Market Harborough to Foxton 5.15 miles travelled in 4 hours.
Today was the day to get underway again. With the temperature rising, the ice has begun to melt, so we thought it was time to make a move, but before we made a move I wanted to fill the water tank, so connected the hose to the water tap near the boat. Whilst the water tank was filling, Keith started Hadar's engine to get it nice and warm before we set off. The water taps along the towpath are so slow, that after almost three quarters of an hour there was no sign of the tank being full, so we decided to stop filling, we could top up at the top of the Foxton Locks, where we know they are quicker.
Having been stuck for 2 weeks, it was nice to get underway again, we winded in the basin, pulled into the sanitary station to empty the toilet cassette and get rid of rubbish. We said our goodbyes to boating friends, Jo and John on NB Acen and Viv and David on NB First Fruits. We will probably not see them again until October.
The ice was about 2" thick to begin with in places, it would then drop down to 1" thick, so plain sailing for the first few hundred metres, then the 3" thick ice kicked in as we approached Bridge 14 near the Old Union Canal Society Moorings, but Hadar was coping very well with the ice, the only problem was the bends, where it took us a couple of goes to get around them, because 70" boats do not bend in the middle.
There is something very magical about crunching through the ice in glorious sunshine. I bet there will be some reading this posting and thinking you are mad. But hey we could move so we did. There will be others reading this and asking what about your blacking? Its paint, it can be replaced and will be next Spring. I know that some people are very precious about their blacking and that is their prerogative, but it will not stop us moving in the ice. I read a posting on Maffi's blog yesterday, about how two hire boats were out on the Oxford and they got threatened and verbally abused. It is not acceptable boating behaviour to abuse other canal users. If the hire company felt it was alright for the boats to move in the ice then so be it. We are continuous cruisers and will cruise in any weather if we can.
Whilst on the move, I kept the coffee flowing, I also heated up some Sausage Rolls to keep us topped up. It was not particularly cold, I was only in a jump and a waistcoat. The wildlife was out and about, we saw a couple of Squirrels playing chase up and down a pine tree, a long Kestrel hovering over a field looking for some lunch and the ducks were very happy we were breaking the ice for them, so they could move more freely.
The ice looked amazing with it double layer. The first layer being the ice and on top frozen snow, which contained hundreds upon hundreds of air bubble, it really did look amazing. We made it to Foxton Village and I stepped off of the boat to work the swing bridge which was a little stiff, so I had to work to get the darn thing open. Keith moved through and picked me up at Black Horse Bridge. We moored up before the Foxton Locks swing bridge, with a view to taking on diesel at Debdale in the morning, before heading up the locks.
All moored up, I made us some soup and rolls for lunch. After lunch Keith went to make sure the locks would be open in the morning for us to move, which they will be. My phone rang and it was Debbie from the hire boat company in Market Harborough, she wanted to know how far we had got, as she had a hire boat which wanted to go out, so I told her our progress and she was going to inform the couple of the hire boat that they could follow our trail. I am sure they will be glad to be out and about, after all they have paid for a boating holiday, not a sitting in the basin holiday. A knocking on the engine room door, set Paddy a barking. It was Paul from Waterway Routes, he is out and about taking photographs and gathering information for his website and DVD's. It is always lovely to see him and to have a quick chat. He was then on his way to Market Harborough.
So that has been our day so far. We have a good TV signal, so lots to watch later on. I now have to think about dinner tonight.