About Us

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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

No springs in Alice.

Friday 24th

As The flight to Cairns wasn't until 5.20pm and check out of the motel was at 10am.so what to do in the meantime. Well first leave bags with the motel receptionist and then walk the 4km to the Telegraph station. The heat at 30 deg was punishing but the walk along the dry Todd riverbed had its merits. We saw rock wallabies, eagle's, weird coloured crickets and small lizards. After an hours walk, we finally arrived. Would have got there sooner but kept stopping to check out the terrain.

The first building to view was the Barracks, the first major structure built in central Australia and in 1872 the Stations first telegraph message was transmitted to Adelaide. The message read 'CW Kraegen had died of thirst 100km down the line in the December heat'. He had been on his way to Alice Springs to take up the position of Stationmaster.

The Telegraph Station was midway along the Overland Telegraph line from Darwin to Adelaide and played a key role in Australia's development. Personal and business messages, which had taken  months by sea, now only took hours. It reduced the isolation of Australians from the rest of the world.

We then walked to the 'Springs'. Most people (myself included) assumed that the name Alice Springs  came about because of a spring at the telegraph station. In fact, the 'Spring' is just a water hole found by Government surveyor William Mills in 1871 whilst exploring the Macdonnell Ranges. He named it Alice Springs after the wife of Charles Todd who won the tender for constructing the overland line.

The river bed might look totally dry but dig down and the water is just underneath.

The 4 km walk back was even more draining. The temperature had soared to 38 deg and with very little shade it was an effort to put one foot in front of the other. We both had constant sips of water from the 2 Ltr bottle but that didn't help in quenching the thirst. I have come to the conclusion that these two Brits find it very difficult to cope in the very hot conditions.

Very glad to get back to the air-conditioned Motel. We only had 30 minutes to wait before the airport shuttle bus came to collect us. Got to the security check and I was once again pulled out for a search. It happened at Auckland and again here in Alice Springs. I must have that dodgy look! Anyway, we boarded the plane in glorious weather and landed in Cairns during a thunderstorm and torrential rain. To say it was a bumpy ride was an understatement. I was very frightened at one point when the plane lurched and seemed somewhat erratic. Boy, was I glad to get down on the ground safely at Cairns. And as for Ian...totally unconcerned, took the turbulence in his stride and called me a right wuss for being so scared!.

It's the last leg of the Aussie adventure next. We collect the campervan in the morning.

So the wildlife encountered on the walk,

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Saturday, 25 February 2017

We meet Kangaroo Dundee

Thursday 23rd

Whilst waiting for the computer to be fixed we headed off to the Reptile house. Only a small building but a fast amount of snakes and lizards. Highlight for me was when the Olive Python was drapped arounf my shoulders. Asking if Ian fancied a hold, he said he wasn't overly bothered but I just wondered if......a bit of fear maybe.....Anyway he took the photos so I was thankful about that.

Thorny Devil

Pig nosed turtle

Spiny tailed Goanna

Whip snake

Perentie Lizaerd

At 5pm the coach came to take us to the Kangaroo Sanctuary. Run and owned by Brolga, BBC's Kangaroo Dundee which ran for three series on our TV during a five year period. Brolga was just as he was on TV, kind, funny and adored his Kangaroos. 50 of his rescued 'roos were roaming on his 188 acre wildlife reserve. On arrival he had a special treat in store, two Joeys in bags for us to hold. Then we walked over to the bachelor pad. I asked about the 'roo that used to terrorise him, Roger and if he was still alive. The answer was yes but at nearly 12 years of age he was now an old man and his son Monty had taken over where Roger left off. We met Monty and I can see why he defeated his dad. Pure testosteron and muscle. We spent 2 hours listening and learning all about his work rescuing the babies. He told us what to do if we came across a dead kangaroo, check the pouch in case their is a baby, then remove it, wrap it up and take to the nearest town where one will always find someone to help. Good advice now that we will be driving down the Queensland coast.


This was his home in the early days. In fact he only got electricity from solar panels a week ago!

Son of Roger, Monty

So many memorable occasions on this trip and this was up there with the rest. Next leg of the journey, Cairns, another camper van and the drive down the Queensland coast back to sydney.

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