The Last Days of Summer

As summer fades into autumn it's time to start thinking about winter boating

Callis Mill Lock on the Rochdale Canal in autumn Callis Mill Lock on the Rochdale Canal

It seems odd to be thinking about winter when the weather is hot and sunny but when you look closely at the hedgerows, laden with ripe elderberries, hawthorne and blackberries, you realise that autumn is now just around the corner.

Living on a boat, the first signs of autumn should be a clue to start preparing for winter. What maintenance jobs need to be completed before the nights draw in? What about winter fuel, what about moorings, what about winter maintenance works and will they affect my cruising?

Time to stock up

If you have a long term mooring you may have the luxury of some space to store solid fuel. Now is the ideal time to stock up with coal from the fuel boats to take advantage of summer or bulk prices. If you rely on wood it’s time to make sure the store is weather proof and well supplied. Wet wood isn’t good for you or your stove. 

If you rely on a solid fuel stove for heating in the winter it’s time to check it over for any required maintenance. Nothing worse than discovering your stove is unusable during the first cold snap and that your local boat yard had run out of parts.

Winter mooring?

If you don’t have a long term mooring you may wish to find a winter mooring. There’s a wide range of choices out there from high spec marinas to the Trust’s own winter towpath moorings. Before deciding on a winter mooring it is worth checking out any planned winter works on the canal and how they might affect your cruising. Planning ahead is essential although you can never rule out the unexpected either. Who knows if the canal’s going to freeze solid for weeks or if we’ll have a repeat of last year’s devastating floods?

But for some, the winter’s the best time to be cruising as the canals can be less busy and I have many boating friends that make a point of meeting up during the festive season, often cruising long distances to make it to a favoured destination such as Stoke Bruerne.

Make the most of it! 

So back to my list for my own boat for now:

  • Check stove (sweep flue, replace grate, clean, check seals)
  • Replace a couple of failing LED light bulbs
  • Order solid fuel
  • Enjoy the last days of summer …


Last date edited: 31 August 2016

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Our boating team bring you news of their work across our network, as well as the stories of boaters they meet

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