No Direction

No Direction is our 70ft Narrowboat which is now home to my wife Jayne and myself, it was launched on 4th February 2008.

We spend the Winters in a Marina and cruise in the warmer weather.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Boating in Cold Weather, No Thanks.

Other boaters tell me, and I read on other blog sites about the joys of Winter cruising, no crowds, plenty of mooring space, beautiful views on frosty mornings, nice and snug with the fire going, so, why are we not cold weather boaters ?.

I have just returned from cycling to Alrewas to get a loaf and newspaper, its about 4 miles along the Towpath from Kings Bromley, I passed a couple of hardy winter cruisers, big thick jacket, gloves, balaclava with a red nose poking out, I don't know if they were enjoying it or not, I hope they were.

I don't think it's the actual cold that puts me off after all I spent 30 years working in cold damp garage workshops, I commuted by bicycle for 10 years in all weathers and enjoyed it, but both of these required physical effort which kept me warm, standing on the back of a Narrowboat requires next to no effort and I get cold, an hour or so steering and then inside is OK but on 3 occasions when I have needed to meet a boating deadline in winter I have been frozen, so perhaps these experiences have put me off winter cruising for life. 

Last January we decided that we would have a Pram Hood fitted to the rear of No Direction, this involved 2 trips from Kings Bromley Marina to Staffs Canopies  at Milford Wharf on the Staffs and Worcester Canal, the first visit was to have the tubular framework fitted and templates cut, the second was to have the cover fitted, Jayne ducked out of the first visit so I was single handed, the 3 locks on route helped a bit but after the 13 mile trip I was very cold, on the second trip Jayne was onboard so at least I was kept supplied with tea and soup but still froze.

Tim Salt from Staffs Canopies fits the hood.

Staffs Canopies haven't got a website so call 07730614227 or 07761432092

We always said we would never have one of these but now wouldn't be without it.

The other time I froze was in February 2008 when we needed to get our old Narrowboat April Rose from Kings Bromley to Wigrams Turn Marina for it to be sold on brokerage, strangely enough Jayne ducked this one as well so I was accompanied by Phillip who I used to work with, we planned was to leave Kings Bromley early on Friday and be at Wigrams on the Sunday so that Jayne could pick us up in her car.

The deal was that Phil would have a days holiday to help, in return I would pay for all food and drink, we got to the Anchor Inn at Hartshill on Friday night, I very cold, Phil had just worked the 11 Atherstone Locks so was OK, Saturday morning there was a very thin sheet of ice on the cut, that day we took it in turns to steer for an hour while the other thawed out by the fire.

Saturday night we arrived at Braunston in the dark, the only space available was by a sign which said "No Mooring", pretended not to see it and sprinted up to the The Old Plough

Sunday was sunny, problem was we were frozen in, with Phil on the front with the pole breaking the ice we managed to get to the entrance to Braunston marina where we could wind (turn around) a maneuver easier said that done in ice, as we passed the moored boats at 9 o'clock on a Sunday morning pushing sheets of ice into them and making an awful noise some very angry faces appeared at their windows, it's a good job I can't lip read.

So we will leave the Winter cruising to those who enjoy it and keep out of their way, call us Butterfly Boaters, we only come out in the Sun.

Mountain Biking up on High Street, Lake District 2009, the cold doesn't bother me cycling.

View from the top, worth the effort.

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