Monday, 11 December 2017

Clutie the Ice Queen

This week started with some bad news... an accident on a lock ahead meant the path ahead was closed until further notice! Thank goodness for woollies, temperatures definitely dropping.

After spending my spare time gathering more wood for the incoming cold snap the lock was finally reopened. I was first boat out of the mooring at 8.00am. It all seemed extremely quiet on the water, I was busy wondering why no one else was keen to leave on a very crisp,bright and sunny morning... I soon discovered why! Large sections of the canal had frozen over in the last few days and Clutie was now an Icebreaker. Cracking through ice up to an inch thick in places.  A bit unnerving as you hear the ice cracking under the hull and shaking the tiller. I had visions of my fellow boaters sitting, drinking hot chocolate and chuckling at my bone headedness. I was determined however, to get underway and try and make up for the lost time. The ice had different ideas and lasted all day and by the end of the day I had made just a few miles with constant back up and revving forward to break ice...  Diesel engines like steady speed, having to constantly accelerate to break the ice meant the engine was feeling a tad tired, as was I at this stage! 

Friday I spent much of the day navigating a few frozen locks and canal sections, brrr! A few of these hours were spent going through an army live fire range! Bit unnerving when you hear gunfire close by! Real shame because they have tonnes of cut timber by the bank!

Half way through the next day, black smoke started coming out of the exhaust and there was a distinct lack of power on the pulled over to investigate. On review I immediately saw the issue, the belt holding the air filter on had shaken loose, and presumably been crunched. Think the shaking from the ice-breaking must have shaken it loose. When I worked Seismic in the oil and gas industry on jungle jobs, we always said you could fix anything with three simple products....duct tape, string and bamboo....Fortunately for this I only needed duct tape and string....bamboo being in short supply in the north of England! We were however kept entertained by a Goshawk who swept low over Clutie and me while the repairs took place.

Finally arrived at the weekend destination where we would spend a couple of days laid up having a well earned couple of pub roasts (maybe a pint or two)  and interesting chats with the locals.

Heading south again now... Hope they open locks as promised by tomorrow...

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