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.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Below Locks

We moored at the bottom of Foxton for the night after taking just 40 minutes to reach the bottom. We had a visit from Dennis and Margaret and we ended up in the pub having a meal. During there visit our carbon monoxide detector went of. I must admit we had been having some trouble in trying to keep our fire going and every time we opened the door smoke would pour into the cabin. After deciding that it would be best to let the fire go out and investigate, we found our fires throat plate to be covered in a mound of hard baked on glue like substance. All Ian could think of was that we had burned a lot of painted wood and presumed the "substance" was an accumulation of wood glue and paint. Ian had to take chisel and hammer to the mound to remove it all. Since then the fire has been brilliant. No more smoke in the cabins. It only goes to show that without our detector we may have gone to bed none the wiser and have died in our sleep!! Message to all:- GET A DETECTOR!

Next stop will be at Market Harborough where we hope to stop for 5 days if BW will allow it.
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Foxton Staircase

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Above Foxton top lock is this statue of a boatman and his horse. A tribute to all the men women and horses that worked the canals in days gone by.
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What is it?

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I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this He was bedraggled and very wet. The poor thing must have been in the canal and only just managed to get out because he was also shivering uncontrollably. The ice along this section was, in places, still very thick and I can only surmise that he had tried to take a short cut across the canal and fallen through. A day earlier I had also spied a drowned deer floating in the canal. How many more creatures met there watery fate in this way?
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Watford staircase

We arrived at Watford staircase locks quite early in the morning and expected to have to wait for the lock keeper to turn up. We didn't realise that there is no lock keeper on during the winter months and as the locks were mostly in our favour, the whole passage took just 35 minutes.
The locks had been closed for part of December and we were pleasantly surprised that the work had also included stripping away all the foliage growth in and around the side ponds.
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I had to reverse the boat while waiting for the locks to be ready and this blasted goose just wouldn't get out of the way. I had visions of parts of goose and feathers floating away behind me after the prop and chopped him all up!!
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Sunken vessel

On our way to Foxten we came across this sorry sight. We did inform BW and they said that it had already been reported. What they didn't know was the amount of diesel that had been leaking all along the cut for several miles! I think this spurred them into acting a bit quicker!!!

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Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Blisworth tunnel air vents

We left Stoke Bruerne on the 19th January after the ice had finally gone. I must say it was a really nice place to stay and we got to know the landlord of the Navigation quite well. Curry nights were on Wednesday so of course that was our regular evening out and all the boaters became our friends and neighbours. We were quite sorry to go.

We had been through Blisworth tunnel a few times, the last being with my brother Andre, and I was interested in knowing where the vents were above ground. Ian and I took the dogs for a walk along the route of the tunnel and eventually came across them. There are 5 chimneys along the length above ground but when we went through only 4 are open to the sky. All of them poured water over us as we sailed through, well they would considering all of the snow melt.

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Friday, 15 January 2010

Cheeky Robin waiting for his breakfast

Its not often you see a blackbird standing on water. (Okay I know its frozen!!)
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Bird wildlife

Posted by PicasaMoorhen sliding on the frozen canal.
Who let the chickens out?
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Stoke Bruerne Locks

Boats frozen in below Stoke Bruerne bottom lock

Drained pound between locks. BW certainly earned my respect working in this weather!
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Friday, 8 January 2010

Snowman and dogs

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Back to Stoke Bruerne

After my brother left us on 31st December for his return trip to Australia, we took the boat from Cosgrove back to Stoke Bruerne before the lock stoppage started on the 4th. We had planned to stay for a couple of days and then make our way slowly back to Sandiacre on the Erewash Canal. Best laid plans etc etc. and all that. Our fridge packed in!!!. Luckily we still had our car with us and so of to comet we went in search of another fridge. My only criteria was that it had a bigger freezer compartment as the old one was no use nor ornament! and every time I tried to open the door everything would slide out resulting in frozen goods all over the floor and me in a state of uncontrollable rage. Thankfully we found an under counter fridge with a good size freezer, but the down size was a slightly smaller fridge area. Oh well, he will have to hang his beer over the side of the boat if he wants to drink it cold. I'm happy at least!

We are now stuck on our mooring for the foreseeable future as the canal has frozen again and the weather forecast predicts this cold spell to last for at least another week. Still we are nice and warm. We have plenty of water in our tank and the dogs are loving every minute of the snow.

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A lovely snowy scene

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Blisworth Tunnel

Looks a little different from when we went through with my brother. I was particularly fascinated by the icicles from the tunnel walls.
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