Monday, 4 January 2010

The lesser of two evils?

I moved on a bit today, which I think was the right thing to do but I suppose time will tell.

Much of yesterday was spent keeping an eye on the level of the river, it fell quite a lot overnight but was still well in the red. Rather than have to go all the way to the lock each time I had a sophisticated level monitoring system in place near the winding hole. Well a series of sticks stuck in the bank at water level. By mid afternoon it looked as if it was worth having another look at the indicator and whilst still red it looked as if it was on the verge of lowering into the yellow. The flow in the river was also obviously much more gentle. Lyra and I wandered down the river section and the indicator at the bottom end was already just in the yellow.

I did consider moving the boat to the top of the lock yesterday afternoon, which with hindsight would have been a good move.

It was cold last night, about –6, and the canal was frozen over, but the river level near me had dropped at least another inch. A walk to the lock showed that the river was now passable. The ice also didn’t look too bad, so it was time to decide whether to go or not.

My reasoning was that it was forecast to be cold again tonight which would thicken the ice further, and if the forecast snow does arrive would mean that I would be stuck until the canal thawed again. The thaw would also probably result in high river levels again, making progress impossible for longer.

Moving therefore seemed to be the best plan. The ice wasn’t too bad at first, but got worse in the more exposed part just before the lock. This wasn’t too easy to navigate along as it is lined with moored boats and also on a bend. Trying to keep the boat away from the moored boats whilst keeping engine revs to a minimum meant wasn’t easy.

After coming down the river section, I could see more ice ahead. This rapidly got thicker to the point that I ground to a halt. I suppose I could have continued by reversing and heading into the ice at high revs, but it would have been hard work and done a lot of damage to my blacking, and I didn’t know how long the thick ice would last. I didn’t want to find myself further along with no hope of progress and no way of getting to the edge, so reversed to the clear water below the lock and tied up.

I expect to be here for a while, but think that I have everything I need to last until I can move again.

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