Moored on the Grand Union at Cowley, just below the lock last night. At 8:02 pm there was an almighty firecracker noise as if there was a firework party on the towpath, followed by a thunderclap and a mini tidal wave down the Grand Union.
A 30 foot branch had sheared off a tree and landed right on top of a moored boat just 100 yards ahead of us, luckily unoccupied at the time, and even more lucky that towpath walkers were not flattened too as I guess from start to finish this took no more than 5 seconds – nowhere near enough time to get out of the way.
At the end of the day no real damage was done, but I was somewhat surprised that BW didn’t seem to send anyone out until this morning. However the Council did send a couple of people out to see what had happened, and bizarrely two hours later the fire brigade turned up, full emergency style but left within minutes as “They don’t do trees”.
I’m certainly going to think again about mooring under overhanging trees in the future, especially in Zulu. With a fibreglass and timber roof she would have been broken in half by a tree this size, let alone what might have happened to anyone inside. The branch sheared off without warning and there was no wind whatsoever, presumably dropping under its own weight.
This morning the tree is almost gone already. A team of three tree surgeons complete with one of those machines which eats branches has taken only a couple of hours to get most of it cleared – and it looks like the boat has not been damaged too badly other than quite a big dent in the roof and handrail.