Watching. January Floods 2024

Most boaters think that being on a canal is safer than a river in times of high rainfall. This normally is true, rivers rise, break their banks. Flooding in York happens several times a year, we were rafted up at Naburn in August a few years ago for several days waiting for the level to drop. Having grown up over looking the Ouse in York I am very aware at how it reacts to rainfall in the Dales. Watching the Farsons Webcam for years we know when it is a really bad flood or just a run of the mill flood. We keep an eye on Oleanna’s webcam too, knowing she is where she should be.

Farsons Webcam York today

Levels on the Oxford Canal have been so high, bywashes unable to cope. The car park behind Annie’s tearooms in Thrupp well under water, The Mill in Banbury flooded. Locks are being left with paddles up at both ends by C&RT to help relieve the canal of the mass of water. Roads around Oxford are closed, we wonder if there are any boats clinging on for dear life at Osney Bridge as the conditions will be worse than in 2019 when we observed boats ropes straining.

The Avon, Severn, Trent, Nene, Ouzel, Great Ouse, Cherwell, Thames and Soar are all in flood. Many more all breaking previous record highs. I mention the Soar last as our friend Chris has been stuck there since before Christmas, experiencing two floods so far on the river.

Pillings Flood Lock levels over the last few days

Moored on the Loughborough side of Pilling’s Flood Lock, the canal section, we all assumed he’d be safe. But as levels rose on the river the flood lock was over topped and the canal became fast flowing and rose a few days ago.

Chris without plank or poles had to be creative to stop the bow of his boat from ending up on the towpath. We watched his webcam as he waded to cut branches off a nearby tree. These slotted down the side of his boat to help it stay off the towpath. Thankfully his Heath Robinson solution worked and now the river has dropped by about 4ft he can sleep again after a very worrying 36 hours.

Many other boats have not been so lucky. Chris’s nearest neighbour has sunk. In Barrow upon Soar a boat that got loose from it’s moorings ended up side on to the bridge. When the levels started to drop it tilted as it was sat on part of the bridge. A very sad sight indeed and there are more tales from around the country. Lots of drone footage on social media.

What can you do in such situations? Be able to adjust your ropes from the boat. Keep aware of the developing situation. Do your best to keep off the bank. Is there too much interest now in solar power and the panels on your roof taking up the room where handy poles and planks used to live? But sadly, there are times when all that can be done is to stay safe and let what’s going to happen, happen.

Living on a boat isn’t always as easy as Noah had it!

Our thoughts are with those who’s homes have been affected by the floods, whether they be floating or bricks and mortar. I so hope the forecast drier weather means that the rivers will calm and levels drop soon.