Sunday 25 March 2012


The boating season started properly (if a bit foggily) this weekend.

We made an early start on Saturday and meandered our way through the cold, fizzing waters of the Rivers Calder & Aire; these rivers are well known for their effervescence when the water level drops and the pressure on the river bed reduces - allowing methane to escape.

As ever, the Yorkshire waters were busy with commercial shipping: we passed Humber Pride at Castleford.

A short pause was needed to clean some water out of the diesel system. We had been warned that condensation can build up over winter in an empty fuel tank - but we couldn't afford to fill the tank. It was a bit alarming when your engine starts to sound like an unhappy bag of spanners while you approach the tidal Ouse, and when it died completely the panic caused a complete mental shut-down.

However, last winter's diesel maintenance course was money well spent. A methodical, if slightly inexpert, work through the fuel system eventually found the cause: the water trap in the fuel filter was full of water. Funny that. We were soon underway again, with an air of relief and a scent of diesel.

We made it past the speedboats at Beal and on to the beautiful, but disappointingly short, Selby Canal, just in time for the sun and canoeists to break out. As ever, the kingfishers were hard at work. They are far too fast to catch with a camera, but breathtaking to see in action.

Then another early start to catch the tide on the River Ouse - this time in an icy fog with visibility of just three boat lengths. On the final bends into Naburn, though, the mist broke, the sky turned blue and the woollens were consigned to the lockers.

Best of all was the sighting of a pair of porpoises on the Ouse near Acaster Malbis - following the salmon, no doubt. Beautiful, very surprising, and yet another reason why boating is brilliant.

The fun has started.

Saturday 10 March 2012


"If something isn't broken on your narrowboat, it's about to."

This weekend, it's the fridge.

Here's hoping it's not the compressor. That's a few hundred quid... With any luck, it's a minor electrical fault. Time for another climb up the learning curve...