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Saturday 29 November 2014

Gear and equipment bought 2014.

Curtain rail for side hatch..........................33-11
Fairleads for roof edge..............................14-42
Coir matting for bed..................................16-00
Sheet for mattress cover.............................3-99
Richlow Guides........................................32-00
Lifejackets x 2..........................................98-50
Lifejackets x 2........................................114-00
VHF Radio HX300E................................89-99
Tide Tables for Humber and Trent............1-65
Tidal Trent chart......................................13-00
Frying pan..................................................7-99
Ash trays, for vent drip trays......................1-00
Pillows x 4................................................12-99
Longthrow aluminium windlass...............19-00
Wooden 'high chair'..................................30-00
Padlock for fuel cap lock..........................14-98
mooring chains x 2...................................12-78
TOTAL                                                   678-39

All these items are those that will be left on the boat and will be useful year after year. I suppose the largest outlay was for four life jackets. We bought two and then we we realised we would have guest during our trips up and down the Thames we thought we had better get a couple more when we found it difficult to 'borrow' some. I must admit that I am tempted to wear them all the time when underway as they are not uncomfortable, don't weight too much and don't overly restrict movement. We got the Crewsaver 150 with auto inflate but no harness. I have worn them a lot when at sea and can maintain them myself with no trouble.

The VHF radio I felt was another piece of safety equipment that we should have. I did use it on the Trent and Thames but not much. I think that it would come into it's own in an emergency. I did not need to do a course as I hold the full GMDSS General Certificate from my work.

Modelling the Crewsaver life jacket and the HX300E floating waterproof VHF radio on the Thames off the O2 Arena.

The next biggest purchase was the Smartguauge. I have no idea about electricity and would get paranoid about using electrical items on the boat. I don't profess to understand how it works by my research seemed to indicate that it was reliable, easy to fit and had a readout giving a percentage level in the batteries that made it easy for me understand the state of the batteries. I did find it easy to fit and I am far less anxious about the use of electricity as I can constantly see the state of the batteries.

The Smartguage is showing 80% charge in this photo and may it never fall any lower. We can hope I suppose. Above it are the fuse panels. (I must get round to marking what does what). At the right hand side at the top is the remote panel for the Hurricane heating system with the inverter below. The white bow is our in/out thermometer showing 24.8 in and 23.2 out. Less than half today alas. The lower box is the solar panel readout.

The Richlow Guides cover the waters that Pearsons and Nicholson's do not and they are well prepared and interesting to look at too. They were very helpful in sending them and as they put out updates you are able to keep them current so should not be required to be bought again.

We also used the Richlow Guides for the Chesterfield Canal, Lincolnshire Canals and the South Yorkshire Waterways.

The Tidal Trent Chart from the Boating Association was quite expensive really but it gives peace of mind to know where you are and what to expect. We made transits on a rising tide but on falling tides it would be even more of a comfort.

Just follow the red line on the Tidal Trent chart.

We had experienced damp under the mattress which had ruined the mattress cover. From my research it seemed that the material to maintain an air gap between the mattress and the bed box were really expensive. To achieve the same thing I bought two large coir door mats and cut them to shape. their weight keeps them in place and the bristles keep an air gap open so we have not had any problems. I got PVC  backed that stops too many of the bristles coming adrift but other types will do the job for a fraction of the cost of other types of dry mat.

The other items on the list are just items that we needed at the time and will be added to the inventory. Inevitably as years pass the boat will fill up with 'stuff'. We will now have to try to become strict on removing something no longer in use when we buy something new if it isn't a straight swap. I am expecting that the annual costs will not really go down very much, and hopefully not up very much either. We will be blacking the boat somewhere next year and who knows what will occur but generally I am hoping to keep to under £6000. Some things will go up and some will come down is what I am hoping. I often wonder how this compares with other boaters as there are not too many detailed figures to be had. I have often been told that boats are bottomless pits but I don't think they are anymore than homes or cars or gardens or golf club membership. You just have to be prepared to spend a certain amount on everything and hope that the maintenance you carry out limits unforeseen items and you remain lucky.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

2014 consumables.

50 lt  cocoa shell mulch................  16-15
grease............................................  15-45
engine oil 5 x 5lt...........................  75-00
oil filter x 3.................................... 37-80
fuel filter.......................................    5-33
air filter.........................................    5-48
2 lt engine antifreeze....................   12-90
10 lt of antifreeze for heating.......   30-70
paint and brushes etc....................   29-23
stove maintenance........................     7-50
5 lt distilled water.........................     2-75
tools etc........................................    18-93
TOTAL                                          257-22

The cocoa shell mulch is an essential item for the composting loo. It isn't readily available in garden centres so I had to buy it by mail order and get it to the boat.

This is the same compost loo as on our boat, an Airhead. The liquids go in to the large container at the front of the unit and the solids go straight down into the body of the thing. The cocoa shells are to absorb the small amount of residual moisture and to break up the solids so that air gets to all of it and prevents smells caused by anaerobic decomposition. The solids are stirred up using the cracked handle. I put about a handful of cocoa shells a day in so a 50 ltr bag has lasted us over 7 months.

I have carried out all my own engine servicing so far. I have bought all my filters from Inline Filters who are very rapid and very cheap too. The oil I have bought from Wilko's who seem to have the cheapest anywhere. I was disappointed to find that it had gone up from £12-50 a lt to £15 but still the best price around. The grease is for the stern glad etc. I drained the water system in the engine too as the coolant mixture degrades over a couple of years.

There isn't a lot of room for maneuver in the engine hole so I have to be in the mood and the weather has to be half way decent too. I should have picked a better photo as the tonsure looks like I have joined some Holy Order of Monks.

I bought some paint to recover the fore deck and some to paint the engine hole too, along with brushes etc. I bought a tub of fire cement to reseal the flue to the stove and some black lead to polish up the stove for the winter. Part of the curing the Hurricane heater problem was to drain the system and refill with new antifreeze. I know now how to do it more easily and next time I do it I will give the system a good flush as it surprised me how mucky the water gets. The distilled water was for the batteries of course, not for the steam iron!

The stove is not essential but it gives a lot of heat and is a lovely focal point of the boat. Ours is in the middle so with the walk through bathroom door open the the bathroom and bedroom get nice and warm too.

 The tools were things like saw blades, tap connector, drills, jubilee clips etc. This wasn't the sum total of all that it cost as I all ready some things that I used first and I have a lot of these purchases left for next year.

Sunday 23 November 2014

Seal of approval.

Nothing to do with canals but we did cross the Humber and see the sea so a good excuse to show you some cute pictures. On Saturday we drove over to Lincolnshire to see the seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve run by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. It took about an hour to get there over the Humber Bridge and down to the coast. It is down some small roads but there was plenty of traffic going the same way and the car park was quite full at 1100. It was £2-00 to park on the farmers land but I hope that they will make a good donation to the Wildlife Trust at the end of the year. The field was wet but quite well compacted so not too much trouble getting on and off. However after a day and night of rain today I wouldn't like to be trying to get on or off for the next couple of days. They do have a tractor handy to pull you out if required. It is a short walk over the dunes and to the saltmarsh/beach. The Wildlife Trust have erected a strong fence at the margins of the dunes so to prevent interference of the seals. 43000 visitors went to see the seals in 2006. However the fence is low so does not interfere with viewing and obligingly the seals come right up to the fence in places. You should never touch the seals as they can bite and human scent may mean that a pup is abandoned by it's mother.

When pups are born they are have a yellowy white coat that turns more white after a few days. This one must be a few days old. They are about 14kg when born.

The seals at Donna Nook are Grey seals, also known as Atlantic seals, and not the much more common harbour or common seals. They only started using Donna Nook as a colony since the 1970's but numbers have been increasing. In the UK we have 40% of the world's population of Grey seals, 90% of which are in Scotland but this colony is of growing importance. The Uk population is estimated to be between 100 and 170000.

This is a female or cow grey seal. They are about 1.8m long and can weigh 150kg. The common seals are roughly about half the size of them. They hard to tell apart when in the water and wet but other than the size it can be seen that the greys have a 'roman nose' where as the common seals have a more dog like snout.

Donna Nook was, or even may still be an RAF firing range. As the beacons etc are in good condition I suspect that it is still used. However the land was given over as a Nature reserve around 2002 so I suspect that they must only use it 'out of season'. The seals come ashore at the end of October and are gone again at the end of January. They start to give birth a few days after landing and this year the first pup was born on 25th October.

There is a fair bit of 'argy bargy' between the cows that seem to warn others away from their cubs and the bulls that are battling for dominance over the most cows they can watch over. Neither the cows or the bulls feed whilst on the shore so I can understand them getting a bit techy as I'm just like that if I don't regular meals

The pups suckle 4 or five times a day for two to three weeks (the average is 18 days) and then the mother leaves them to it. The females mate again before leaving the beach and then are gone. The fetus develops for a week and then goes into remission for three months before restarting growth to ensure that they are due when the return to the beach the next year. They return to the same beach and they can live for around 45 years.

This pup is only a few hours old as can be seen by the blood from the placenta. (There are piles of after birth around the place if you are hyper squemish). It looked as though it's mother was ignoring it as she kept shuffling away but we were assured by one of the wardens that it had had its first feed at least. There is approximately 10% mortality of the pubs on the beach, mainly through starvation and abandonment. Another 40 % don't make it through their first year. Last year they also had to contend with the tidal surge in December that added about 2m to the height of the tide and scattered the seals up and down the coast. However wardens did not see mass deaths of the pups and as the year had been a record year, 1676 pups born, they are not expecting much effect on the population. This year all ready they have counted over 1300 pups and the peak is usually at the end of November.

It is well worth a trip out to see them if you are anywhere near or going past as they are after all the UK's larges carnivore.

Friday 21 November 2014

Repairs made during 2014.

Moving batteries..............268-92
Tiles for bathroom...........104-29
items for tiling work..........11-55
Engine hole seals...............24-78
Fit fairleads........................40-00
Dry dock for bent prop....892-80
fabricate fit fuel lock.........72-00
Hurricane fittings............144-30
Total                              1558-64
Insurance payout...........  767-80
Total                                790-84

Originally the batteries were sited in the engine hole and so close to the deck above that I found it impossible to even open some of the caps for the wet cells. Consequently the batteries were hardly checked in two years. (Fortunately one of those years the boat was more or less idle). I had them moved up in to the locker above. This has meant the I can easily check them on a regular basis and so hope that the cost will be offset by an improvement in the life of the batteries. I am still not happy so I hope to have them moved out again and line the space better and plug the drains that allow water in to the engine space. This job turned out to be the most expensive of the year and perhaps the least value for money. I had negotiated with the mechanic doing the job but had not realised that the billing would come through the marina, as it was carried out on their property, and was presented with a very inflated invoice. Believe it or not I negotiated a reduction but it was still a 'dear do' as they say round here.

The bathroom shower tray had been leaking slightly and I couldn't find where it was coming from. I eventually tracked it down but not before the damp had caused the waterproof layer on the plyboard to come away. I thought about covering in plastic sheeting but wasn't confident in my skills with this material where as I had done a fair amount of tiling over the years so settled on that. Mind you I am no master and the cutting of the big tiles we had chosen was not an easy job. The final finish is okay but no a professional job but it seems to work. I had been worried that the tiles would come away with vibration etc but they seems to be holding fast.

Starting the job is always the hardest part!

When the boat was at Shobnal Basin in Burton on Trent I asked the engineers if they would fit a couple of fairleads on the roof rail for the centre ropes, one either side. I had purchased the fairleads myself. I should have bought different ones as the rope comes out too easily, but still save the paintwork. They also managed to free the fuel filter on the engine for me in the price. The first fuel filter replacement had come due but I couldn't shift it. It took them a goof bit of effort but they managed and fitted the filter that I supplied.

The boards over the engine hole are resting on metal edges and two removable bearers across the boat. I thought that the noise and vibration would be reduced if I put seals between the boards and the steel edge. It worked a treat and the noise is much better now.

The largest outlay would seem to be the dry docking and refurbishing of our bent propeller. However with the money received from the insurance company that only cost us £125. I say only through gritted teeth though!

This little feller got left behind in the dry dock. Mind you it wasn't that little. It is an 'Austropotamobius pallipes' or more commonly called a white clawed cray fish and they can grow to 12cm (5" in old money). It is called a white claw as the underside of the claw is pale. (Pallipes means 'pale footed). This one was near to full size I would say.

Whilst in the dock I had them fabricate and fit a locking device for the fuel filler cap on the stern. You hear all sorts of stories about fuel being syphoned off, although I have never spoken to anybody to whom it has actually happened, and with us bound for the place of dark deeds and trickery, London, I thought we should have something down. I had looked for locking caps etc and for other systems. I had toyed with the idea of drilling right through the cap and pipe and use a long shank padlock but could see problems in the future. The result was a pretty good solution and although quite expensive was about the same as a good quality locking cap for other types of filler.

Locking bar across fuel filler pipe.

The last repair was to the Hurricane heating system. I don't expect this to happen again as they are known for their reliability. They only require servicing every 1000 hours and we have only done 148 hours in two years. After the air lock was identified it was found there was no easy way to bleed the lines immediately out/in to the unit. Two bleed valves are usually sent with the kit but the builder had neglected to fit them. The addition to the lines means that now there will be no problem in me bleeding the system if it should happen again.

The two blue right angled hoses ensure that there is no air trap at where the hose leave the Hurricane unit and the bleed valves can be seen just where the blue hoses joins the black hoses

As to next year I want to get the battery locker sorted properly and it will be two years since the last blacking so maybe that will be done so I am hoping for no more than this years outlay again.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Fuel Costs for 2014.

Total                1146-66

We seem to use a 13 kg gas bottle in just under 3 months. It is only for cooking. The cost of a cylinder refill varies around the system, we paid £22-38, £24-50 and £27-30 making an average of £24-73

Thorne moorings 3 months...............30-95
Shobnal Basin one week.................... 5-00
Aylesbury Marina 2 x £1 cards.........  2-00
St Pancras Marina Fixed £3 + meter.. 3-80
Savile Town Wharf 2 x £10 cards.....10-00
Total                                                  51-75

When moored up over the winter when the boat is unattended we level a couple of thermostatic heaters plugged in to the 240v supply and set to come on when the temperature drops below 2C. Otherwise the shore supply just keeps the batteries topped.

When we enter a marina over the summer different marinas charge differently Shobnal charged a fix sum. Aylesbury had a machine to obtain cards at a subsidised rate. St Pancras there was a fixed charge of £3 plus very low priced units read by a meter. We will have to see how much we use at Dewsbury but I have allowed £20 up until Christmas

6 x 10kg @ £2-99..........................17-94
2 x 20kg Supertherm at £8-50.......17-00
Total                                              34-94

The 10 kg bags were bought from B&M I think and we took them with us from home when we started our cruising. We use about 2.5 kg of coal for an evenings fire but that is supplemented by logs that we have found and dried along the way. I often take logs from home over the winter so that there are plenty when we set off that are dried and then replace through the summer as we go along. I have many comments from gongoozlers about having logs below my solar panels drying out. It seems an obvious place to me as they are kept dry and out of the way, although there isn't room for too many there. The multistove is an added extra but it is lovely to have it on a winters evening. Ours is in the middle of the boat and so easily heats all through even without an eco fan on the go.

I haven't found away of being able to actually evaluate how much the solar panels save for me. I would save more if our cruising patterns were to be stationary for more days as then I would not have to run the engine to charge the batteries, but how I can quantify it easily is beyond me.

1062.6 ltrs..........................   985-79

The lowest price paid was 76p/120p and the highest was £1 per litre.
The average price paid was 92.8p/Ltr

The engine ran for 686.5 hours so the average is 1.55  ltrs/hour.

However our Hurricane heater is diesel and is fed from the same tank. The Hurricane ran for 148 hours this year. That makes about 1.6 hours a day, normally to give hot water for a shower in the morning and to take the chill off first thing so getting out of bed to make the tea is not so much of a chore. It is just like your home heating as it is set by a thermostat and timer so doesn't need to come on if the boat is warm enough and only heat the water if the calorifier temperature is down. The makers give the consumption as 0.84 lt/hour so that makes 124.3 ltrs used over the year. If we take that from the total consumption it means we used 944.8 ltrs so our true engine average consumption has been 1.38 ltrs per hour, which I don't think is too bad when I think back to what we have done and where we have been.

I wish there was a standardisation of how diesel prices are quoted as it gets a little complicated, especially on the phone. I also wish marinas and other supplies would have an up to date sign outside their establishments so that you could see before entering. I have had suppliers almost push me into declaring 100% as it is no skin off their nose as the declaration is up to the boat not the supplier. I haven't had any that demanded a 40/60% split. I often declare 90/10% (domestic/motive) as our cruise pattern is to move for about four hours and even if remaining moored I would have to run the engine about that long to heat water and charge batteries so feel I can easily justify my declaration.

Sunday 16 November 2014

2014 Mooring costs.

Our mooring costs for 2014 were as follows;

Winter moorings at Bluewater Marina, Thorne.................677-36
Three night in Lincoln Brayford Pool @ £10.......................30-00
Shobnal Marina, Burton-u-Trent 7 nights.............................58-00
Market Harborough, 8 nights at £10 ....................................80-00
St Pancras Cruising Club Marina, 4 nights @ £10...............40-00
Clifton Wharf, Rugby. 5 days...............................................57-60
Winter mooring, Savile Town Wharf, Dewsbury...............355-52

At Thorne the moorings were from 1st January to 31st March which works out at  around £225 a month. Electricity was extra, measured by meter. It seemed that there were residential boats around so there was always somebody to keep an eye on the boat otherwise not too many facilities. The town was a little walk away and had all that maybe required but was not somewhere you would go to spend a weekend really.

Our mooring at Brayford Pool. The visitor moorings are limited in Lincoln and as we had guests arriving we had to be sure that we had a spot. The visitor moorings are those behind us, about three boats worth. There is also room through the Pool and the Glory Hole Bridge and out towards Stamp End Lock but access on and off the boat is poor.

We pop home every now and again to see the parents and for various other reasons, so for security and to make sure the batteries get a through charging every now and then we check into a marina. This year as we ventured further from home we have had a little longer at home to make the journey more worth while. This has added to the costs of course. It seems that the standard going rate is  about £10 a night. Last year we did have stops at £6 a night though. However what you get for you money varies. Some places you get unlimited electricity and some charge a lump sum whilst others meter it. The facilities of the marina or wharf can be ascertained before hand though. We mainly picked our moorings to fit in with the area we were in and the proximity to a railway station. It is a good way of sussing out places for having work done at a later date too. I think £250 is not too bad a price to pay for peace of mind, especially when I have gone home and left Helen alone on the boat.

Market Harborough is a nice place to stay. There is plenty of visitor moorings but they are 48hrs only. Most places where there is a decent railway station have time limits on the moorings. At Market Harborough there are 7 day and 14 day moorings out of town and as it happened they were also occupied so I was glad of a berth in this spot.

At Dewsbury the moorings are for 1st November to 31st of December. so working out at about £178 per month. Again electricity is extra and is paid for via a card. On our short acquaintance with the place it has a nice feel, with a nice cafe and pub on site and with people around all the time to keep an eye on things.

Clifton Wharf near Rugby was a fair walk from the station but was the most convenient in the immediate area and suited us for the time. The over night cost was on a cost per foot of boat length but essentially for us it was £10/night. 

Thursday 13 November 2014

Fixed Costs, 2014.

Our fixed costs for 2014 were £1157-57

This was made up of   C&RT Craft Licence...........833-38
River and Canal Rescue Bronze cover.....................126-00

The C&RT Licence is required by all boats and depends on your length, Our boat is 59'. The figure also has the benefit of an early payment discount of 10% which you would be silly to miss out on. Payment can now be completed over the internet and I have found it to be very efficient. The Licence comes through in the post though and should be displayed on either side of the boat. We meet many boaters who complain about all the boats that do not have a licence. I don't think there is a bye law that says you have to display the licence, just that it should be as it saves money when checkers need to waste time etc checking if a certain boats index number is licensed. Just because there is no licence displayed doesn't mean that the boat isn't licensed. I think there is a C&RT website that you can input an index number and check if it is licensed. C&RT have said the number of un-licensed boats has fallen to 4%. If there are 40000 boats on the canals that would be 1600 boats. If the average license fee was £650 that would be still over £1 million lost. With all the checking on the canals I wonder how long it will be before the  system is robust enough to do away with the window display and rely on the computer checks like for road vehicles? Not for a good while yet I suspect

License displayed.

We are insured with Towergate Mardon and we have found them to be very good. We have the standard insurance cover I think. I checked that it covered us for our trips out on the tidal Thames and that was all in too. You have to have £3 million third party indemnity which is required by C&RT. They were very good when we bent our prop. We didn't think about our insurance until the boat was in the dry dock and the propeller off. I called them and quickly established that yes it was covered and no, it didn't matter that the work had already started. I sent them proof of the work done, photos and the bill etc and the money was transferred into our bank account very quickly. I was worried that the next years premium would increase greatly but it looks to me that it has only increased about 5%. I would recommend Towergate Mardon after our experience with them this year.

Our propeller after being straightened and re-balanced and ready to be refitted in Bulbourne dry dock.

I have taken out Bronze cover with The River Canal Rescue this year that entitles you to four call outs a year. I suppose at a boat gets older higher cover maybe needed but so far we haven't had to call them out at all.

Winterising Your Narrowboat
The fourth or is it fifth emergency service!

Monday 10 November 2014

2014 boat costs.

Remembrance Sunday has just past and fortunately the weather was fine in our area. The local parade was better attended than in the past as was the service in the church. The 100th Anniversary of the start of WWI seems to have touched a cord.

I have been working out costs whilst away on the boat this year. I have broken it down into areas and will expand on each area at a later date. I didn't bother with keep a check during our first year of cruising as I thought there would be costs that we incurred through ignorance and just equipping the boat from scratch. However I think that it was very similar to this years figures.

Our costs were as follows;

fixed costs..................1157-57
Repairs etc.................1558-64
Insurance payment       767-80

We were aboard the boat for seven moths so that makes £762 per month. Obviously it maybe more expensive in the winter to heat the boat but then again you aren't using so much diesel to move about perhaps. The fixed costs are paid on an annual basis so to divided them by 7 is not strictly accurate.

Moorings were the largest costs and this was our mooring over winter last year at Bluewater Marina, Thorne on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal.

 As we went around the system either Helen or I went home to visit the family or other reasons occasionally. When I am away I like to put the boat in marina so that Helen has all mod cons and doesn't need to worry too much. It is also good to give the batteries a good boost and equalisation charge. This was us just leaving Shobnal Basin, Burton on Trent after one of our stops.

The next largest cost group was the repairs section. This was the shower before I started on the tiling. The board had started to lose its facing so due to an ingress of water. I couldn't see a good way of sealing it other than by cladding it in plastic sheets or tiling. I know I can do tiling so I chose that.

This is the afterwards shot. I was quite please with it over all.

Our largest outlay was for thew dry dock to remove and refurbish our bent propeller. Options were limited for dry docks and as we were heading for a trip on the tidal Thames it wasn't really an option to delay it. This is the boat in Bulbourne Dry Dock at the top of the Marsworth Locks.

This is the bent propeller once it had been removed. It shows the worth of being insured as we managed to offset a large part of the bill.

In future posts I will break each section down further and give more figures etc. and hope that it will be useful for new boats to gauge what their costs may be and for old hands to see where they are much better at saving money or where they perhaps could do better.

Friday 7 November 2014

2014 Summary.

It feels like we had a long trip this year, with lots of locks of which the vast majority felt like being broad locks. I have had a look at the year and compiled some figures.

Just left the Thorne Marina at the end of March full of anticipation. 
(although it looks more like constipation in this picture!)

The engine hours were 686.5 hours.

The miles traveled were 1027'.

The locks passed through was 764 locks.

We passed through 13 tunnels including Standedge (1st longest), Blisworth (3rd), Harecastle (5th), Braunston (7th) and Crick (9th). In total our transit through tunnels was 19992 yards which equates to 11.33 miles underground!

We have passed under a few notable bridges too. Our three trips on the Thames were the highlight of the year and have given us loads of confidence for the future.

We used 1062.6 litres of diesel.

We traveled on 38 different canals and waterways. Just to be pedantic I will list them;
Stainforth and Keadby Canal
Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation
Sheffield and Tinsley Canal
River Trent
Chesterfield Canal
Fossedyke Canal
River Witham
Nottingham and Beeston Canal
Erewash Canal
Upper Trent
Trent and Mersey Canal
River Soar
Grand Union, Leicester Arm
Grand Union, Market Harborough Arm
Grand Union, Welford Arm
Grand Union
Grand Union, Aylesbury Arm
Grand Union, Paddington Arm
Regent's Canal
Hertford Union Canal
Lee Navigation
River Stort
Limehouse Cut
Bow Creek
Three Mills River
St Thomas Creek
Prescott Channel
Deptford Creek
River Thames
North Oxford Canal
Coventry Canal
Macclesfield Canal
Peak Forest Canal
Ashton Canal
Huddersfield Narrow Canal
Huddersfiled Broad Canal
Calder and Hebble Navigation
Calder and Hebble Navigation, Dewsbury Arm

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal and Standedge Tunnel is always a great way to finish off our cruising year and I would recommend it to everybody who has a boat that can fit.

I have kept a record of all our cost this year so will give a breakdown of them at a future date so that everybody can see how mean, or otherwise Yorkshire folk can be.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Friday 31st October.

We started getting ready to leave the boat with a heavy heart as always. First thing was to fill up with diesel so that there was no air gap in the top, of the tank that would encourage condensation and the fuel bug to grow. This meant leaving our berth and heading to the winding place to moor again by the fuel point. I expected between 50 and 60 litres would be needed and was relieved when it stopped at 59.1lt.

Holderness on her moorings. I'm not sure whether we will be able to get out easily if a boat moors on our port side.
Once we got back we were mainly packed up so whilst I did the outside chores and Helen started to clean through. My jobs were to check all the padlocks and hinges were sprayed with WD40 and also the external electrical components. I tied up with our short old ropes and stowed our long, newer ones inside. I rigged up the shore line to the boat. The card reader is in a very difficult place to access, and a £10 card only seemed to put £4-50 of electricity on. When I spoke to Angela in the office she said that they are having trouble with some of the boxes and an electrician is due soon and she would add more on for us and keep an eye on it for us. We will see what happens. I set the solar panels to best advantage in case the shore power failed. I cleared out he lockers and stowed the gear inside and similarly the roof stuff. I was also taking the gear bit by bit to the car and the rubbish to the skip. I also paid the bill for the moorings and fuel. The boat could have done with a wash outside but all the little jobs seemed to be going on and we were getting m,ore depressed about leaving so we did the main stuff and packed everything in the car, just and left about 1400. We did remember the cat, but not her tray so had to stop on the way home. There are one or two other things that we have left but it is just an excuse to go back again soon. It will be a good base to do Christmas shopping I reckon as there is a good market at Dewsbury and Wakefield and Leeds are not far away.

 This is the arm. Where the car park is was the site of more mills.
The stone building is the old mill stables and now houses the coffee shop and cafe below and the Leggers pub above. The white building is the marina office.

Folk seem friendly so we hope all will be well at Savile Town Wharf and 'Holderness' will be safe and sound over the winter. We do intend to visit regularly and maybe even take her out for a spin before the end of March. It is less than 150 days until our next cruise starts, and we have all the fun of 'planning' it too.

I will continue to blog a couple of times a week with interesting and relevant stuff, well I hope some of you will find it interesting and relevant. Thanks for looking in so far this year.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Thursday 30th October.

We reluctantly dragged ourselves out of bed as today was going to be the last day of our cruise, well almost. It was still and quite warm when we set off and stayed that way all day too. We were soon at Shepley Bridge and with a couple of boats to go down ahead of us  we dropped the rubbish off at the services and helped them down.

I thought I would try my hand using the 'hand spike'. We have a pick axe handle which does the job. However we didn't find any locks on the Calder and Hebble section we completed on this trip that you needed one for as there seemed to be at least one of the paddles that had more conventional paddle gear. Indeed several of the hand spike mechanisms didn't seem to the functioning.

Beautiful brick and stone work with nice sweeping curves to the Shepley Bridge Lock from the river. 

The time on the river is very short after Shepley Bridge as you just go across the head of a loop and through Greenwood Flood lock that was open for us today.

The Greenwood Cut and lock seem very remote and rural. We didn't need to worry about the warnings of flood conditions today.

Once we descended again from Greenwood lock into the River Calder we were really going slowly so as to make the most of our last day and the glorious cruising weather.

An old riverside crane is left among much more modern factory buildings giving clues to the importance of the river traffic in times past. The floating barrier prevent you going any further down river towards the weir and  you have to pass through the Thornhill Flood lock

Once on the Thornhill Cut it again seems rural but I think that this is because the mines and industry have all gone and all that remains are the railway lines and bridges, some of which are actually still used by trains and not cyclists!

Thornhill Double Locks bring a bit of canal interest to a long cutting through the area. The two locks are set on a bend with an oval shaped pound between. At the foot of the lock is where the Dewsbury Arm leaves the Calder and Hebble Canal. This is us  just vacating the lock with help from the lads we met the other day who are on their way back from Wakefield and going to take over the lock from us. On the left is the by-wash of the lock and as the turn into the arm is so tight for a 60 ft boat I had to get my stern right in there. As there was plenty of rubbish and wood there I thought it more prudent to get Helen to pull the bow round for us. There still isn't much room though.

The canal is very shallow although we weren't churning up the mud very much. The reads are encroaching too but I think that it is because there isn't much traffic up and down this arm. Having said that we did see a community boat winding at the end the next day.
This cast iron road bridge beam is dated 1878. With the horse tunnel and stone buildings it makes  quite a picturesque sight.

This is painted on a building wall but I don't know how long it has been there. You maybe wondering what shoddy and mungo was and it is all to do with the woolen industry. All the long fibres from a fleece were used in expensive cloth but the short clipping and waste from the weaving process were saved. From about 1813 this was mixed with old closed that were recycled. The old clothes were collected by rag and bone men and even imported from abroad. All the seems etc were removed and the other bits were shredded and added with a bit of new wool. This enabled a cheap cloth to be manufactured. If the shredding of the rags was even finer it was called mungo. All the bits that were used, or were left over from the making of the cloth were rotted down and sold as fertiliser to farmers and even exported to Kent for the hop farms. A lot of this cheap cloth was made into army uniforms. Hence the word shoddy came to mean some thing that is of poor quality or badly made.

We soon arrived at the basin end. The office was closed as we knew it may be but there was nobody about to tell us where to go. We therefore picked a berth and were just about to reverse down the arm a small way to the pontoon when Amy and Joe arrived in the car. They hopped aboard and we were soon tied up. We had a bight of lunch and then I was off home with them to pick the car up. I was back just after 1700 and it takes about 90 minutes to make the journey. There are a few folk that seem to live aboard their boats which is good as there is always somebody around. At the end of the basin is a coffee shop/restaurant with a pub, The Leggers above. We went for a couple of pints and pie and peas in the evening and folk seemed friendly and the place would be very cosy on a winters evening I'm thinking, especially as it is in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.

Monday 3 November 2014

Wednesday 29th October.

We didn't have far to go today so we dawdled over setting off and several boats got going before us. We didn't have far to go through the first lock. There were three boats going down so we waited. When we were going down a boat caught up with us.  They had a surfeit of young lads to do the lock wheeling. When we left the lock we found a hire boat sat on the lock landing pontoon. They made it difficult to pick Helen up and if there had been any sort of a current on the river we would have had to clatter alongside a little. There was twitching of curtains but nobody would look at us.

The River Calder after Cooper Bridge Lock.

I love these wide Yorkshire rivers as they have an aura of faded glory about them, especially in their autumn colours. There are numerous signs of past endeavours and riches but now a feeling of waiting for something better to come.

Even the railway bridges are disused, or lock as though they are.

Somebody else enjoying the warm sun on this Indian summer day.

The canal approaching Battyford Lock.

We passed the South Pennine Boat Club and thought that this would make a lovely mooring. We will have to look into it for next winter. We set the lock and just as we opened the gate the boat with the young crew arrived and as they were trying to get to Wakefield for the night we let them take it and we followed after. It was a beautiful morning and we weren't hurrying, trying to make the cruise last as long as possible on such a day.

Once clear of the lock a single hander was waiting to come up and made it look very easy getting in the lock on his own.

As you approach Mirfield there is the pillars of a long gone pedestrian Bridge still in the river. To the right can be seen the floating barrier that guards the large weir and the flood lock is also visible.

Through the flood lock we came across a fishing match that were scattered all over the visitor moorings. We managed to hang a rope on the last bollard on the eastern visitor moorings.

We went for a mooch around Mirfield that is bigger than we expected and has a good mix of high end shops and the more usual. We stopped for lunch  in a nice little place an stuffed ourselves with a ploughman's lunch. We did a bit of shopping and returned to the boat to get some jobs done. Later we decided to go for a walk to find the CAMRA pubs in the town and had an entertaining couple of hours before heading back to the boat and cat. (No that isn't the name of a pub, but perhaps would be a good one!)

This cruiser was moored opposite us and I thought this photo would make a very good jigsaw puzzle.