Friday, 6 February 2015

A review of 2014

Hi There

I've been meaning to get around to doing a review of our 2014 travels so here we go.

Firstly, our colour coded map of the waterway network with blue showing our travels in 2014. (Yellow = 2015, Green = 2013 and Pink= 2012)

We started off the year north of Wigan on The Leeds and Liverpool Canal and headed east with the intention of doing some of the north-eastern waterways. That was until we got to Burnley where a wall had collapsed into the canal and it had been blocked off and drained whilst the work to sort it was underway. Faced with the choice of waiting for a month for the canal to reopen, we decided to backtrack and our journey for the rest of the year went as follows:

Down the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, onto The Bridgewater Canal then down The Trent and Mersey Canal, cut across The Middlewhich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal and then down The Shropshire Union Canal, east along The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and back onto The Trent and Mersey Canal to the end of it before doubling back to go down The Coventry Canal taking in The Ashby Canal on the way past then onto The North Oxford Canal cutting across a section of The Grand Union Canal before heading down as far as Oxford on the South Oxford Canal, then backtraking back up it to connect again with The Grand Union Canal and headed north then west up the Stratford and Avon Canal towards Birmingham and then, finally, down The Worcester and Birmingham Canal to Alvechurch where we moored up Badger Sett whilst we went back home to Jersey for Christmas.

So putting the above into some sort of context, it took us 307 days to cover the 630 miles and 341 locks. The journey took us 322 hours, so roughly one hours travelling a day at about 2mph. Our general cruising hours pretty much covered our electricity needs (charging up the batteries) as our solar panels looked after the rest with us only clocking up 27 hours of running the engine throughout the year to specifically charge up the batteries. Our solar panel setup cost us a little over £2,000 in January 2013, but will have paid for itself during the course of this year.

As to some other utilities, we emptied our cassette toilet 84 times, filled up with water 74 times, went through 5 bottles of gas and 34 bags of coal.

The rest of this post is a little easier as its just a selection of photos from 2014.

Who says I'm not a caring husband, I brought Nicky a washing machine didn't I?

Our wood store for the winter.

Bink's, one of The Boys on Tour, aka our travelling companions.

Trying to get a group shot with The Boys took some time.

The aforementioned collapsed wall and drained canal.

One of Nicky's sunsets.

My attempt at French bread.

Benji, the other Boy on tour with us.

Yup, another Nicky sunset and believe me there are many many more, but I've left it to two in this selection of photos.

All in a flap.

Nicky's attempt at Brioche (much better than my French bread)

The windmill near Napton junction on the South Oxford Canal.

Whose for the stocks then?

Okay, one more sunset, but the last one, honest.

Hitching a lift.

Last play of the day for The Boys.

Our solar panels, wouldn't be without them, could do with one more.

Back from a walk.

Chilly out, but worth the early morning walk.

At the top of the Ashby Canal.

And that pretty much sums up 2014 for us.

As far as 2015 goes, we are currently just north of Worcester and heading down to Gloucester after which we will heading back up towards Birmingham as we plan to cover the network in and around The Midlands until about July/August way when we then hope to head up to the north-east again, baring of course any walls falling into canal obsticals!

And so in signing off,

Day 730 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 1409 miles, 796 locks and 740 cruising hours further on from when we started.