Water Water Everywhere! 26th August

Naburn Water Point Pontoon

A quick check out of the front window at about 6am proved we were now on the move, upwards. The levels were rising. Overnight we had passed the level we’d reached a couple of days ago, but luckily the forecast level was gradually dropping, still high but out of the red zone.

View at 8am

Around about 8am we could hear an engine followed by voices. The hybrid cruiser narrowboat had escaped from York early this morning and sought refuge here at Naburn. They rafted up to the abandoned boat relieved to be moored to something floating.

10:40 and our new neighbour

What to have for breakfast? I decided to make us blueberry pancakes, we still have a few in the freezer that were ordered by accident. With no sourdough starter discard handy I had to hunt through my recipes for a recipe that predates my bubbling friend. There was one that had been a great success using Red Bob Mill 1 to 1 flour. No stocks of that brand on board I hoped that Sainsburys plain gf flour would do a reasonable job. Well the American brand must have quite a lot of xanthum gum in it as todays batter was more like a normal pancake mix. I decided to make larger than normal breakfast pancakes and scattered blueberries on top as they cooked. A little rubbery, a different recipe will need to be found for when I have no starter to use up again.


I had a message through from Scarborough friend Georgie wanting to pick my brains about an installation for York Mediale. We arranged a time for me to be stood outside to receive her call. Turns out the project she is currently working on is very similar to the Water Torture Cabinet I designed for A Regular Little Houdini, but with a couple of extra problems thrown in for good measure. It was good to hear that Top Show (scenery fabricators in York) are still in existence as six years ago the chap who ran the company passed away. The two chaps working for him were hoping to take over the business and continue. It was nice to be problem solving again, hope I helped.

Water Torture Cabinet from Houdini

Soon afterwards my brother rang. They had been thinking overnight and looking at the weather forecast along with river levels. If they’d been going camping in Kent and the weather looked as dire then they would have already cancelled, but a trip to see us in York made it a harder decision. With rain forecast for all day Friday, no possibility of cruising up to York for the day, the only place we’d all be able to sit would be around our dinette table, that’s if the river level stayed low enough to not require waders. So very sadly their trip is cancelled. Very disappointing, but nature has played her card.

Rafted boats at 2pm

Josh starts back at school very soon and he needs to settle into how that will work before they plan on having a weekend away. He may also be on the late shift at school, so leaving after school to head north on a Friday may not be possible. Instead we may do a trip south to see them. So we shall have to wait for post and the yarn I’d bought to knit Jac a new top, I was quite looking forward to getting my needles clicking away again.

That was six steps yesterday

Whilst I was on the phone the levels kept rising and rising. Two bricks worth disappeared under water, just how high would the level get?

2:15pm Looking out towards the tidal section of the Ouse

This afternoon the river on the tidal side of the lock was very high. A walk over to the weir and it almost looked level, fantastic for white water rafting, but very different from when we’d arrived below the lock a couple of weeks ago.

Two weeks ago below the lock

We chatted with the Lock Keeper. Yesterday he’d tried to find who owned the abandoned boat, apparently it was sold in March and C&RT have no record of who the new owners are! Well at least it is safe rafted up to the pontoon with us all.

Two cruisers that had been moored on the downstream pontoon had headed off to Selby earlier. The skippers very used to river conditions as they used to deliver large rolls of newsprint to York Press on the Foss, their powerful engines would also help with most situations and the swing bridges would need to be swung for them as they zoomed by. Jo, on the widebeam next to us, had been booked to head downstream today, but none of us would be going anywhere until at least the weekend.

3:40pm almost high tide

The Lock Keeper was keeping a close eye on the levels. If it got higher it would soon be over the top of the lock gates, he’d then swing the swing bridge over the lock meaning those on the pontoon above the weir could still have access from the lock island. If it got even higher he hoped that they had sufficient supplies on board as the water covers the island and the water can get to chest deep when it’s really bad.

Viking Recorder at 6pm shortly before the peak

In the past the lock cut has been filled with boats seeking refuge from the floods. Rafted right across from the water point pontoon. Then ropes have been tied to trees across the cut so boats could tie to them and stay away from the banks. He can’t remember the maximum amount of boats he’s had here.

Naburn at 4.15pm

But today the peak of the flood should arrive around 8pm and the expected level in York would be around 2.5 meters, so we should be fine.

A comfy spot

We walked along the river bank, past where we’d been moored yesterday afternoon, the tops of the ladders only just visible. A fisherman had taken up camp where the river bus normally pulls in, at least it wouldn’t be dropping passengers off today!

Not much of a view

Following the path towards Naburn we thought we’d get river views, but the height of the Himalayan Balsam was way too high, so we only had a view of the footpath.

Moos on Naburn Ings

The view did widen out across a field which will be part of the flood plain, cattle grazed here today, but apparently you can quite often see deer. We followed the path round, noting that the caravan part of the campsite sits at the same height as the field we were walking in. The tent field seems to be a touch higher, so the London Leckenbys may not have had their tent swept away.

Now the water was so high in the cut that it was flowing over the top of the lock gates, the lock we are moored behind is no longer used and has gates about a foot higher. Left photo today, right 2 weeks ago when we arrived. The ladders on the moorings were now below the water and very soon the mooring signs became submerged. The pontoon we are all attached to now has a step down onto dry land.

Webcam of Kings Staith this afternoon

Just in case, we decided to top up the water tank. The Lockie thought we’d still be able to reach the water point, but there are times when the level has been so high that the waterpoint has actually been submerged itself. On these occasions a hose with a closeable nozzle on the end comes in handy. Connected up to the tap and left pressurised this would mean boats would be able to connect up to it and get water.

Both hoses needed today

With the tank filling I cleaned Tilly’s pooh box out and then decided to have a shower as the tank filled. Just as I was rinsing off the suds there was a bang and something hard fell into the shower tray, just missing my feet. What the?! The water on/off side of the control had shot off and water was spouting out of the side of it. I tried putting it back on with no luck, water sprouting everywhere!

Broken controller

Wrapped in a towel with the shower doors closed behind me, shower pump still going, I tried to think how to stop the water, where was the stop cock? A shout to Mick through the back doors, he was chatting away on the pontoon, I was dripping inside. In a slightly calmer moment I’d have thought about turning the water pump off, luckily Mick had that thought for me.

Tilly seeing why she’s not allowed out

Of course he wanted to see what had happened, and what would happen if the pump was turned on again. ‘Ooo! I see what you mean’. The storage shelves behind the shower were emptied, the unit pulled out and the stop cocks to the shower turned off, we could now have water elsewhere in the boat, isolating the shower.

No ladders, no lock waiting signs, no high wall anymore

The control was removed and looked at, we no idea how the end had been fixed on in the first place. A hunt round for the old control that Mick replaced last year, it had lost the ability to change the temperature, but nowhere was it to be found. Only one thing for it a trip into York tomorrow to take it back to Screwfix and get a new one. At least not having a shower will help in saving water.

The disused lock about 8 inches to go

The water kept rising. Last look before sundown there was maybe another foot to go before we’d be needing wellies to get off the pontoon. Hopefully this was where it would stop.

0 miles, 0 locks, 1.55m higher in York than when we left, 1.2m higher than when we arrived in Naburn yesterday, 2.8m cabinet, 2 mile walk, 1 cancelled camping get together, 1 sad Pip, 1 more boat, 6 safe boats floating, 1 broken shower, 1 laser pen needing new batteries.