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Frozen Canals
Hi guys – I imagine a few of you are out there now dealing with frozen cruising conditions (in more ways than one!)
As only a holiday boater (well, commercial as well, but that’s coastal RIBs!), but slowly planning towards a life more narrow and afloat mainly CCing in a year or so .. can I ask a question of your experience
How do plan for the canal being frozen ? – if you constantly cruise, clearly water and fuel are essential, and so you cant risk being stuck in one place for too long?
Does the forecast predict when a canal is likely to freeze, so you can prepare and get somewhere supportive. Is it that predictable though… as it must depend not just on temperature I suspect, but variables like flow rates and depth/width etc ?
How do you plan and then deal with being frozen it one place ?
Thanks
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Fuel, you should always keep your tank topped up, especially in Winter, as it helps stop condensation, a full fuel tank should easily last longer than a frozen cut in this day and age.

Similarly with water, never miss an opportunity to fill your tank, work out how much you use normally(how quick your tank empties), and then see what you can do with water economy, but also make sure you have a rolling water barrel or containers available in case of long freeze.

If its windy, only sheltered bits will freeze, if it's a still night, it will all freeze. Once its frozen, and the temps hover around zero or less, then it just gets thicker.....a covering of snow protects it against winter sunshine...so it keeps getting thicker.. 

Rivers take longer to freeze, but get there eventually.

Genuine cc-ers used to head to the Llangollen in the Winter as there is quite a flow.

..which slows ice formation, and helps speed melting.

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Many water points will freeze, so even if you are close to them, you still won't be able to get more water. This is true if you are on a mooring, as well as CCing through the winter. I keep an eye on the forecast. Usually you get a warning of several days to a week that a long cold spell is coming. Blocking high, easterly winds and so on. Make sure all the laundry is done, then top the tank up on the last >0C day and go to minimum water usage. Shower elsewhere if at all possible. Conversely, a cold snap makes moving coal, cassettes, shopping and so on along the tow path easier as the mud freezes solid!

Jen

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19 minutes ago, Nelly Mac said:

How do you plan and then deal with being frozen it one place ?

 

 

Just as important as fuel and water :

 

Hopefully you wil have a boat with a proper cassette type toilet, when full you can remove the cassette, slide in a spare, stick the full one on your trolley and walk down the tow-path until you get to somewhere to empty it.

Having a boat with a big pump-out tank under the bed, when its full and the canal is frozen you are (literally) in the sh$t, no way can you lift the boat out, tuck it under your arm and take it somewhere to empty it. Where do you "go" now ?

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Keep a close eye on the weather forecast.

Full diesel and water tanks, empty poo tank, coal on the roof and food and drink in the boat. That's about it.

Its impossible to predict which pounds will freeze, going up or down one lock or a few trees at the canalside can make the difference.

 

If you think a real big freeze is on its way find a suitable spot, ideally with a water supply a decent walk away (if you don't have access to a car). Best not get too close to a tap as the sort of people who moor right next to a tap and not always the sort of people you want as neigbours.

 

In 11 years we have been seriously frozen in once (6 weeks) and are moderately frozen in a second time now, plus a few freezes of a few  days when moving might just be possible but would be anti-social.

 

Both freezings-in have been boating highlights. Hill walking in the snow today and came back to a nice warm boat.

 

...........Dave

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

Just as important as fuel and water :

 

Hopefully you wil have a boat with a proper cassette type toilet, when full you can remove the cassette, slide in a spare, stick the full one on your trolley and walk down the tow-path until you get to somewhere to empty it.

Having a boat with a big pump-out tank under the bed, when its full and the canal is frozen you are (literally) in the sh$t, no way can you lift the boat out, tuck it under your arm and take it somewhere to empty it. Where do you "go" now ?

For the very few times this happens you pump into a container and take that to the frozen elsan point. As you've checked the weather forcast in advance you have an empty tank so can last several weeks without a problem.

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12 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

Just as important as fuel and water :

 

Hopefully you wil have a boat with a proper cassette type toilet, when full you can remove the cassette, slide in a spare, stick the full one on your trolley and walk down the tow-path until you get to somewhere to empty it.

Having a boat with a big pump-out tank under the bed, when its full and the canal is frozen you are (literally) in the sh$t, no way can you lift the boat out, tuck it under your arm and take it somewhere to empty it. Where do you "go" now ?

Trolley assumes no or little snow, a sledge helps, failing that, just tie a rope round it and stick it on the ice, an easy drag to the ....ohhh frozen Elsan.

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1 minute ago, sueb said:

For the very few times this happens you pump into a container and take that to the frozen elsan point. As you've checked the weather forcast in advance you have an empty tank so can last several weeks without a problem.

 

Yup, its as easy of that, so once in 11 years we have been reduced to same indignity that cassette owners live with every third day.

For 8 years we kept an emergency porta potti under the bed but eventually declared it a waste of space and gave it away.

 

If it gets really bad you could crap in a plastic bag, leave it a couple of hours to "compost" then put it in the rubbish bins. 😀

 

..............Dave

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It's rare that a canal freezes for longer than a few days so, mostly, it isn't a big issue.

 

This weeks freeze is forecast to be over during the next few days, (weekend), and from Sunday afternoon, temperatures will be above freezing, for the rest of a 14 day forecast.

 

This takes us to nearly the end of February, so a long freeze this year is now unlikely, (not impossible, but unlikely).

 

 

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I can remember a couple of recent winters when the canal was frozen for a couple of weeks. but not as bad as it was in the 1960' when it could be months. December 1968 the ice hung around for weeks:-

 

1295555420_1968(Dec)PiscesiceonG.U.JPG.323d5ca1eaff2ff973cc538e2b3c8ee6.JPG

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A lot depends on the height of the canal, high pounds like the Macclesfield can freeze quickly and hard, I have been frozen in hard at Poynton for three weeks, 518 feet above sea level.

It put down 3" of ice overnight. After a week you could walk on the canal, it was so thick.

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If you need to move in ice I would not recommend this technique. Can’t really see what use it’s doing apart from risking getting a barge pole in the face if it hits anything substantial(log, shopping trolley 🛒)

 

811E7F31-9E0E-4757-8495-BE84E086CBD4.jpeg

Edited by PD1964
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18 minutes ago, PD1964 said:

If you need to move in ice I would not recommend this technique. Can’t really see what use it’s doing apart from risking getting a barge pole in the face if it hits anything substantial(log, shopping trolley 🛒)

 

811E7F31-9E0E-4757-8495-BE84E086CBD4.jpeg

I can't even see its doing any good.

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9 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

I can't even see its doing any good.

Was highlighted on this Vlog, they were going at speed too. If you don’t want to watch all skip to 4:30

 

Edited by PD1964
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But.

 

Ice breaking is great fun. The noise is something else on a quiet morning on a quiet stretch.

 

Only ever seriously done it once returning to a hire boat base so we didnt have a lot of choice. We were careful past moored boats.

 

When we returned the boat we explained but Ashby weren't overly concerned about any removed blacking thankfully, as they knew we had to get back in time.

 

I remember a couple of points were it was thick enough to dictate our route around a bend but most of the time it just parted.

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32 minutes ago, The Happy Nomad said:

Ice breaking is great fun.

 

If the ice is more than about 1/4" thick ice breaking, travelling in a straight line, is fun. But icebreaking going round corners gets increasingly difficult the thicker the ice!

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6 minutes ago, David Mack said:

 

If the ice is more than about 1/4" thick ice breaking, travelling in a straight line, is fun. But icebreaking going round corners gets increasingly difficult the thicker the ice!

 

Very true, as I said.

 

I was surprised when we hit the thicker stuff how much it governed the arc of the turn.

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9 minutes ago, David Mack said:

 

If the ice is more than about 1/4" thick ice breaking, travelling in a straight line, is fun. But icebreaking going round corners gets increasingly difficult the thicker the ice!

When thick Ice was preventing us from negotiating a curve, I seem to remember that we would reverse back into the cleared area trying to turn at the same time, and then attack the new ice at speed. It was a very slow and repetetive process.

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10 hours ago, David Mack said:

 

If the ice is more than about 1/4" thick ice breaking, travelling in a straight line, is fun. But icebreaking going round corners gets increasingly difficult the thicker the ice!

 

A couple of winters ago we were out on the boat when it froze. We needed to wind and my usual 3 point turn became more like a 31 point turn!

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12 hours ago, matty40s said:

Fuel, you should always keep your tank topped up, especially in Winter, as it helps stop condensation, a full fuel tank should easily last longer than a frozen cut in this day and age.

Similarly with water, never miss an opportunity to fill your tank, work out how much you use normally(how quick your tank empties), and then see what you can do with water economy, but also make sure you have a rolling water barrel or containers available in case of long freeze.

If its windy, only sheltered bits will freeze, if it's a still night, it will all freeze. Once its frozen, and the temps hover around zero or less, then it just gets thicker.....a covering of snow protects it against winter sunshine...so it keeps getting thicker.. 

Rivers take longer to freeze, but get there eventually.

Genuine cc-ers used to head to the Llangollen in the Winter as there is quite a flow.

..which slows ice formation, and helps speed melting.

And don’t forget to keep fuel supplies for the stove well topped up, all the time, just in case.

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12 minutes ago, Stilllearning said:

And don’t forget to keep fuel supplies for the stove well topped up, all the time, just in case.

And get one of those big slippers you can get both feet in... 

;)

 

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11 hours ago, David Mack said:

 

If the ice is more than about 1/4" thick ice breaking, travelling in a straight line, is fun. But icebreaking going round corners gets increasingly difficult the thicker the ice!

Had similar experiences with duckweed. The approach to Keadby on the S&SYN can get thickly coated with duckweed during the summer. The flow concentrates it all here. Fine gong forward, but turning, for example to get in to the landing to operate a swing bridge, can be very hard.  Better for the blacking than ice, but doesn't sound as good.

duckweed.JPG.b09f80179172ccd990c9128bf423e2b3.JPG

 

 

Edited by Jen-in-Wellies
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