Frozen canal + a crane on the towpath | Building our off-grid, electric narrowboat | Weekly Update 5

Frozen canal + a crane on the towpath | Building our off-grid, electric narrowboat | Weekly Update 5

Despite facing some freezing cold starts with the canal frozen over, we do make some good progress this week in building our dream floating home. We reach new heights as we finally get the heavy 300kg reclaimed stove off the towpath and into the boat.

Living on the water in the winter can be really challenging, but this week, the magic of the cold season has shone through. As the fire has dwindled overnight, we wake up chilly, in need of a warm brew and a hat indoors, but looking out the window makes it worth it. Grasses are crystalised with icicles, and robins and moorhens hop over the frozen canal as if that’s what they do every day. It’s quiet, no boater can move their home. The chill in the air almost freezes us all into a quiet state of appreciation and marvel. The frozen mornings are idyllic.  

Wrapped up, we head to our boat build project, Artichoke, and start the week by clearing her up. She’s turned into a building site, with stuff everywhere, and so we spend a few hours organising the mess to create an easier space to work in. Outside of the boat, Jack tries to make a start on cleaning the reclaimed stove we picked up a few weeks ago. Because we have chosen a second-hand stove rather than a new one, she needs a little TLC. It seems she is a bit trickier to take apart than we first thought and so she’s not quite spotless just yet!

The most exciting part of our week has to be the crane we hired. We were facing a huge challenge of how to get the 300kg Esse Ironheart reclaimed stove sitting on the towpath lifted up and into the boat. After going forwards and backward with how best to tackle this challenge, we decided to hiring a man and his spider crane was the best and safest option. The crane drove down the towpath on its caterpillar tracks, and effortlessly lifted the stove up off the ground, and into our boat through the back hatch just in time as the darkness took over the skyline.  

It seemed a massive challenge to overcome with the stove sitting on the towpath for weeks, and so we’re relieved to have it inside the boat! Now, just to install it…

To see the crane in action, and for an insight into the beauty of the frozen canal, watch our latest YouTube episode below.

The canal has FROZEN. Narrowboat life in SUB ZERO temperatures | this tiny life
Jack Miles
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