Our original plans for January were to return to the boat between two dental appointments. Rail strikes made that look a little optimistic, but the final blow was dealt by the Canal and River Trust (CRT). Every winter, CRT issue a list of closures so that they can do maintenance on locks and other parts of the canal. We knew there were closures until mid-March planned at the first lock to the east of our mooring spot. In December, CRT announced emergency work on a lock just to the west for most of January. This gives us about half a mile of canal to play with, and nowhere to turn the boat except the junction to the arm where we are berthed.
If that wasn’t enough to deter us joining the boat in January, we’d also be unable to purchase any diesel. When we are aboard, we need that to keep the inside warm. The half-full tank might have been enough to do that, but we also need to be sure we have enough to get us to the next place we can buy fuel too! So we are sticking around in Edinburgh until the end of this month at least.
Planning trips to work around the weather has been a bit more of a challenge than it sometimes is. The cold weather has given way to changeable showery conditions. Pouncing on opportunities has allowed me to get my mileage up a bit on what I managed in December, though. Taking the long way round with Kenny on the way to an afternoon event was a good start to the year.
A trip out with Ewan and Sally last week didn’t go to plan. Ewan called off with a sore leg, so Sally and I set off without him. We took the train to Linlithgow and headed up the hill to Beecraigs. There was an enormous flood across the road at one stage. We let a van go ahead of us and watched the depth before we went through ourselves. As we emerged unscathed, Sally’s bike started making a rubbing noise. We pressed on for a bit before investigating. On the second good look, we realised that the rim of her rear wheel was fracturing – cycling further on it looked pretty risky. We walked the rest of the way to the cafe and made plans as we ate. We identified a path to allow Sally to walk back to the station avoiding the giant puddle.
Meanwhile I continued my planned route. I’m not a great fan of cycling alone, but this route was downwind, predominantly downhill and, most importantly, would take me home. I enjoyed the ride, including another enormous puddle at the back of Edinburgh Airport. This one did not have a white van as a gauge, but I got through without getting wet feet.
At the weekend I was out with Kenny again. The roads were still wet but we didn’t find anything that gave us pause for thought. Our route was alongside the River Devon for much of its length.
Even a short stroll from the house yesterday required us to dodge water in places we often walk. Luckily we had opted to approach Blackford Pond from a different angle to our usual. The path we usually walk along was more suitable for ducks than us.
Our plans for the next few months might include the River Avon, so I have signed up for alerts. Today I was warned that one stretch of the river has reached FLOODCON 2 – the second highest alert. At levels other than 5 (normal) the advice is to tie up at a flood-safe mooring. At 3, you should only leave the boat in wellies. At 2 you’ll need a 4×4, and at 1 you need a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) – you can only leave your boat by boat! Staying in Edinburgh doesn’t seem that great a hardship.