Friday, 4 July 2014

Foxton Locks Festival

21st and 22nd June we spent the weekend at Foxton locks festival. What a brilliantly organised event and a cracking pub at bridge 61. We left Debdale Wharf marina at about 4.30 and boated down to the bottom of the locks, a 20 minute wait gave us time for a swift pint before boating up the locks, Foxton was strangely deserted.

Once at the top the organisers had reserved us a brilliant mooring right next to two trading boats one selling cheese and the other icecream..... Happy days! We were jioned for the weekend by a couple of friends who thoroughly enjoyed the experience and appear to have the boating bug. Left around 2 on the Sunday to boat down to North Kilworth, I think we've now got the prop about right. Too much beer and a fair bit of sunburn but a great weekend.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Prop change Debdale

We've been struggling with Bison being a bit over propped so decided to take the opportunity to get Bison hauled out and get the prop re-pitched. it's a bit un-nerving seeing your boat dangling in the air.

Prop change was completed in a day, I just hope we've got it right this time.

Summer tour first leg Kegworth to Debdale Wharf

After plenty of spring and winter cruising we have planned to do a tour of the summer historic boat festivals starting with Foxton Locks, then Braunston and finally Audlem festival of transort. Due to family comittments the first leg was done singlehanded, pretty much my first time doing any distance singlehanded. Friday 6th June arrived at the boat around 7pm  and set off heading towards Loughborough, passed Mark on Callisto coming down through Loughborough town lock and made it through to Pillings lock in the dark, at least I now know that the headlamp works!

Saturday morning 5am start and I make it through to Birstall before the rain starts, the river is pretty high but just out of the red, Bison is quite at home forging upstream. After a couple of hour break to let the rain clear I continue up through Leicester which is not one of the nicest canal cities up toward the space centre where the river is definitely in the red. Very few boats moving but we're through the worst of it and pass through onto the canal without incident. It's clear that there has been very little trafic as the canal is crystal clear and you can see the bottom. With the chance of making Kilsby Bridge I forge on to complete a mamoth days boating arriving about 8.30pm. England are playing their warm up match but I get chatting to another boater and gran a few well earned pints.

Not so early start on the Sunday but I push on to get to Debdale. Enjoyed the singlehanded boating and managed to get pretty efficient with no real problems. After a tiring couple of days I jump on the bike and cycle to Market Harborough, jump on the train to East Midlands parkway before driving home for a barbecue with friends.

38 miles and 38 locks

Monday, 23 June 2014

Time to go

25th October 2013, well we're sort of finished... ish. Winter stoppages start on the Coventry canal on the 4th November so it's now or never if we want to get back. Engine bought sight unseen after been stored in a  barn in Sweeden for 15 years, total running hours around 5 since installation in the boat. After a bit of messing about on the Saturday morning we reverse out of the arm and head towards Braunston. A brief pause at the top of the locks, bottle of Newcastle Brown for the boat and a swift Stella for Clare and I and we're off! Engine smoking like buggary but a swift thrash down the straight to Calcutt seems to help considerably. Apart from the throttle lever falling off just before Braunston the old girl did us proud. Great memories of a lost afternoon in the Swan at Fradley chatting to Rick off Auriga, all in all a pretty satisfying run back to our permanent mooring on the Soar at Kegworth

Bison at Willington

Pretty much ready to go

Bison taken in September 2013 she is pretty much ready to go aside from a banging from the gearbox, further investigation revealed that the clutch plates were covered in grease. After a good clean everything was looking good to leave.

Decoration and signwriting by Dave Moore

Painting while in the paint dock at Stockton

Bison was painted April 2013, we decided to go with the FMC black and white livery as this livery would have been used when she was first launced in December 1923.

I did a pretty rubbish job at keeping a blog

Bison was finally finished in October 2013 after about 30 months of fairtly hard graft. There are still sone jobs to do but I have posted some photos below, these were taken around the summer of 2012 as the steelwork was approaching completion.