Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Extra as promised

It is a few days back now but due to my insistence on getting my cast replaced and a necessary stop for laundry, we were running a day behind schedule to be in Leighton Buzzard on the Sunday for an engine service. With Andrew going solo we needed to travel as much as possible each day. Late Friday afternoon, coming out of the Dudswell Lock, Andrew was delighted to inform me that we had just broken some ice, not a huge amount but enough to make him happy. :)  Luckily that was where we were stopping for the night.

Saturday was the day we had to go back down the Marsworth Flight, 6 locks, plus a further 2 a bit further on. Andrew stopped for a quick loo break once we were in the top lock.  Luckily in this short wait another boat arrived at the lock going in the same direction making life a bit easier for Andrew but possibly not as much of a delight for our fellow travellers. We carried on for a few locks after the other boat, nb 4 Fun, moored up. It turned out to be a very pleasant day both for weather and travel.

A Kestrel

Sunday morning arrived and we still had 6 locks and about 5 miles to go. As we also needed to allow the engine time to cool down, Andrew set the alarm for an early start at 8:30am.  Low and behold we woke to a very frosty morning, the coldest we had felt. The canal was iced over but we needed to move !  So icebreaking it was. The ice was about 5mm thick although in the more exposed areas it looked like more 1cm. Andrew was loving it but I was just a little apprehensive, especially as the locks would also be icy.

Our Ice Trail

Ice Edge

In comparison today's trail in the much softer ice

Moorhen trails today

The sound of the boat breaking the ice though was quite enthralling and watching the broken sheets of ice slide over each other was mesmerising. After exiting the first lock the ice was much thicker and Andrew decided to have a cuppa before continuing. With the engine still running the ice was shifting and vibrating and it almost sounded like a chorus of small frogs. Not long after making the coffee, the ice started shifting announcing the arrival of another boat, so once again Andrew was lucky to have some extra help through the locks.  I was surprised at the number of boats out that day as the canal was iced over for most of the trip into Leighton Buzzard.  We made it with plenty of time to spare and the engine has had its service and Andrew has picked up a bit more knowledge on engines.


A Goldfinch feeding while we were waiting at the lock.

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