a mooring just prior to the lock landing. With hindsight this is a better spot, and may well become our regular spot for future visits here.
Mooring at Welford Lock
After securing the boat we had lunch at Totty's Tea Rooms, before returning to the boat for a relaxing afternoon. We will stay here for a couple of days, but keeping an eye of the changing forecast for the weather next week.
  • Totals Wed.    21/3. 3 Miles
  •           Thurs. 22/3.  5 Miles
  •           Fri.      23/3. 1 Mile 1 Lock
 

Monday, 11 December 2017

More wintery snaps

Well the snow clouds have cleared revealing bright blue sky and glorious sunshine. The temperature however has not risen above freezing today, and the clear skies are the reason it will drop like a stone tonight. Currently -2 and forecast to drop at the rate of one degree per hour reaching -10 by dawn. 
 
 
 

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Yelvertoft in the snow

Well it had been forecast for several days now, but it is still a surprise when it arrives. We awoke this morning to about 5 inches of snow carpeting the pontoon, and the four legged crew could hardly contain himself. I on the other hand, was not looking forward to taking him out for his morning walk.
 
 
Looking at the forecast for the next few days, I think we have seen most of the snow, however on Tuesday, it is possibly going to reach minus 10 overnight, and that is blooming cold. Luckily we have plenty of coal for the stove.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Yelvertoft Marina

Yesterday after what was supposedly the coldest night of the year so far, we awoke to frost on the ground, and mist rising from the surface of the canal. After breakfast we gave the starboard side of the boat its winter coat of wax, then got underway heading for Yelvertoft. The sky was clear blue and we had uninterrupted sunshine, but it was cold. We had a very pleasant four hour cruise through the Leicestershire countryside, with a brief lunch stop near bridge 27. On arrival at the Marina we slipped into our berth just as cloud started to cover and the temperature began to drop. We have a few things planned over the next couple of weeks but if the weather is fine in early December then hopefully we will get out on the cut again before Christmas, otherwise it will be in the New Year.
Sunset at Yelvertoft
Just looking back through our previous logs there seems to be an emerging trend in our boating activities.
  • Year 2015 - We did 652 Miles 327 Locks and 23 Tunnels 
  • Year 2016 - We did 424 Miles 241 Locks and 17 Tunnels 
  • Year 2017 - So far  274 Miles   60 Locks and 14 Tunnels 

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Welford Junction

Nearly a month has passed since our last post, so here is a bit of a catch up. Monday 9/10, we set off from Norton Junction heading for the staircase locks at Watford. On arrival we were first in the queue, so began our ascent almost immediately. We also had the assistance of not one, but two volunteers. Our transit of Crick tunnel was unopposed, although we did receive our customary drenching at the northern end, due to the leaky roof. We know we are close to our winter mooring spot, when the Yelvertoft Marina wind turbine comes into view.
Being not quite ready to give up cruising just yet, at the entrance to the Marina we carried on. On arrival at bridge 21, we found a favoured spot of ours vacant, so stopped for the day. The next day we set about a few maintenance tasks. The hull of the boat is coated in a two pack epoxy paint, which is significantly better and harder wearing, than the more traditional bitumen. However even with the most expert helmsmanship skills, scratches and scrapes do occur and these need attention to prevent rusting. The product we have chosen to use is Hempel Multicoat, and its application by roller was very straightforward. With the port side of the boat completed, the following day we travelled to bridge 28 and the winding hole. There were plenty of spaces available, so once the boat was secured it was time to tackle the starboard side. We had been fortunate with the weather, but the forecast was changing, so on Thursday 12/10, we headed back to Yelvertoft, and after visiting the services dock we berthed in our usual spot. Friday 13/10 was gloriously sunny, but the wind was very strong. We were so glad we hadn't put off entering the Marina, as manoeuvring in these conditions would be next to impossible. It did not however prevent the next pre winter task, which was to wash the boat, and get a coat of protective wax applied. We now had a few days to kill before heading to Palma Mallorca for a long weekend.
 
 
 
 
All too soon our time in Palma visiting our son was over, and it was back to a dreary and increasingly colder UK. Back on the boat we were still not quite ready to stay put in the Marina, so on Wednesday 25/10, we headed out onto the cut once more. Our destination was back to bridge 21 a whole mile away, where I would stay whilst the crew popped home for a few days.
Mooring by bridge 21
  Me and the furry crew member enjoyed our respite, and also undertook a few more maintenance tasks. We also benefited from the clocks going back, enjoying an uninterrupted extra hour of sleep. The crew returned on Monday 30/10, then on Halloween we headed off for Welford Junction, a location sufficiently rural to avoid trick or treaters. On arrival we found a spot on the long straight section with mooring rings, and after securing the boat we went for a walk along the canal, to have a look at the progress of the still under construction North Kilworth Marina. The latest estimate for opening is Spring 2018. They still have a lot to do to meet that date. Wednesday 1/11, we moved off after breakfast, and at Welford Junction turned left heading towards Foxton. Soon we were entering Husband Bosworth tunnel, aware that CRT were conducting a tunnel inspection. We encountered the working boat in the middle of the tunnel and it bounced us hard into the tunnel wall. I was expecting to see damaged paintwork, when we emerged into the daylight, but fortunately we had escaped unscathed. The remainder of the cruise to Foxton Locks was pleasant, and after filling the water tank, we walked down the flight to the Foxton Locks Inn for lunch.
Taking on water at Foxton Locks
  Thursday 2/11, we took four legs for a walk down the flight of locks, turning around at Debdale Wharf a trip of about four miles. Back at the boat with the weather fine and dry, it was time to wash and wax the starboard side. This was the last of the exterior, winter maintenance tasks completed. Friday 3/11, we travelled back towards Welford. Our transit of Husband Bosworth tunnel was unopposed, and once through, we stopped at North Kilworth Wharf to obtain diesel and coal. We hope this small business survives the new Marina, when it eventually opens. Continuing on to the junction we turned left, and travelled the short arm, to the solitary lock and Welford. After winding at the end of the arm, we popped into the Wharf Inn for lunch. We also booked in for a Sunday roast.  Saturday 4/11, we took the furry crew for his daily walk, and opted to have a look at the nearby reservoir. whilst we don't like wet weather it certainly needs a prolonged period of rain the replenish these levels.
Low water at Welford
  Over the past few days the weather has become distinctly colder and this morning was no exception. Up until now we have in the main relied on our diesel heater to warm up the boat but now the solid fuel stove has been put into use.
At lunchtime we wandered off to the Wharf Inn for our roast dinner. I opted for the pheasant and would thoroughly recommend it. Back at the boat we decided to move back to the junction in readiness for our return to Yelvertoft tomorrow.
Mooring at Welford Junction
   
  • Totals Monday.      9/10.         7 Miles 7 Locks 1 Tunnel
  •          Wednesday 11/10.        2 Miles
  •          Thursday.   12/10.        3 Miles
  •          Wednesday 25/10.        1 Mile
  •          Tuesday.     31/10.        7 Miles
  •          Wednesday.  1/11.        7 Miles 1 Tunnel
  •          Friday.         3/11.         8 Miles 1 Lock 1 Tunnel
  •          Sunday.       5/11.         1 Mile 1 Lock
  • Running total 266 Miles 60 Locks 14 Tunnels