Category Archives: Titford Canal

Summit Of Summits. 7th October

Wool Road Winding Hole to Diggle, the summit of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal

It looks good over there!

As we got ready to leave this morning the chap from the boat in front appeared with a billy can full of coal which he proceeded to give to me. He’d taken his stove out several months ago, so had no need of it.

Good Luck with Gypsy

He bought his boat in May as a project boat and was due to have a new stove fitted before now, but for one reason or another it hasn’t happened. I suggested he might want to hold onto the coal to help keep warm, but he still wanted to give it to us. I suspect it was in his way. He grew up around Tunnel End in Marsden, before the tunnel was reopened he and his mates used to play in it, he says there is graffiti from the original navies who cut the tunnel. We wished him good luck with the work on his boat, his next aim is to get to Marsden, then who knows!

Time to climb the last few locks. The last nine locks to the summit are all relatively close together, infact today we only moved a mile horizontally but 94ft 6″ vertically.

Lifting the paddles

The angled paddle gear wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, several of them having had hydraulic mechanisms added to them. Six years ago we had enlisted crew to assist due to me not being able to use my right hand at the time. Using a windlass wrong handed was a challenge as I tried to do my bit. Today my long reach windlass was only needed some of the time.

Will that be enough water?

Our main problem today would be the low pound between locks 26W and 27W. As I arrived to open the gates into 26W above looked really rather low, would there be sufficient water left after filling the lock to get Oleanna over the cill? The bottom gates leaked, she rose, we pushed the gate open, it was touch and go from my reckoning that there’d be enough water.

Gradually making her way forward

I walked up to 27W, the level above much healthier, in fact the bywash was running. I lifted the paddles on the bottom gates and then the top gates and let water run down through the lock. I made note of where I thought I could drop the level above to for us still to be able to get over the cill of this lock.

Will she get over the cill?

Below Mick had closed the gate again, hoping to stop the pound from draining as much as I was filling it. He then refilled the lock, opened the gate and gradually inched his way out of the lock and over the cill. A big thumbs up was given and I could now drop the paddles at the top end of my lock.

There was now the pound to cross which took quite sometime! As Oleanna approached the bottom cill of the lock Mick gave her quite a few revs before cutting them and thankfully gliding into the lock at a slow pace. Now to see if I’d let too much water down to be able to get over the top cill of this lock. There was just enough! Phew!

Nearly there!

Onwards and upwards we worked, the single bottom gates meaning less walking round, but heavier to move. The last pound between 31W and 32W was also a touch low, but thankfully passable, no need to draw on the 3 plus miles of the summit pound.

As the top gate opened of Lock 32W Oleanna had reached the highest point on the Canal Network, tomorrow she will bag her next wonder of the waterways, but getting this far is a wonder in itself.

We pulled up in front of NB Idleness a tug who will also be going through the tunnel tomorrow, Kim and I had been in touch through facebook over the last week. So there was plenty to chat about on our arrival. They are longer than us at around 60ft and had been asking how easy or hard it would be to go down the Huddersfield Broad Canal.

Good hunting friendly cover here

Tilly came out for an explore as we chatted, but after a lady walking by mentioned she’d just seen a couple of Mink I decided that maybe Tilly should return indoors. After seeing how quickly a mink grabbed and dragged a pigeon down a tree earlier this summer I thought it would be safer.


After lunch we walked down hill slightly to Grandpa Greens for some celebratory chilled medication. Signs all around the building suggest that they have had queues round the block, but today we only had to wait for one other person to be served. Sadly no gluten free cones so I had to make do with a tub instead.

What a choice!

Mick had Belgium chocolate and Salted Caramel whilst I had Raspberry Ripple and Nutella. Both very nice and a fitting celebration for reaching the summit of summits.

Yay! Summit medication!!!

The Huddersfield Canal is the highest canal on the network at 645ft above sea level. Next is the Rochdale at 600ft, followed by the Macclesfield and Peak Forest at 518ft, Titford Canal BCN at 511ft, Leeds Liverpool at 487ft the last two surprising us not to be the other way round.

Taking down her smile

The afternoon was spent preparing ourselves for tomorrow. The highest point on Oleanna we know to be the horns at the front, the chimney used to be similar until we had some cut off. Mick undid the supports that the horns sit on and tucked them under the bracket that normally holds them off the cratch cover. This will have gained us at least another 3 inches clearance, which we might be glad of if someone else drives Oleanna through the tunnel.

One day I’ll repaint that bracket

Another job today was sussing out whether we’ve been charging enough for our house. We’ve already had an enquiry for a few weeks next year. Now that we have been paying the bills for a full year we know what it costs to run the house.

A Summit Robin

I made up a chicken and roast carrot risotto with the last of our Sunday roast and popped it in the oven before I got together with my Scarborough chums for our weekly catch up. It was good to see those who could make it and today was the first time we’ve had two people on boats, me and Sue who is currently on holiday in Greece sailing.

9 locks, 94ft 6″ climbed, 1 mile, 32 locks up, 645ft, 1 summit pound, 1 billy can of coal, 1 dodgy pound, 1 foot of water, 2 boats waiting for the tunnel, 3 by the end of the day, 2 scoops each, 2 horns lowered, 2 hours shore leave, 2 mink! 5 chums, 1 pot of oven risotto, yummy!

The yarn shop I’ve just spotted on the map at Warth Mill has been added to the ‘next time’ list!

Facing Fear. 15th September

Cast Iron Roving Bridge to other side of Sheepcote Street Bridge

There are peoples names that stay with you through your life, some for good reasons, some for bad. One such (bad) name for me is Jeff Farrow, he has affected my life from an early age right up to today and most probably beyond. Then there is Colin Pocock, I met him February last year and spent quite a bit of time in his company. Our reason for coming to Birmingham was for me to see him again, the pandemic and all that has happened in the last 18 months has meant putting off a visit. But 18 months is far better than the 30 plus years before. Today it was time to visit Colin again, my (good) dentist.

Can we have a new outside please!

Today was for a check up and I came away with a pat on the back from Colin, a new toothbrush head and an appointment for tomorrow morning to see a hygienist. We’d allowed a week in our schedule should appointments be hard to get or more be required.

Wonder If I could get that ball?

Back at Oleanna our 2 day mooring was up, we would need another day. Last year we’d asked C&RT for permission to allow us to be in the area for longer than normally permitted for me to see Colin. We’d chatted with the local enforcement officer, she checked our cruising record and had no problem, today this wouldn’t be needed. We looked around and spotted a 14 day mooring just through Sheepcote Street Bridge.

Not such a popular outside for Tilly

Tilly had somewhere new to explore, a little bit noisy as the balconies on the flats we are moored below are having some work done to them. The sideways trees are not as neat as through on the other side of the bridge, but maybe this made them more interesting to her.

Undercoat on

With the sun showing it’s face I got the undercoat out from a bow locker, gave it a very good mix, sanded back any excess primer and then gave the bits on the grab rail a coat. That’s the next layer of protection on. Top coat next and I may actually use the tin of wrong red for this and save the proper red for when I do the full length of the boat next year.

Can I come with you?

There was still an amount of afternoon that needed using. Maybe a look around the recently opened Roundhouse opposite. They are doing guided tours, but none were available today as they are only available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays currently.

Tram tracks

Instead I decided to head off for a walk and to see how the city centre has progressed in the last 18 months. I walked around the houses a little bit until I got to Broad Street. Here the tram tracks are still going in towards Five Ways, but back towards the canal the road is open again.


In front of The Rep the mirror pool looked stunning today with the sunshine, not quite all the buildings are complete yet around the area, so a few cranes feature in my photo.

The Rep is surrounded by hoardings. The theatre is getting a facelift with a new front of house area and cafe. I’d been so transfixed with the reflections in the pool and what shows were going to be at The Rep that I completely forgot to turn round to see what the Symphony Hall looked like. Last year the front of the building was being demolished, hope it’s weather proof now!

Modern reflections of historical buildings

I then walked past the Hall of Memory, over Paradise Circus which is now open to traffic and towards the Museum and Art Gallery. New buildings shine and show off the stonework, domes and spires of the old, a rather pleasing vista.

Forward Together

Besides the Town Hall and Museum is a new Luke Perry sculpture. Luke’s works are all around the BCN. The Dudley no 2 sports a fine collection, at Titford Pools the Rock Driller works at the top of a ladder, a very tall man fishes near Walsall Wood. Today I got to see his latest sculpture Forward Together, A Diversity Monument that will be on display until Christmas then moved to Colmore Square until August next year.

The sculpture is a reimagining of the city’s crest being raised by a line of 25 figures, all of whom are local extraordinary everyday people.  From those that suffered domestic abuse, to cancer, to disabilities, violence and bloodshed (Holocaust), to simple acceptance in society, to racism, to mental health. The monument visibly represents the cities multi-coloured multicultural society. Quotes from Benjamin Zephaniah are embossed on the crest, “No one is here without a struggle” and “We all came here from somewhere”.

Five of the twenty five

This evening we have treated ourselves to an Indian take away from Amir’s a short distance away on St Vincent Street. I chose some dishes we’ve never come across before, Lamb chops Shatkora Bhuna being our favourite, a traditional Bangladeshi dish. As ever we ordered too much food, so we’ll be having the left overs tomorrow night with homemade gluten free nan bread. Yum.

0 locks, 0.36 miles, 15 minutes, 1 pat on the back, 14 day mooring for 1 more day, 7 patches of undercoat, 1 sunny afternoon, 1 new sculpture, 25 locals, 2 onion bhajees, 1 chicken dish, 1 lamb chop dish , 1 sag aloo, 2 pilau rice, 3 free popadoms, 1 still unimpressed cat.

2020 A Long And Winding Year.

Get yourself a cuppa and put your feet up, this is a long post.

Into BUMingham

Having seen New Year in on the North Stratford Canal we commenced the new year by cruising in to Birmingham or as Tilly would have it know, BUMingham, she’s not too keen!

What a stripy world!

A meeting with Amy from Dark Horse Theatre Company about a project in the summer set out our years cruising as I’d need to be in Huddersfield then York for the show. Then it was time to pack and get myself ready for ten days in Vienna. This would be the longest I’ve been away from boat life since we set out in 2014. Half of my clothes were packed up along with a basic scene painting kit and I jetted off to what was a mixed experience. Despite the problems I had a wonderful time working with a great team in the theatre, I hope one day to return.

Whilst I marvelled at the wonderful scenes in Vienna and pulled my hair out at work, trying to keep a calm exterior, Mick and Tilly headed back out into the countryside towards Tardebigge on the Worcester and Birmingham. Here they met up with a friend Chris who was planning a boat build.


Mick and Tilly came back into Birmingham to pick me up and then we set about exploring the BCN. There is plenty to explore and we didn’t quite manage to go everywhere, but we did our best.

Smethwick Locks

We headed up Smethwick New Locks onto the Old Main line. Stopped at Dudley Port Basin, coconuts accompanied us down Brades Staircase, then through Netherton Tunnel where we’d planned on visiting Hawne Basin, but thick ice thwarted our first attempt. The following day we succeeded and had a bumpy ride along the Dudley No 2 to fill our diesel tank.

Emma and Ted

Factory Locks brought us back onto the Old Main Line, we visited Wolverhampton, turned onto the Wyrley and Essington Canal and wiggled our way through the rubbish to Pelsall Junction. Here we had a wonderful get together with my bestestest friend and her son Ted (my Godson) who were over from Sydney, an all but too short lunch with them before they headed onwards on their whistlestop tour of England.

The Cannock Extension and Anglesey Branch were ticked off followed by the Daw End Branch, The Rushall Canal, Tame Valley Canal and up the Ryders Green Locks back into the centre of BUMingham early February.

The Jewellery Quarter kept us busy with visits to Smith and Pepper a time warp jewellery manufacturers, The Back to Backs, The Coffin Works. We watched the film 1917.

The Garden white card scale model

I designed costumes and made the white card model for The Garden for Dark Horse whilst we sat out storm Ciara which was to wipe out the Figure of Three Locks on the Calder Hebble. The damage to the locks looked great and not fixable quickly, a rethink to our cruising route was needed for me to get to work in the summer.

We went to the Symphony Hall and listened to Schubert and Berg spurred on by Dimitrios from NB Galene. Storm Dennis kept us from cruising to our next evening of entertainment at Titford Pump House, a bus replacement did the job so that we could see Alarum Theatre Company’s Acts of Abandonment. Little did we know at the time that this was to be our last live theatre until December.

A night out in the countryside for Tilly and a last night in the city to fill our bellies with curry. Then we were off again, up Smethwick Locks under the M5 where the scaffolding was being taken down. We turned up the Oldbury Locks following a boat that turned out to be NB Sola Gratia. A spin round the Titford Pools was in order before we returned for another diesel top up at Hawne Basin.

The Walsall Canal now beckoned us, that was a bumpy ride over trolleys, trees and all sorts! A fantastic fabric shop, the New Art Gallery right by our mooring and The Leather Museum kept our interest for a couple of days before we climbed up the Walsall Locks back up to Wyrley and Essington Canal.

The garden at Urban Moorings

The ladies at Urban Moorings welcomed us for an overnight visit, time to work the washing machine hard as we plugged into the electric. Then we kept our fingers crossed for a mooring at The Black Country Museum, which thankfully worked.

Marion and John came to meet us for an afternoon at the museum and we all enjoyed fish and chips with plenty of salt and vinegar in between visiting shops and watching chain links being made. The following day we took a boat trip into the Dudley Tunnel, had a second visit to the museum along with a portion of chips before heading out to moor in Tipton and have a visit from Heather from NB Bleasdale, followed by a pie at Mad O’Roukes Pie Factory.

The 7th of March saw us descend the Wolverhampton 21, leaving the Birmingham plateau behind us. Blimey we managed to pack a lot into the first ten weeks of the year! Just as well really. Onto the Shroppie where I had my first successes with gluten free sour dough bread, Tilly got to remember life in the countryside and we were treated to Shroppie Sunsets again.

Burgers with the Margees

The recent storms had brought down numerous trees and caused landslips so our progress was a touch slow heading northwards. We had a lovely lunch with Alison and Laura the Margees at Norbury Junction, they were to be our last visitors on board Oleanna for quite sometime.

Passing NB Bessie Surtees on the Tyrley Locks we actually got chance to chat for the first time. A stop to stock up in Market Drayton, we saw our first homemade mask (a pair of y fronts repurposed) and the start of empty shelves in supermarkets with people gleeful to have a twelve pack of toilet roll under their coat.

The Audlem flight was busy with plenty going down and NB Mountbatten coming up, delivering coal as they went. Theatres closed that day and we started to put into practice new ways of working locks hoping to keep ourselves safe. As we socially distanced around the shops in Nantwich people were joking about the virus. We shopped, adapting what we bought to what was available and then got ready for our first Zoom with family on the 21st March.

We stocked up with NB Halsall at Calverley then made our way onto the Middlewich Branch and down Cholmondeston Lock. The following morning (23rd March) we listened to our gut instincts. If lockdown was to happen we’d rather not have to negotiate locks to get to shops or services, so we winded and headed back up Cholmondeston Lock onto the Nantwich pound. Our gut instinct was correct.

Adam and Adrian on NB Briar Rose

The next few days we saw plenty of boats moving, finding places they wanted to spend the coming weeks, heading for home or temporary ones like NB Briar Rose. Jac my sister in law eventually managed to get a flight back from Melbourne where she’d been to celebrate her Mum’s birthday, at last everyone was where they should be.

We tried different moorings out for size as the need to fill with water or get shopping arose. It was also good to keep Tilly moving, both to stop her from getting bored and to help the local wildlife survive.

Our decision to be on the Nantwich pound turned out to be a good one, we ended up mooring at the bottom of Hurleston on the visitor moorings most, this became ‘Home’ for us where we watched spring turn into summer.

Watching the field behind the hedge be ploughed, planted and start to grow. Listening to the Lapwings enjoying the bounty in the potato fields. Getting to know our neighbours at a distance. The wheelie shoppers. The huskies out for their morning walk. The egg farm at the top of the locks. Weekly veg boxes from Nantwich Veg Boxes which we collected for ourselves and NB AreandAre. Supermarket deliveries were sought each week, sometimes only managing click and collect. The sun shone and Tilly had freedom. The coal boats kept us stocked up with fuel and our waterless (composting) toilet took one need to move out of the equation.

By mid-April my design for The Garden had been reimagined into an illustrated audio play. I was to do the illustrations, then they would have audio and some animation added to be available online. Chippy panto started to gear up with the hope that all would be back to normal-ish by the end of November for the show to be mounted.

We winded, went for walks, watched plays on the internet, winded, ate cheese scones, winded again! Tilly ventured further afield, across her field. We had barbeques, brownies and watched the reservoir banks get mown by remote control.

By Mid-May we were allowed to travel, so we hired a car for a day trip to Scarborough to see how our house was after the tenants had lost it during lockdown. In need of some tlc we now made plans for the rest of the year. We would be returning to life on land for a while, but planned on cruising as much as we could before then.

On the 23rd of May the suspension of the 14 day rule was lifted, our ‘home’ mooring was now 48 hours only so it was time to start moving again. Some boats around Hurleston headed off straight away, others remained a full 14 days before pushing off. We spent the next two weeks pootling to the far ends of the pound, Hack Green and Calvereley, the gunnels got a repaint and we said farewell to NB AreandAre who were heading up onto the Llangollen.

Cholmondeston Lock

With a full boat of veg and fruit from Nantwich Veg boxes, a Sainsburys shop and a visit from NB Halsall we were ready and on the 10th June we pushed our ‘home’ mooring away for the last time this year, Calverely was visited for a top up of water a toilet refresh and then we were off, turning onto the Middlewich Branch and descending Cholmondeston Lock, our first lock in 80 days. New gardening gloves became my boaters PPE and worked well, better than sanitising every five minutes.

Across onto the Trent and Mersey where we headed for Bramble Cuttings for a couple of nights. We’d been hoping to be able to drop down onto the Weaver but the Anderton Boat lift was still closed. So instead we winded at Whatcroft flash and headed up the Cheshire Locks hoping to catch Bosley Locks being open for a day to make our way onto the summit pound of the Macclesfield.

Nice Lock

It was nice being back on familiar ground again, although it took a little while to be able to do the Trent and Mersey hurdles over the lockgate beams with ease after sitting still for so long.

Our chairs were brought out onto the towpath to watch the setting sun at Tilly Railings and a barbeque was enjoyed on the Dane Aqueduct as we waited in line for Bosley Locks to open.

Bosley Locks and The Cloud in the background

With a single hander in front and one behind everyone helped out where we could making our passage up the locks a very jolly if hot one that only took 2.5 hours. Over the next ten days or so we pootled our way along the Macclesfield Canal, such a lovely stretch of water and oh those bridges! Still our favourites.

Calling in at Bollington Wharf we had our gas locker lid mended and had a top up of diesel. Foxgloves filled the canal banks and woods, we stopped at favourite spots along the way turning under the snake bridge at Marple onto the Peak Forest Canal at the end of June, heading for Whaley Bridge and Bugsworth Basin.

Saturday 4th July the pubs could re-open, we however went for a walk and waited for our delivery from Sainsburys along with a diesel top up from NB Alton. A batch of cheese scones were made to help us down the Marple flight on the 7th, we were the second boat down and it felt like we were pioneering boats going where no one had gone for months.

A couple of nights at Droylesden Marina saw to the washing pile and to recharge our batteries before we descended into Manchester. Our last narrow lock of the year was to be Ancotes Bottom Lock 1 on the Ashton Flight where we paused for a night at Telford Basin before tackling the Rochdale 9 on our own the following day. Patience and sheer determination got us out of Lock 92 at the bottom and was rewarded with a cheese scone as we made our way out to the Bridgewater Canal and Worsely.

The 14th July saw us rising up the Wigan Flight. We’d made arrangements to share the locks with NB Billy but it was decided by the volunteer lock keepers that they might be over long to share with, so instead we teamed up with John and Lindsey on NB Merganser. With the help of the Wigan Flight crew setting ahead we made good time up the flight, we then slowed down leaving the others to head off ahead of us.

The next few days we found ourselves leapfrogging NB Billy, or should that be hopfrogging? But we finally caught them up at Blackburn to share the locks. Another spectacular sunset was enjoyed by all near Foster Swing Bridge.

We’d planned to take our time along this stretch, but with local lockdowns looking possible in the area we decided to push on. The Burnley Embankment was busy with walkers and not a place to stop so we continued on to the bottom of Barrowford Locks. The following day we were caught up again by NB Billy so we shared the final flight up to the summit with Clare and Pete.

Our sixth anniversary of being fulltime boaters happened to coincide with pulling up at our favourite mooring on the network, the curley wurlys above Bank Newton. The following day the clouds lifted and we got to see the view. A barbecue was just managed before it started to rain.

It wasn’t quite plain sailing down into Skipton as the skipper of NB Amelie ended up in the cut at the bottom of Bank Newton and then we had problems with lock gates and swing bridges. Mick and I had an overnight in Scarborough leaving Tilly in charge and with the magic food bowl primed. On our return to Skipton we were met by two octogenarians leaning out of the upstairs windows of their house waving. We joined Margaret and Robert for a lovely meal, good to see them even if we were a bit nervy being in their company inside.

Sunny weather accompanied us onwards and finally I managed to take the photo I’ve been after for four years, Oleanna coming towards me under Parson’s Bridge. Now we have the matching pair, Lillian going away from us, Oleanna towards.

At Bingley five rise we teamed up with NB Barley to descend with the help of Lock Keeper Clare, carrying on to Saltaire in the sunshine.

A pause in Rodley meant we could meet up with friends Graham and Tracy in their new garden room, very nice to have a good catch up with them. The following day we took the opportunity to have lunch with my cousins Julie and John, our first pub in months.

Meeting up with Jenny and Andy on NB Barley again we shared the locks down into Leeds with them early the next day. A lack of water meant it took an hour to do one pound as water was let down from above, but we made it in the end to Granary Wharf. Shame the lack of water followed us, in fact the basin did a good job of emptying itself overnight. It took quite a few hours before boats had enough water to be afloat again, we all made a hasty exit as soon as we could.

Back into the big locks of the Aire and Calder we motored on to Ferrybridge where now only three of the power station cooling towers remain, a very sad sight.

Down Bank Dole Lock, the slow filler and we headed to Selby. Our trip up the Tidal Ouse was an interesting one a there were SO many trees floating about, we had to try our best to loose them before passing through what few bridges there were. Kingfishers escorted us just about all the way to Naburn which was a real treat. Instead of pulling up in York we decided to head on up to Ripon, we’d spend time in York on our way back, or so we thought!

Above Boroughbridge a familiar boat came into view, NB Billy. This was the last time our bows would cross this year. At Oxclose Lock we had some time for Tilly to explore before heading up into Ripon Basin to meet up with Robert and Margaret again and for Tilly to show off her ability to spot otters.

I’d get it in the neck if I didn’t include a photo!

On our way downstream the river was rising, we stopped off for a meal at The Dawney Arms making the most of the Eat out to Help out deal. Wonderful food and chance to meet up with Kerry the Landlady and hoped that the river level would ease overnight. Fortunately it did and we made our way in to York. We had hoped to meet up with old friends whilst we were in the area, it turned out the only people I got to see where Jaye and Duncan for lunch. Social distancing, rising rivers sadly put paid to seeing other people.

Over the next ten days the river rose twice. On one fall we made it back into York to pick up a supermarket delivery but very quickly headed back to Naburn where we ended up breasting up in a line of four boats tied to the floating pontoon by the water point. Levels didn’t rise so much as to necessitate wellies or waders, but it did put paid to the London Leckenbys joining us for a few days at the nearby campsite. A big disappointment all round.

But on the 31st August levels had dropped sufficiently for us to head back to Selby accompanied by Richard and Heather on NB Isabella, new boat owners. Naburn was their very first lock, Selby was to be their second! It was such a beautiful morning, we led the way but then let them go first when we reached Selby, we were likely to be able to stem the tide better, but they managed the lock with ease.

Lovely to see Bridget and Storm

At West Haddelsey we had a visit from Bridget and Storm, so lovely to see them. We’d planned on being good and sitting out, they’d even brought their own chairs and the camper van for their own toilet. But as it started to rain we bent the rules taking shelter inside Oleanna. This was the day I gave a second phone to the god of the cut.

For a replacement we headed down to Goole, calling in at Viking Marina to check we would have a mooring later in the month. After filling up with cheap diesel we then headed off up toward Doncaster and Sprotbrough where we caught up with Mick’s niece Fran, before returning back onto the Aire and Calder to do maintenance jobs and enjoy our last days onboard.

On the 18th September we pulled into our berth at the marina, finished off the contents of the freezer and started to pack. Two trips in a hire car to Scarborough and we were moved, Tilly joining us the second time.

Back then we imagined we’d be down to Oleanna doing jobs on day trips and by now we’d have had a couple of weeks out on the cut, but this simply wasn’t to be.

Living Room reclaimed

Jobs in the house keep me busy, along with starting work on the postponed Chippy panto. Mick for a while applied for supermarket jobs, hoping to be a delivery driver. The only job he was offered was as a meet and greeter just before Novembers lockdown. We both decided that maybe we’d cope without the money.

Not as low as she got after the breach

Then before Christmas came the news of the Aire and Calder breach. Fortunately plenty of people are keeping an eye on all the boats including Oleanna.

Blimey what a year!

So our vital statistics for the year 2020 according to canal plan are

Total distance is 792 miles, 2 ½ furlong and 339 locks . There are 82 moveable bridges of which 5 are usually left open; 233 small aqueducts or underbridges and 41 tunnels – a total of 19 miles 6 ¾ furlongs underground and 8 major aqueducts.

This is made up of 365 miles, ¼ furlongs of narrow canals; 242 miles, 4 ¾ furlongs of broad canals; 81 miles, 3 ¾ furlongs of commercial waterways; 76 miles, 1 ¾ furlongs of small rivers; 0 miles of large rivers; 27 miles of tidal rivers; 202 narrow locks; 118 broad locks; 18 large locks; 1 lock on major waterways.

Sadly with Oleanna’s log book where it should be, onboard, I’m not able to offer up the engine hours, litres of diesel, gas bottle or bags of coal. This year I can’t even work out how many boxes of wine we’ve gone through!

However I can tell you that from one page of journeys on our trip computer, missing out all the journeys in between the start of the page and the end, the total distance travelled would have been 2.25 furlongs. Instead it actually amounted to 56 miles 7.5 furlongs with 19 winds (turning around). This was of course in Lockdown 1. Grand total number of winds this year, 67.

Christmas Day 2020, Scarborough Spa

Here’s hoping that the pandemic calms down, we all get vaccinated and the breach on the Aire and Calder gets sorted so that we can go boating again. After all we didn’t plan to move back on land permanently!

Not a bad view