The plan for today was to move far enough to charge up the batteries and put the boat somewhere easy for Rob from Ortomarine to access. We had a slow start to the day. Clare carried on with her knitting project. Meanwhile I fitted a piece of skirting board in the gap where the bookcase used to sit. It still needs painting, but it already looks much better than the pipes it hides.
We were just starting to think about setting off after lunch when Clare spotted a kingfisher in the bushes directly opposite her window. While we watched, it dived in to the canal and then flew back via a different branch. We couldn’t tell if it had caught anything. I still don’t have a good camera for this, but its the first time I’ve managed to get a photo where at least the colours are clearly visible.
We set off up the canal with Clare spending most of the time at the front of the boat hoping to see more kingfishers. We did get a glimpse of another.
At one point I heard splashing behind which turned out to be a canoeist catching us up. I tried to move to one side to let him pass. Unfortunately he misread the manoeuvre and tried to overtake only to realise that I had unintentionally cut him off. I apologised for breaking his rhythm, he was pleasant about it all and whooshed on. Later, when I saw him coming back, I gave a clear hand signal and he passed with a smile but no pause.
We passed under a bridge Clare had noticed in the other direction. The rendering is falling off – rather than fix the rendering, it has been clad in a net to catch the debris.
On the way through Dunhampstead Tunnel Clare stood at the front wearing a head torch. We didn’t meet anyone here, but we would have been clearly visible to an oncoming boat. We put all the cabin lights on which helped me see the walls as we went through.
We’ve moored up on visitor moorings labelled “24 Hour”. I’ve checked the Canal and River Trust (CRT) website though. It turns out that unless it says otherwise, these restrictions don’t apply between November and March. That’s good to know, I suspect we’ll make use of that knowledge a few times in the months ahead.
Other news from CRT is that some of the planned winter stoppages have been cancelled. We are still planning on getting to Marple for Christmas. We had expected to have to dawdle until the middle of December and then rush the last bit beyond the stoppages. The cancellations mean that our route is now unimpeded, so we can do it at whatever pace suits us.