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To risk is to live!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

The great lone cruise

I have been and gone and come back again with the boat, Bonny and I just about in one piece!
We had 14 days to go wherever we liked and do what ever occurred to us at the time – my sort of holiday! The weather was variable as you would expect in autumn so I managed a little sunbathing, a little puddle jumping and quite a lot of wind!
In fact there were a couple of days when gales hit us. I knew they were coming so I moored up safely – or so I thought. I had moored in the woods where there was some shelter, however I hadn’t taken into account a gap in the windbreak. Boats coming around the bend were reaching the gap and losing control of their bows as the wind struck them. The first this happened to was an old, laden working boat and as it’s bow swung, it hit my boat hard enough to empty my cupboards and scrape the paint back to the metal on my gunwales. He was towing a butty (a boat with no engine generally used for hauling a load) and it followed faithfully and also bounced off me. They were very apologetic and I was very gracious! Shortly after this two hire boats repeated the performance and so I had no choice but to move. It was blowing hard as I untied and hastily leapt on the boat before she took off on her own. I had to negotiate a lock before I could reach a mooring in the woods proper. There was nothing to tie to so I had the joy of trying to hammer in mooring pins whilst at the same time preventing my boat from blowing across the canal. I had a few blisters by the time I finally sat down with a restorative cup of tea.
There were many more enjoyable and less challenging moments and below are some photos of them, but there is something about surviving a potentially dangerous challenge that gives me such a huge buzz!
best photo of cruise
This is one of my better photos of a mooring spot. I am really enjoying having a decent camera at long last. (By the way if you click on a photo you can see it much bigger) My boat is in front of the red one (or behind depending on how you look at it!) The mooring is adjacent to Shugborough Hall at the junction of the Trent and Mersey with the Staffordshire and Worcester canal. You can just see Cannock Chase in the background. Isn’t it gorgeous? The red boat contained a couple with a very friendly spaniel – much to Bonny’s delight.
rare sunbathing!
This was one of the rare really sunny days and Bonny and I took advantage of a bit of sunbathing! The mooring was near Weston on the way to Stone. There was just enough room for one boat to moor – my sort of mooring as, given the choice, I prefer solitude to neighbours.

gales at woodend
The photo really doesn’t do it justice but this was the scene of my frightening encounter with a gale and a working boat. The trees were waving about all over the place but you can’t really tell from the photo.

interesting cruising weather
Another interesting weather day. This was taken on the Staffs and Worcester near Penkridge. The promise was kept though as the next day was lovely.

fast flowing trent
The River Trent tracked us for a lot of our trip. The river is, at this point in its life, shallow and fast flowing and very beautiful. More photos and anecdotes to follow. I’ll leave you with sunset over the Trent…

sunset in paradise

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