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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Sunday 3 December 2023

Never had this trouble getting out of a lock before!

 Our time in Sandiacre was over, car passed the MOT…yeah...the problem our tenants had with the bathroom radiator... sorted, and from our wood store good sized logs were placed on FS ready for chopping into manageable firewood at the Mill. Shame then that we didn't leave Sandiacre yesterday, it was dry and sunny, very cold but if we had known that overnight would bring snow, well we would have gone! A good 4 inches fell, what a surprise, especially as our temperature gauge showed a balmy 2 degrees, hardly icy conditions then. Luckily, any ice on the canal was thin and easily breakable and with the forecast for tomorrow for rain, going today seemed like a good idea. We soon found out it was a very BAD idea indeed! 

Ian brought out his inner child and started playing silly buggers! Throwing snowballs, he missed me and  straight down the hatch it went, covering the engine cover in a splattering of snow!

Didn't feel cold as we chugged along, in fact with no wind at all I would go as far as to say quite pleasant really. Not that these photos show that, looks to be blooming freezing!

At pasture lock, the top gates were open. Bugger!! A boat came past FS last night well past 7 pm, so our immediate thought was at every lock we would be doing double the work.

A bit of a B too was the ice stopping gates fully opening.

The ice did appear to get a bit thicker as we proceeded towards Stanton lock. This was the lock where chains were put on overnight to conserve water. (stop the little darlings from draining pounds).We arrived well after 9 am, chains were off but then so were the anti vandal locks which meant anyone could wind those paddles up, dah!!!! But good news...the top gates were shut...yea...

The further along we went, the thicker the ice was getting, this was not what we expected! Obviously, back in Sandiacre, the temperatures were positively balmy! At Hallam Fields, a boat moored on the landing. Was this the boat that had come past last night? This lock can also be a right pig to get into during the winter months. Not so much during the summer because it's all to do with the chimney. Such a low arch that the only way to miss completely destroying the chimney is to keep to the highest point, which does then mean you have to get in through the gate at an angle. I suppose Ian could have opened both gates, but from his position looking down, couldn't see what I could see from below.

This was taken looking back.

 For goodness’s sake, top lock landing also had a boat moored and on one of the shortest landings on the Erewash! Trying to get out through one gate, I had to shout to Ian that I wouldn't be able to get through without hitting the stern. So what did he do instead of opening the other gate? Decide a good push on FS's bow would do just as well.

The lady on the boat came out, I was very annoyed and vented my spleen, she said CRT had told her to stop there, said the ice was thick and for her not to continue. Well I soon discovered she was actually right, the ice was extremely thick, and the cracking of the ice which made contact with the moored boat's hulls was awful. I can only apologise, not just to that lady, but to the moorers as well!

Slow-going now, nowhere to stop, so had to continue to Gallows Inn Lock. Ian checked above to see what the ice conditions were like, came back said he had touched the ice with a stick, it went through, so could see no problem in continuing. Well for once this man of mine was most definitely wrong! Oh, we ascended alright, the problem arose when I tried to leave the lock. 

A right-hand manoeuvre is necessary to get onto the landing. The easiest way is to have both gates open with the bow pointing to the right and stern pushed over to the left, normally a very easy manoeuvre! 


Today well, OMG the ice above was so thick every time I tried steering to the right, the bow got pushed over to the left, The ice acted like a barrier I couldn't get the bow to the right no matter how hard I tried. Numerous reversing, Ian holding the centre rope to try and pull the boat toward the bank, all to no avail,

Finally, Ian went along the lock landing edge with the pole breaking what ice he could. Then he grabbed the bow rope and, with me now giving as much throttle as I could, somehow broke the ice enough for me to bring FS round to a mooring. 40 minutes it took to achieve this, we decided enough was enough, and then to add insult to injury, the stern just refused to get anywhere near the bank! Too much broken ice stopping that, but was eventually removed by Ian with the trusty pole.


 That's it...definitely not moving ANY MORE today and with the rain now starting, even more determined to hunker down and sit it out!

And wildlife

Festive Holly


Jenny said...

That's a whole lot of snow! Wonder if you will get a white Christmas this year? That will certainly be different from your last Christmas in Kiwi land.

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Well, even though it was troublesome, it looks amazing! I sort of feel jealous, but not very - too cold, too arduous.

Well done in getting as far as you did! I hope you had as snowball fight once you were moored up!


Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hello Jenny, I very much doubt we will have a white Christmas, it hasn't happened in the Midland area for over a decade! And I often think back to what we were doing this time last year.
Am I slightly jealous? Most definitely.
Have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy the sun


Ian and Irene Jameison said...

I wouldn't feel jealous of us Marilyn, it was bloody awful, and I really wish we were now back on our mooring at Langley. Instead, we have rain, and wind chill to contend with today. Have to move, unfortunately, because dentist's tomorrow, which we can't miss.

And no snowball fight after we moored, too blooming cold!


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