Thursday, 21 January 2010

Ice Breaking

Ice Breaking
January 2010

This time last year I rather unwisely took Wand'ring Bark out for a winter wander with my brother. Not that going our with my brother is an any way unwise - he is a lovely chap!

Breaking ice which is way too thick! Jan 2009

This 2009 trip was during a particularly cold spell and, whilst the marina was well and truly frozen over, the cut seemed clear so we broke our way out. What I hadn't appreciated was the thawing effect of the water running in from the old Hatherton Canal. This flow which represents the bulk of the effluent of Cannock, keeps the junction clear of ice which it was over an inch thick elsewhere and barely penetrable.

Forced into the towpath by the ice  Jan 2009

Hovever, we had started so we had to press on to a winding hole a mile distant, which took the better part of an hour to reach. By the time we got back the bows had been scoured to spotlessly clean steel and the annodes surgically removed as well. This didn't worry me too much as WB was due for reblacking a couple of months later, but I vowed "never again".

Roll on Christmas 2009 and once again you find me hurling sticks at a layer of ice and guessing how much there would be on the way to Coven. The small projectiles penetrated the thin film, so I decided to have a crack at it, so to speak. Thankfully another boat beat me to it, breaking a path through the short sections which were iced from bank to bank.

In the event the trip was magical, with thin brash ice tinkling from the bows and the hugely entertaining sight of ducks making vain attempts to clamber onto the surface.

It looks like we are set for a 'proper' winter this year so I suspect that the newly applied blacking will be in for a bit more punishment before the spring arrives.


Anonymous said...

We have a very brief video of Indigo Dream breaking the ice last year - there is a certain magic to it, the noise, the man against nature struggle etc etc :-)

When we broke through some thin ice earlier this year our guests at the front whooped with excitement! In 2009, random strangers ran down the towpath taking photos of ID scattering chunks of ice.

Dancing on ice? Much better to 'barge' straight through it!

Sue, Indigo Dream

ps. our blacking survived ok but the ice on the GU was much thinner last year I think.

Captain Ahab said...

Last years experience got a bit scary. The boat was juddering from side to side like something demented and it became near impossible to steer.
Thin ice is fun but I plan to give heavy ice a miss if I can avoid it in future.