Thursday 30 July 2009

Blog Catchup

In this posting I hope to summarise all that has happened over the last year up to the creation of the blog and include a few of the photographs of our cruises before we take a more regular approach to our new blogging.

Sheffield to Great Haywood

Our first trip on the boat was quite exciting and I think our ignorance to the dangers of tidal waters made for a less stressful approach to our foray from Sheffield and onto the Trent at Keadby stopping at West Stockwith, and Torksey on the way to Cromwell. We travelled the tidal section on very high spring tide.

Sat in Keadby Lock waiting for the tide on the Trent

The Trent - Travelling on a spring tide.

Our boatbuilder, in the true sense of the word had been working up until our departure from Sheffield. (And continued to meet up along the way with finishing touches etc.) . It was the last minute 'fast track' construction that resulted in the lack of an official paper licence arriving in the post before our departure bringing about questioning, and cross questioning, by every lock keeper between Keadby and Newark! Something Elaine and I were getting really aggrieved about. Really - would someone who has just spent a fortune on a boat really deliberately skimp on the cost of licence! Other than this the trip was a real pleasure. We met many new friends on the way - notably Bernard and Diane on 'Arthur Crossland' from Skipton who we paired up with on many sections of the journey.

Joined by our parents for the naming ceremony just outside Lincoln.

The trip took 12 days and although it was early May 2008 the weather was fantastic - (yes in the UK!)

Four Counties Ring

Later in the year we did the 4 counties ring (clockwise). A trip we had made previously (anticlockwise) in hire boats.

Tixall Lock

Rescued Field Mouse - getting it's breath back!

The cruise went without any notable incidents apart from our first canal rescue - a whole family of field mice who had fallen into the canal. Some needed rescuing twice as they seemed to have a strange fascination for falling off the bank into the cut.

The weather was kind for the majority of the week which made for a pleasant trip.

A Trip Down to Kinver.

This was a week when the weather fought back! Rain, rain and more rain! (Rather like our British Summer)

A Trip Down to Coventry.

Another week of mixed weather and great cruising. Unfortunately unable to moor in Coventry basin the day (or evening) we arrived and were forced to moor outside the perceived security of the basin. Nevertheless we didn't encounter any problems other than a poly bag or two around the prop and a 'scum-line' around the gunwales where the mucky and oily water of the Coventry Arm stuck to the boat blacking.

On the way down to Coventry we couldn't avoid the photo opportunity provided by one of BWs new bollards. This photo was later published in Waterways World under the 'golden bollard section'.

The Severn and Avon Trip

This year we took a fortnight off work to explore further afield. Travelling down to Stourport onto the Severn down to Tewksbury and up the Avon to Stratford. Returning to Great Haywood via Braunston and the Oxford Canal. For this trip we recognised that a 'pram hood' was our only chance of beating the weather so we had Wilsons of Kinver fit the hood before we left. Although the hood rather spoils the look of the boat it is a real pleasure to cruise on a wet day and it seems to have the opposite effect on the prevailing weather than that of lighting a of a BBQ on a sunny day; and has so far kept the majority of the rain clouds away. It also provides an extra usable space on the boat.

Escapology on the Caldon Canal with new hood in position!

The Caldon Canal (incl. Leek Branch)

Our most recent cruise was up the Caldon to Froghall (at least this side of the tunnel) and up the Leek Branch. Again, a great trip greatly assisted by the hood.

Wednesday 29 July 2009


A brief introduction to our boat;
'Escapology' is a 58foot semi-trad narrowboat, custom built in 2008 by Jonathan Wilson and Tim Tyler and fitted out in oak by Anthony M (Tony Walker) in Sheffield.
She has now been in the water since 1st May 2008 and after her maiden cruise down from Sheffield she has been moored at Great Haywood Marina except when we are out enjoying the canals.
The boat is primarily designed as a comfortable two birth (the clue to the theory behind this is in the boat name) however she is capable of being easily converted to accommodate 4 with a quick dinette shuffle if required.

We hope to be able to keep the blog up to date with the latest cruises and activities to keep friends, family and fellow boaters entertained.