Saturday, 3 January 2009

The Curious Incident of the Duck in the Night-time

This is a major feature of our cruising- travelling at night! I've only moved during the day recently twice, the far majority is in the dark. We've found that if anything the actual travel is safer than during the day, as there's no other traffic- but it's the locks that are the potential danger areas. Although Baits Bite and Bottisham locks are automated and they do have automatic safeguards, it would be possible, when going upstream into town, to open the guillotine gates too far and send too much water into the lock- as well as the usual problems of getting on and off the boat and mooring in the dark too.
To combat this, we each bought headtorches for Christmas. Not just any old feeble things, oh no! These, by LED Lenser, are "Precision-made Optical Instruments", apparently, and the beams are visible "Over 20 km away". I don't know about that, but I do know that they make boating and cycling in the dark so much more safe- and more fun!
Here's a few photos to give a flavour of our night-time wanderings.

Entering Bottisham Lock at night- the lock was against us, so we'd moored up on the landing stage, letting Amy take the photo as I brought the Duck into the lock.

Closing the hydraulic Vee gates at the downstream end of the lock- so much easier than pushing balance beams!

The upstream guillotine gate looking very ominous....

Leaving the lock


  1. Traveling on the canal at night must be a completely different experience, to day time.
    I used to be a line-haul truck driver, working primarily at night and much preferred it to day time driving.

  2. ...More night-time boaters! It's enormously pleasant never meeting anyone, never having anyone screw up your locks and if you need to actually get somewhere, you can get a good 18-hour slog in between ~16:00 and the first boat that you'll meet at 10:00.

    Though I'm still undecided about whether it's better to have all the bright lights off and to keep the night-vision, or to fire up the four-floodlights and illuminate everything in sight (I turn these off when passing other boats).

    Perhaps like most things, it depends on the phase of the moon!