Tag Archives: engine

The Long Journey Home – Part 3

The Long Journey Home – Part 3

Saturday 2 June 2018

Phew! It’s Hot in Here

The Long Journey Home – Part 3 saw us start the day after a great night’s sleep at Napton Bottom Lock , just before the Folly Bridge at between 08:30 and 09:00. We rose the 9 locks, passing through the quaint little (disused) wharf of Marston Doles to Napton Top Lock. Mu had to empty most of the locks as they ‘weren’t our way’ but a helpful team from the boat following us, helped out at some.

The Long and Winding…

Did I say the canal was twisting and winding in yesterday’s blog? I was mistaken, today’s stretch was twisting and winding – talk about The Long and Winding Road! At every turn was a bridge. At each bridge the canal narrows, so less water. Less water means less propulsion/lack of steering, so down to a crawl. It’s funny how you always meet another boat on a bend or at a bridge!

See the Sights

You see a few people on the towpath as you wend your way around the Oxford canal; runners, fishermen, dog walkers, cyclists, naked people…

Naked people!

There I was, minding my own narrowboat business when, in the distance I saw a man who looked naked. Was I hallucinating from the diesel fumes? Was it dehydration sickness? No, a man appeared with his shirt off but a backpack on and shorts. I said good morning, thinking nothing of it. A minute later I turned to check the flow from the tiller and lo and behold, the man was naked! He must have taken his shorts off once past us. I suppose it takes all sorts…

One thing, you won’t catch me trouser-less on Mirrless 🙂

We stopped for a break for lunch.

Long Journey Home - Part 3 - Roses Around the Door image
Roses Around the Door

Fenny Compton (no, it’s not a made up name)

After continuing on, we finally arrived at Compton Fenny and had to drive straight on by as it was moored to the hilt. We did manage to pull in at a Services Here point, hoping to top up with diesel and more importantly, get an ice cream but after pulling in, slowing up, pulling the boat on the centre line, mooring and getting the gunnel stuck under the lip of the path, we found it was closed 🙁

On and on past moored boat after moored boat until we eventually passed through a really narrow stretch of the canal. Again less water so slow progress but my helming skills were definitely getting better. We passed under our first swing bridge (cue that Big Band Sound…), literally an inch to spare on each side of the boat but straight through without touching the side.

Community Spirit

The sun was hot and we were tiring as we passed a community of Shepherd’s Huts and narrowboats at which point, the engine overheated – the engine water header tank had run dry!

We pulled in on the opposite bank to the narrowboats, mu holding the boat on the centre line whilst I got water into the tank. A concerned boater from the community across the bank shouted out that better moorings were to be found around the bend. I think concern for their boats with some ‘newbie’ pulling up, clogging up the canal may have been uppermost in his mind. However, once we’d explained “We’re overheating!” he couldn’t have been more helpful. The engine had only used a little bit of oil but we didn’t have any so he insisted on providing some. A second liveaboard shouted over

“Oil? I’ve got oil. How much do you need?”

The two put together and provided a quart of oil to bring the dipstick (not me) back up to the maximum line, after we’d punted across the canal and moored by centreline to Bill’s boat.

Ian, Bill and Jane were legends. After about twenty minutes had passed I restarted the engine and all was cool, literally. The oil pressure temperature gauge was where it should be and the water temperature gauge was showing cool. We cautiously pulled off, waving thanks to the generosity of decent people who selflessly helped us in our time of need, our faith in human nature restored and BMC engines.

We passed two moored boats and pulled in just beyond bridge 143. Another idyllic setting. All you could hear was the sound of the birds (but not in a Hitchcock sense). This time we used mooring pins for the first time, rather than chains as there was no armcote.

Long Journey Home - Part 3 - Out of the Window image
Out of the Window

Are You Experienced?

Phew! What an experience of a day. It was the boat saying we had done enough for that day. Well, at least we had a shorter trip to Cropredy tomorrow but it will entail 9 locks.

Long Journey Home - Part 3 - Window image
A Window on the World

Here completes The Long Journey Home – Part 3.

The Long Journey Home - Part 2

The Long Journey Home - Part 1
rp – peace and narrowboats

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines…

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines…

“Not you Sir, we have to swap yours out!”

Heart of the Beast IV image

So, while we had hoped to have been out on the cut tomorrow, we’re taking a pause for breath – the marina is replacing the engine. They are replacing it with a reconditioned one, with full warranty and they’re sourcing it from the same place the River Canal Rescue people source theirs from! That must be good.

We Are Sailing Waiting

We have to wait a little longer but I will get a firm date early this coming week but it will most likely be Friday 11 May. This means we will travel up to Northamptonshire on the Thursday and take a handover on the Friday.

It could however be earlier, so stay tuned…

Replacing Engines

Why the engine replacement? I think the technical term used was that it was Cream Crackered. It is also going to be lowered in the engine bay and properly mounted (stop sniggering at the back!).

In the past, engines were placed on blocks of wood but proper engine mountings are required now. Ours was on blocks. These will be removed and there’s some re-fitting of the engine bay required and it will then be placed on engine mountings.

All in all, this is great news for us. We will receive a vessel that is going to be able to withstand the rigours of liveaboard and cruising the cut.

The Beast

I will be sad to see this beast go

Engine - Heart of the Beast VI - 1920x1440 image

(It was one of my favourite photos) but I’ll post the new engine in all its painted (yes, it will be freshly painted) glory.

In summary, a little more waiting but that just means we have a little more time for preparation. The question is, can you really prepare for something as momentous as this? I finished a book this Friday – The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch  and it’s going to be recycled! Preparation indeed.


rp – peace and narrowboats

What Do We Actually Know?

The Narrowboat – what do we actually know?

A lot’s been said already about this narrowboat; in passing, in dispatches, in the Queen’s speech, in-uendo but what do we actually know? What are the facts?

  1. The narrowboat exists – we know this because we have seen photographs of it and unless I’m really, really good at Photoshopping, which I’m not, then we have to believe they are genuine and a boat of said photographs exists [see first post]
  2. It needs stuff doing to it – the survey revealed this and was discussed at length here
  3. The boat’s not here – it’s up in Whilton, in Northamptonshire being looked after by the lovely people at Whilton Marina
  4. It’s light and airy – this is what attracted us to it in the first place


Do We Know Any More?

So far, so good but here’s a little bit more. It has an engine! Yes, no trying to source a horse to pull it through the canals of England and Wales and no ‘legging’ it through tunnels for us. We have BMC Leyland 1.5 Diesel engine that delivers 38 hp. Just imagine 38 horses roped to the front (sorry bow) of the boat, running at full pelt!

Know - Heart of the Beast V image
Heart of the Beast

It’s a beauty – it looks cool and all kind of enginy.

OK, I know what you’re all thinking at this stage; cool? enginy? These adjectives don’t immediately inspire confidence and knowledge in the combustion engine department. I suppose I have to admit, although I can spell mekanic, sorry mechanic, it’s just I’m a bit challenged in the oil and engineering department. But I’m willing to learn. I’m keen, I have to be. I have to drive it away in approximately 10 weeks time as that’s when it will be ready!

Switches Everywhere!

The only other tidbit I can impart about her/him/it [delete as appropriate] is there’s this panel and it’s full of switches. There are hundreds of them It’s going to be like starting up a 747!

Know - Panel image
All systems operational

More importantly tho’ is the Bilge Pump. Seaworld – sounds like it controls the gate to an underwater cage where the Killer Whale comes out to entertain the crowds. Can’t wait to flick that switch!

As I learn more, you’ll here it here first…


rp – peace and narrowboats