Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Only 163 miles to go now

It seems that my readership is expanding! Mum informed me last night that my Grandad has been reading my blog, so I'd better behave myself now. Hello Grandad, if you're reading this.

Last night I continued my mission Northwards through Braunston tunnel, then up to Norton junction on the Leicester section of the Grand Union. I discovered somewhat of a flaw in my temporary-tunnel-light plan - 2.5 million candle power torches make really really good tunnel lights, far brighter than any I have used before....but the battery charge doesn't last long enough to make it the entire way through Braunston tunnel. The last third or so was an experience...and perhaps one not to be repeated. I made it through with a combination of my rather inadequate navigation lights and a wind-up torch, switching the 2.5 million candle power one on every now and again for reassurance. The solution may be to invest in another rechargeable torch, as I prefer it to my old headlight. Anyway, a boater can never have too many torches!

Now that I am on the Leicester line it really feels like the journey has begun. Only about a day and a half's more cruising and I will be in uncharted territory; up until now I haven't explored anywhere North of Foxton.

It's currently miserable and rainy outside, but the BBC forecast looks reasonably promising for later. Well, it predicts that the rain will stop at any rate. I hope it's right so that I can make some progress through the Watford locks this evening.

Friday, 26 September 2008

167 miles and 96 locks to go

Last night I broke the 100 locks barrier! Only 96 more to go now, according to canal plan.

I call it a mission, moving my boat such a distance, but when you wake up to beautiful scenery in the mornings it's hardly a chore. This morning, I allowed myself extra time for the walk back to my car so that I could take these pictures. Braunston locks were where I spent my very first night on my boat last summer. They were also the first and only place that Jono breasted both of our boats together and took them through the locks whilst Helen and I opened the gates.

Last night I made it up the flight before dark, met some lovely people along the way, and then had a delicious steak and a couple of pints in the Admiral Nelson before bed.

Happy memories!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Leaving this town - the journey begins

I have begun to write up the minor drama which was my first night's cruise in the mission Northwards, but am waiting to moor somewhere with mobile signal before I can upload it. Lesson 1: Mobile signal is worse in Braunston than anywhere else I have ever moored. Lesson 2: Check that your boat has enough diesel for your mission.

Here are a few pictures from the first night, Tuesday 23 September 2008:

Friday, 19 September 2008

Mission plan

One week, one girl, one narrowboat. Can I do it? I think probably not, but I will give it my best shot and see how far I can get!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Teasing me

Following on from the post I wrote last night, the weather decided to tease me this morning. There is something magical about waking up in the open countryside surrounded by mist lingering over the water, the view enhanced by the crisp smell of winter fast approaching. The dew drops on the roof of the boat looked like last winter's morning ice and there was an alomst eerie feeling about the stillness and calm. The only sounds breaking the silence were the birds in the trees and an odd plane overhead. I wish that I hadn't broken my phone last week, or I would have taken some pictures.

I am really looking forward to the mission ahead now, cruising as the sun rises and discovering uncharted territory.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The DADDY of all boating missions

OK....so things have changed a little in my life. I'm still working in Rugby at the moment and living anywhere within a 30-40 minute drive of work, but not for much longer. A new challenge awaits, and is located very close to my sweetheart in Sheffield. Winter is fast approaching, and I am moored 103 locks from where I want to be. With only weekends to move the boat and a hectic social calendar, things are looking tricky to say the least.

According to canalplan, I am 9 days away from my beau. 5 free weekends, assuming that rain, snow, ice and tides are on my side. Or a week off work and a fairly hefty mission. Hmmmm.

Sitting by the fire this evening with the smell of burning wood in the air and a crisp wintry feeling beginning to develop outside reminds me of all that I love about boating. What I would give to leave immediately and begin the epic mission North!

I raise my glass to the mission ahead,