The weather had been awful all week to the point that many areas had suffered flash floods. We knew we’d have to visit the boat at the weekend to check she was still dry and likely slacken the mooring lines. Little did we know it would turn into such an unexpected weekend.
Sat in the office on Friday morning people were talking about the forecast for the weekend being so good. The weather had been a common topic all week and looking out of the window at the hail storm currently giving us a pounding you could see why. Nevertheless I checked the met office application on the phone and was surprised to see bright sunshine symbols predicting good weather over the weekend.
By the time October arrives you have to make the most of the good weekends as they tend to be few and far between so I phoned the crew and told her to pack for the weekend. I finished work at lunchtime and we drove to the marina. The plan was to spend Friday night on board to get an early start on Saturday and make the most of the promised sunshine.
Arriving at the marina I was pleased to see that some kind soul had already slackened our ropes for us and the canal did look as high as I’d ever seen it before. Unfortunately this was probably done by the same person tasked with power washing the jetties who had also managed to blast off paint from one of our rubbing stakes. Another job added to this winter’s to-do list.
We moved across the basin to tie up outside the Canal Turn Pub and I enjoyed an afternoon fishing until the heavens opened once again forcing us to close up the boat and hibernate. The rain lifted long enough for us to walk into town for an enjoyable chippy tea before the sun set and the cold night air forced us inside. At this point it was hard to imagine things improving very much as thunder and lightning lit up the sky. We were considering abandoning the trip but once we lit the fire the boat soon became snug and we even forsook the visit to the pub and opened a bottle and watched TV instead.
Saturday morning was glorious. It was still chilly but the sun shone, the clouds had disappeared and the air was still. We set off and motored at a very sedate pace up to the terminus at Tewitfield. The canal is taking on its autumnal hues and the trip was a delight. We never saw another moving boat and practically had our pick of moorings when we arrived in time for a late lunch. The only boats we saw moving that day came later that afternoon when the weekend hire boats exited Tewitfield marina.
Once again we forsook the visit to the pub and opened a bottle and watched TV. But this time, instead of shutting out the night we had the pleasure of seeing the orange and red hues of a lovely sunset through the windows of the boat and we were so glad we hadn’t abandoned ship the previous evening.
Incredibly, Sunday was an even better day and as we say on the back of the boat enjoying our morning cuppa we watched a small colourful flotilla of canoes pass by and head off south. Our usual Sunday morning ritual at Tewitfield involves the Greenlands car boot sale and lunch at Wellies Café. But watching the canoes pass by made us itch to get moving and repeat the pleasures of the previous day.
We set off after the canoes but with the engine barely above tickover we didn’t catch up with them until they stopped beyond Kellet Lane just before Carnforth. The canal was like a millpond and the towpath busy with walkers, but still we only passed a couple of moving boats. We were entertained many times by the flashing iridescent blue streaks of the kingfishers as they darted along just an inch or so above the mirror like surface of the canal.
We reached Carnforth basin for lunch and moored up. The basin was busy with both people and boats coming in for a pub lunch or out of the marina for a day trip. After lunch we sought refuge at quieter mooring further down in Bolton-le-Sands for the rest of the afternoon before tagging onto the end of a returning convoy back to the marina after a most excellent and unexpected weekend.