The forecast tells us that this cold weather is going to continue at least through next weekend. So we had a decision to make. Even though we’re trying to economise on water, we’ll still be running short in a few days. The question was, do we push on down to Middlewich, around 9 miles, or turn around and head back to Anderton, about 15 minutes. A bit of a no-brainer, really. I don’t really fancy 9 miles of 2” thick ice, followed by several frozen locks to contend with.
So today we chose to turn around. Luckily there’s just enough width here to wind a 58’ boat, so we didn’t have to travel.
Another day of snow showers yesterday has left us with about 6” on the ground and the frozen canal.
Posing on the bank
With the stark contrast it’s a bit of a black and white world at the moment.
Meg is still daft in the snow, chasing about like a loony and rolling over and burying her head in the drifts.
It does have it’s drawbacks; balls of hard snow build up on her pads and legs. Trying to pull them off with her teeth, she gets icicles around her muzzle.
All together... Ahhhhh
I left it till the warmest part of the day, around 13:00, before attempting our 180° manoeuvre.
It wasn’t easy, and took 1¼ hours before we were tied up again. It was a case of shuffling backwards and forwards working out from the bank and breaking the ice into smaller chunks. Quite a long stretch had to be opened up to get to the widest bit of the channel and allow room for the stern to swing.
Tied up again, icebergs floating outside the side hatch.
Marbury Rope Trick, or frozen mooring lines?
An opportunist swan also dropped in for a late lunch while the water was clear.
I wonder, if we fed it enough bread do you think it’d keep swimming backwards and forwards to keep the ice at bay?
By 4 o’clock the open stretches were starting to freeze again.
Meg and I had a walk back to Anderton to see what the situation is there. Unbroken ice across the canal shows that no boats have moved since last Saturday, and the water taps at the services are frozen. Still, if we can get there, a kettle of hot water usually sorts the taps out. We’ve done that before.
Whether we move back tomorrow or leave it for another couple of days remains to be seen. We’ve demonstrated today that the ice is not too thick to prevent progress, however slowly. We’ve just got to judge whether it’s going to get thicker, thinner or stay as it is over the next days.
The Oxford Mail has a report on an award to a narrowboat owner and smallholder at Kirtlington on the Oxford Canal. What a superb lifestyle. The Good Life… literally.
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