Tuesday 15 August 2023

Out of the water - end of trip

Densie being carried to the engineering wharf.

The Hole

We were up early at 7 am to fill the car with the clothes, food etc we need to take home from the boat and empty the waste tank in preparation for Densie to be taken to the engineering wharf for repair.

The second picture shows The Hole after the patch was removed.  The white stuff is the adhesive from the tape used to cover the hole.



Sunday 13 August 2023

Back in the marina


Densie back home

The patched hole

Our concern yesterday was about the winds due today making mooring difficult.  So after dinner when conditions were calm we started to make a quick cruise home at 7pm.  However as the dusk turned duskier we moored up again and waited for the morning.

This morning we set off at 7am before breakfast and were able to get to our berth by 8am just as the wind began to increase followed later by a drizzly shower.

The next step is for Densie to be lifted out of the water.  This is planned for Tuesday and so tomorrow we will need to make detailed arrangements and clear the boat.  The next report will be on Tuesday when I hope to have pictures of the lift-out and possibly of the hole after the patch has been removed.

Weather: blustery, showery

2.39 miles, 55 minutes cruising

Total journey statistics

73.66 miles 126 locks 54.5 hours cruising in 16 days
average lock-miles: 3.66 lm/hour
average cruising time 3.41 hours/day

Saturday 12 August 2023

Nearly Home

Today we were prepared for some hard work, as we had to ascend the 2 locks at Long Itchington followed by the 8 lock Stockton flight and with a push we could hve been able to complete the 3 Calcutt locks as well. How far we would be able to get would also depend on the forecast rain.   However it all worked out far better than we could have hoped for.

We set off early at 8:35. Fortunately the first lock was aleady in our favour and once we had entered another boat turned up and we worked through both Long Itchington locks together. The other boat then stopped for water but a further boat, Slimline Tonic, joined us and together we worked though all 8 Stockton Locks helped very much by a CRT volunteer lack-keeper who walked on ahead of us to ensure every lock was open when we arrived.

After completing the Stockton flight Slimline Tonic left us to find some diesel.  We carried on up the 3  Calcutt Locks.  Again all the locks were in our favour being set by boats coming down.

We stopped at 12:30 having ascended 13 locks and cruised for 4.7 miles in just under 4 hours. We would have considered that a very fast speed even if we had not needed to travel cautiously. 

But our day was not over. By 3pm we realised that the very gusty winds forecast for the time we planned to enter our marina could cause real problems.  So we off again reaching the North Oxford Canal beyond Braunston at 17:15 after about 2 hours of lock free cruising.  Fortunately the forecast rain never materialised. 

Weather: some sunshine, but cloudy later on.  No rain.

10.1 miles, 13 locks, 6 hours 10 minutes cruising.

Friday 11 August 2023

Long Itchington

 Set off at 9:25 in bright weather.  We ascended the first lock on our own and were joined at the second by another boat.  They were happy to accept our careful approach and we stayed together for a total of 8 locks including the 2 lock staircase at Bascote.  All the locks  operated without any excess splashing or turbulence, which was a pleasant relief.

We parted company when we moored up at Long Itchington for lunch.  The next task is to climb the 10 stockton locks but we thought there was not enough time to complete them before late afternoon so we will leave that until tomorrow morning.

We continue to remove water from the cabin bilges but the amounts now are very small.

Weather: bright and ewarm with sunny perionds

4.38 miles, 9 locks, 3 hours 30 minutes

Thursday 10 August 2023

Drying out as we leave Warwick

 Yesterday’s meal at the Cape of Good Hope in Warwick was very tasty as were the local draught beers. We would highly recommend the pub.

After writing yesterday’s blog the water seepages we hoped were minor turned out to be very worrying. This morning we were able to determine that the water was coming from the small amount of bilge space below the wood flooring which is mostly filled with ballast of concrete blocks.  After taking out a couple of these blocks from an accessible area below the bed the space was completely replaced by water which was easily removed with hand pump and sponges.

After perhaps 90 minutes work the water is down to a quarter of its previous level and areas of the boat which had been damp ever since the water leak was found last Friday are drying out.

Between sessions of water removal we moved the boat in hot sunny weather from near the Cape of Good Hope, down the two Cape locks and on to Tesco  at Leamington Spa.  There we stocked up with groceries.  After lunch on the boat we continued our journey out of Leamington and up the large ascending Radford Bottom Lock.  This lock was worked slowly and carefully as we were concerned that swirling waters could cause further leaks from the patched hole in the front of the boat.  The ascent went smoothly and we moored up for the night  at 16:10.

Weather hot with blue skies

5.40 miles. 3 locks, 3 hours 30 minutes

Wednesday 9 August 2023


Densie in Hatton flight

View down the flight

We left Hatton at 8:50.  The weather was sunny, dry and warm, at last! On reaching the top of Hatton locks we half filled our water tank, not wishing to put too much weight in the front of the boat in case the hole got close to water level.

Then began the descent of the 21 large Hatton locks.  A CRT volunteer lock keeper offered to help us down the full flight and of course we gratefully accepted. He and two corporate volunteers ensured that every lock was set ready for us to enter and all we had to do was to lower the paddles and close the gates when we we left.  Many thanks to all involved.

A mile further on we moored in Warwick for the night at 13:45 near to the Cape of Good Hope pub which we plan to visit tonight.

Until this afternoon we thought our water leak problems were all fixed and the wet wood was drying out sufficiently until we can get the boat back to our marina.  However we were disappointed to find further evidence that a small amount of water was seeping into the cabin.  Hopefully this is just water in the bilges being disturbed as the boat moved around in the locks.

Weather: Warm, dry and sunny
3.91 miles, 21 locks, 4 hours 55 minutes.

Tuesday 8 August 2023

Visit Stratford Upon Avon

 Today we should have descended the 21 Hatton locks.  But since the weather forecast showed rain for much of the day we decided to visit Stratford upon Avon by train instead.

We moved the boat a short distance further on to Hatton railway station in time for the 2-hourly train to Stratford at 9:50. The problem then was how to buy a ticket.  The station is unmanned and the only way of buying a ticket there appeared to be a very old coin operated machine with a label indicating that "new" coins would not be accepted! Not having £12 in old coins the only way of avoiding a £100 penalty for travelling without a ticket was to use the online facilities of Chiltern Railways.  We finally sorted out how to do this whilst sitting in the train as it left the station.

When we arrived in Stratford the weather was grey and drizzly.  The town centre is uninspiring with many charity shops, restaurants/cafes and "attractions" for the tourists though the tourist information centre is some distance away near the river.

We were able to buy some herbs for our dinner recipes at a Tesco Express but were unsuccessful in finding suitable glasses to replace those broken in our crash although we did try most of the charity shops. Also we visited Bancroft Basin where we would have been moored had it not been necessary to return home. After 2 hours wandering around the town we called it a day and caught the 12:33 train back to Hatton and returned to the boat. The rain continued for much of the afternoon.

Weather: Damp

1.41 miles, 40 minutes cruising