Storm Clouds

Storm Damage

The last severe storm of the winter of 2004/5 took place over the weekend of 8th/9th January 2005. Lynx (formerly Waverley) was tied in Shrewley cutting near bridge 29 on the GU Warwick & Birmingham Canal whilst I was spending a few days at home, nearby, over Christmas. Just one tree fell in that cutting; the largest tree naturally which, rather than being uprooted, just snapped off some 3 feet from the ground and landed across the towpath, the boat's engine room, completely across the canal and up the other bank.

Luckily the bottom of the canal was so near to the top that the boat could only go down 3" or so before hitting the bottom but the resulting damage to the steelwork required cutting out and replacement of the engine room cabin side and roof complete with pigeon box, doors, hatches and all interior linings. It was lucky too, in that the tree hit the engine room. The back end (the forward engine room bulkhead) had protected the bathroom and main living area while the rear bulkhead had protected the back cabin! Lucky, even more, that I had not been sleeping onboard in the back cabin cross bed about 5ft from the impact point! It would have spoiled my slumber!

The ash tree was some 2' - 2'6" thick and about 60-70' tall. This may be contrasted with the 40' poplar which fell on the hireboat 'Tilstone' at Penkridge in October 2004 (photo - WW December 2004 pg43) and sank that boat!

The original builder, Roger Farrington, who still works in the former Willow Wren shed at Braunston bottom lock was more than willing to undertake the repair but could not contemplate it until August. Simon and Rex Wain and Steve Priest at Brinklow had a slot available in February due to the impact of the winter stoppages although the route from Shrewley to Stretton Stop was open (except for the Hatton flight which reopened towards the end of January). My insurance company was happy with their estimate so I was able to take advantage of the window of opportunity to get a repair under way quickly.

Shrewley cutting has not been kind to me as, in 2004, I parked my car overnight in the car park above the eastern portal of the tunnel and all of its windows were smashed by vandals during the night using the granite lumps of the car park surface as missiles. However the car, a cheapie intended to be left for days at a time at bridge 'oles all over the system, only cost me £150 some 8 months previously and I got £50 back from the insurance company and had £60 refunded on the tax disc. £40 for 8 months motoring; never washed, never serviced, not bad eh?