Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Nearly there

Woke up on Sunday morning to solid ice across the canal again, so delayed leaving in the hope that another boat would pass and dothe icebreaking. Eventually one did pass, but on walking Lyra before leaving I found it on the water point, though not taking on water. Left it a while longer but it was still there happily moored. I wasn’t too surprised as it’s a boat I have seen a couple of times before using facilities as convenient moorings. So it was down to me to break the ice.

It was only about a quarter inch thick so not too bad to get through. I eventually met an oncoming boat, at the site of the delightfully rickety footbridge which has now been replaced with a new bridge of similar design but lacking the character of the old one. That boat must have been moored near the mast as I was soon icebreaking again. Towards the end of the summit I was into broken ice again so was following someone, which made boating easier but meant I would have all the locks set against me.

After another long day I moored above the bottom lock. I suppose it was probably due to a few long days out in the cold but I felt exhausted and unwell once I had stopped. Apart from giving Lyra her walks and food, I just snoozed all evening, waking about midnight with the fire almost burnt out.

I didn’t feel up to moving at all yesterday so had a quiet day. Shortly after 9pm I realised that a boat was coming alongside. It was Gosty Hill, so I again have a good supply of coal.

I didn’t expect to see Gosty Hill again today as they were planning on an early start, but as I left the bottom lock they were just finishing delivries below the lock. The ice was thick enough that, at the big bend outside Napton, Gosty was taken to the edge. I passed to have a go as getting round is easier with a shorter boat but also got stopped. Breakiing a path with my pole meant that Gosty could ger round and we were on our way again. I passed just before the Bridge Inn and continued to Braunston in much easier conditions as the ice was now patchy and thin.

After a stop to dry out as it had been raining all morning, I have made my way to the top of Hillmorton locks, so should have a short day tomorrow to get back to the marina.

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