Spring must be round the next corner- surely

Friday, 12 March 2010

We have snowdrops and crocuses out at home but no daffodils yet so a trip to the boat was required to get her ready for our spring cruise.

Unfortunately on arrival we found that the canal is still very much in winter mode - frozen over with a cold wind.

Anne and I went up last Sunday as we needed to replace the domestic battery bank.The builder fiitted 4 -Elecsol 125ah batteries 6 years ago. They have performed very well but started to give trouble when we were on the Thames last July in that they required to be charged for 6/7 hours to reach on 97%. The space where they are is above the swim at the stern as is very tight. I therefore decided to keep to the same and hunted around the internet. The cheapest price was direct from Elecsol at £125 each delivered.

The job was done on Monday by Dickie in the marina and the ice cleared from the canal on Tuesday. A window for a shake down cruise - at trip into Braunston with an over night stop at bridge 103 to test out the batteries. Everything was working OK with the new bank only reducing 20% during our 15 hour stop. The canal remained clear of ice until the Thursday morning but we had returned Wednesday afternoon- it had dropped to minus 5 overnight.

We had turned outside Braunston for a lunch stop and warm around the fire and spotted this very interesting narrow boat. Its nb Sickle with a fascinating history. It was built in a batch of 8 pairs ( motor and butty) by W J Yarwood of Northwich in 1935/36 with a V bottom for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Co (GUCCC). During the war the Ministry of War shortened 4 of them for use as ice breakers. Sickle has now been restored to her 1950's condition. Full history can be found on her website.

The entrance to Braunston marina with the ex FMC nb Vulcan's bow and the wharf seen through the iron foot bridge.