And that’s me back at home base. Six months I’ve been out. Cruised with friends sometime, but mostly cruised just on my own.

With friends going through Wigan

With friends going through Wigan

I’m very proud of myself, to be honest. Even with the water shortage I managed to do 413 miles. Went through 211 locks, and 22 bridges. Of which, I must admit, I only did three…

One just needs to establish routines and rituals, and cruising on your own isn’t half as daunting as you think.
Routines for cruising, and rituals for daily life.

Fifteen minutes it takes me to set off in the morning. And you quickly learn to do things in the right order, otherwise you’ve just locked the boat, and are ready to set off, and find out: I do need my tiller, and oh, sugar, my tiller pin is in the bedroom.

And yes, ALWAYS attach the centre line, before taking off mooring ropes. Because if you don’t do that, once you take one rope off, the biggest widebeam you’ve ever seen comes around the corner, on full speed…!

Everything I need for the next two or three hours has to be in the engine room. Mooring pins or nappie pins on the roof, hammer close by, windlass easy to get.

Then it is just a matter of time.
Cruising, of course, is the same, whether you have crew or are on your own.

But locks take ages. Think, before you do anything. Then think again. Then do it (slowly).
I only open one paddle, so if something happens I only have to close one paddle.
Make sure the back hatch is fully open when you do a lock. Because getting back at the tiller with the back hatch closed is NOT easy!
And as much as I like flowers on the roof, that’s not for me. Walking on the roof in locks without flowers is hard enough.

People ask: “Are you not afraid on your own?
Well, no. If someone wants to harm me, they’ll find a way, but it will be difficult to get into WRT once all doors are locked, especially with the double glazing. And would-be offenders won’t walk miles on a towpath to find a narrowboat with a single woman on it.

Perfectly safe

Perfectly safe

Of course, the rituals I developed over the last six months will still be in place now I’m in the marina.

Back in the marina, and it is raining. I like that, because we’ll need water for next year’s cruising. Plans are already made.

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