Saturday, 10 November 2012

The last run of the season

High Offley to Calf Heath
4th and 5th November 2012

This trip is very bittersweet. On one hand a trip along the Shropshire Union in autumn is achingly beautiful, but on the other it represents the last significant outing of the boating season. Oh sure, there will be the odd day trip over the winter but past experience tells me that from mid November to mid February the boat will see little action beyond some concentrated maintenance work.

 Autumn light

High Onn church

But the maintenance work started on Sunday morning when I attended to the end of season oil change, always an unpleasant job due to the contortions I have to endure as I squeeze my 6ft 3in frame into the small confines of the engine bay beneath the cruiser stern. I can do it, but each year it seems to get harder.

Wheaton Aston lock

With rain lashing down all around us we were blessed by glorious weather, maybe a little frosty to start with but the sun shone forcing us into sunglasses as we peered into the glare.

Fellow Bloggers - No Problem and Chertsey

The Sunday start was a slow affair, starting with a cooked breakfast and then a walk up the the church in High Offley, eventually getting started at 12.30 when half the daylight was gone. But no matter, our destination was only Wheaton Aston, passing No Problem moored and empty awaiting some major TLC at Norbury Wharf.

Today was the day of Herons, stalking fish and winging silently in front of us.

A handful of Herons

Along the way we focused on Rosehips for Rosehip Cordial, picking from the many bushes which line the canal. There is no end to this plant, its everywhere but the trick it to fine a bush with large hips - it makes the topping and tailing so much easier.

We stopped on the visitor moorings and were treated to our very own firework display which we watched by simply drawing the curtains back.


The final run on Monday was as lovely as the preceding three days, with bright sun over ice coated puddles. Along the way we passed Chertsey / Bakewell but with no sign of Sarah who was probably up in Sheffield.

And so the trip ended with a shopping list of winter jobs to be completed, including the replacement of the mattress and more significantly, the replacement of the pump out loo with a cassette - we really are passing the Rubicon with that one!


Adam said...

Rather than a cassette, have you considered a composting loo? They are much neater than they used to be, and require much less, er, interaction, than a cassette. The Airhead seems to be the best one. If I was making the change, that's what I'd be doing.

Nb Duxllandyn said...

Interesting this 'toilet' thing with boaters. We purchased an almost new 60' semi trad two years ago and have struggled to come to terms with the cassette loo. Our boat is currently at Debdale having a pump out retrofitted so that we can keep a safe distance between us and our 'output'. The bottom line is that we have a Thetford C-200 with three cassettes available for sale. It's the version that plumbs into the boats water supply and has an manually operated electronic flush. Please let us know if this is of interest to you.

Mike and Marian
Nb Duxllandyn

PS We are leisure boaters, not liveaboards and so everything is lightly used!

Nick Holt said...

Utterly beautiful photos Captain! A lovely post that made me long for the waterway... Best wishes Nick

Anonymous said...

Take a look at the CRT website and the proposal put to the EU regarding driving licences for boaters, an MOT for boats and a ban on red diesel.
The CRT have also used one of your pics!
Brian Maxfield Norbury to Newport Canal Rewstoration CIC

Captain Ahab said...

Adam - its an interesting option but it dosn't pass Belle's aesthetic test - its all a bit victorian clinical.
Brian - I cant see it - but there are about 10 of my photos dotted around the site. Shame none are of the Newport and Shropshire. See you at Norbury in 2 weeks?

Captain Ahab said...

Mike and Marian - We are looking for the model with the porcelain bowl - I am assuming that the one you are taking out is plastic? Andy