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, 16 November 2008

Back to our mooring

And so here we are back home. This will be my last blog until we set sail again in January. To all who have followed our adventures we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year and we look forward to continuing our epic journey next year.
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Friday, 14 November 2008

River Trent in flood


As we made our way back to our home in Sandiacre we knew we had to travel part of the way along the river Trent. On the Sunday we arrived at Derwent Lock to enter the River and noticed it was up slightly. By this time it had been raining for ages and I was a bit concerned that we wouldn't make Trent lock before the flood gates went on. We got to Sawley and to say we were drenched is an understatement. Ian wanted to stop at Sawley overnight but I had this feeling that the river was going to rise rapidly and persuaded him to continue along the last mile and get to the Erewash Canal that night. When we entered the river we were swept along by the fast current and did the mile in record time. We turned the boat against the flow to enter the canal when Ian noticed that the lock landing which had steps going up to the bank, was already underwater. This meant I would have to somehow get him off the boat before entering the canal and while we were still on the river. I managed to get near enough to the bank for Ian to jump of with the windlass and then with a final push of the throttle sailed the boat into the lock.
After we had moored and got dried of, we made our way back to the river to see if it had come up any more. These pictures show the lock and just how much water was flowing when we got there.
We stayed at Trent lock on the Monday and set of for our moorings on Tuesday morning. I still cant believe how quickly these 6 months have gone but now we look forward to spending Christmas with the family and most of all our new grandson Oscar.
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Monday, 10 November 2008

Damaged bridge


While we were on our travels we heard of a stoppage on the Trent and Mersey. Looking on BW's web site we found out that a tractor had gone through a bridge. This is the bridge!!! The tractor luckily had been removed from the canal and as far as we know no one was hurt.
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River Trent at Alrewas


We entered the River Trent at Alrewas and even after all the rain we had had, the river levels were normal. There is a story attached to this part of the river. On the journey out last year Ian pushed the boat of to enter the lock and unfortunately he somehow put his foot on one of the side fenders which was up on the gunwhale and promptly fell in!!! The boat was heading toward the weir and Ian was in the water. I panicked and rushed down from the lock to see if I could do anything. Of course there was nothing I could do but luckily Ian managed to climb back onto the boat and stopped it from going over the weir. He was very pleased to find his glasses were still on his head but his hat was bobbing along in the current and heading for the weir. Somehow I managed to retrieve his hat so all in all nothing was lost!! only Ian's pride!!!

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Hay stack?

I assumed this was supposed to represent some sort of sculpture but I just cant see what it is!!
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Fradley Trent and Mersey

Top lock at Fradley.The wind was blowing hard and the thought of negotiating through these boats made my apprehensive to say the least. \Luckily there was a lull in the wind ferocity so I managed to get into the next lock without hitting any of the other boats.
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Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Colours of the cut





The changing season brings some spectacular colours. I thought this view said it all

Tixall Lock at Tixall


Today is November 5th. As both Judy and Jade hate fireworks and are reduced to quaking quivering wrecks we decided to moor as far away from civilization that we can. Lets hope its far enough!!

Tixall Wide


While we were moored at Tixall Lock we decided to take a walk into Great Haywood for some provisions and more important my fishing bait. Ian said "its not far" Nearly 2 miles later we eventually reached our destination. This is Judy dragging her heels on the way back no doubt wishing we had left her at the boat.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Heron

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Big Chub

I caught this chub on Monday afternoon. It was the only fish I caught and I had to ask Ian to help me land it. My landing net is a good eighteen inches across and the fish only just fitted. I estimate the weight at about 5lb.
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Shropshire union canal


After leaving the Llangollen canal we turned right and headed up the Shropshire union. Most of this canal is dead straight and quite boring but there were a few interesting bits namely Tyrely Locks which we had to negotiate through very narrow cuttings. We had to find really rural moorings because as it was the first weekend of guy Fawkes the dogs being terrified of fireworks would have probably hyper ventilated and had panic attacks!

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October snow on the Llangollen


We had sailed through wind hail and rain and then the snow arrived! It was freezing and I for one was very glad to get moored up.
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Wednesday, 29 October 2008

My Kingfisher

I was ecstatic when this kingfisher landed just a few yards from the front of the boat. I hoped that it would stay put and eased the throttle back to slow done while struggling to find my camera which was conveniently at the back of the boat. Ian had been below and came up to see why I had slowed down. It was a good job he did because he managed to divert disaster which had been about to happen when the boat headed for the bank. I was to intent on capturing the picture of my kingfisher to see what was happening!Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Adrift


One of the so called "Dosser" boats adrift on the Llangollen. Needless to say we didn't bother to bring it back to its mooring because we object strongly to these licence evaders. They seem to think they can use all the facilities that BW provide for nothing.
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our two boats

We bought Merlin in 2004 as a sponsor boat to go into the hire fleet of Anglo Welsh waterways holidays. The boat was designed to our spec with only a few criteria from Anglo Welsh because it was going to be in the hire fleet for at least 5 years. After this time we could take her back or leave her in the fleet. We find she is very useful for letting our family take her out and giving them a cheap holiday. When Christine and Kev decided to take her out we arranged to meet them on Free Spirit and join them on their holiday.

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crossing the aquaduct


We met Christine and Kev at Anglo Welsh boat yard at Trevor in Wales so they could take our other boat Merlin for a week. Also joining us for the weekend was Kevins dad big Kev and his mum Gunda.
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Pontcysyllte Aquaduct

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crossing the Pontcysyllte aguaduct

To get our two boats together was really difficult. In front was a day boat and being cheeky I asked if I could jump across their boat to get to the other side. Luckily they agreed I managed to get a few photos


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View from the aquaduct


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