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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.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Long Buckby to Hillmorton

Today has been something of an eye opener for me. This is the first time FreeSpirit has descended Braunston locks without anyone on the helm. We had planned to meet Nb Dulwich between Long Buckby and Braunston Tunnel. We saw them at the top of the flight and they mentioned that we could pair up together at Braunston Locks. This morning they were no where to be seen. Felt a bit peeved that they had up and left without waiting as planned but I suppose that is their prerogative. No boats appeared to be on the move so we left by about 8.30 with the hope of meeting another boat on the way. Sure enough by the time we were almost through the tunnel we noticed another boat had entered so we decided to sit at the lock and wait for them. I'm so glad we did. It was Nb Grace with Christine and Terry on board. We met them at the Pelsall rally and then again on the towpath at Stoke Bruerne. After the first lock Terry suggested we tie both boats together and work the pair down the flight. Terry took control of the boats, having done this a few times before, which left three of us to prepare locks and see him through. We descended the top lock by 10 am and exited the bottom lock an hour later. Not bad going. It would have been quicker but we had to wait for a pair of boats ascending to sort themselves out. I think they panicked when they saw Terry with our two boats breasted up.

Jade was a little anxious that the boat was on the move and no owners in sight!

Releasing the pair by the bottom lock

Terry and Chris

 They moored up in Braunston while we continued on to Hillmorton. I noticed that Bridge 80 on the Oxford still hasn't been repaired. Must be a few years since this was done.

It took us a couple of hours to reach the top lock at Hillmorton. There were parts of the Oxford where going at cruising speed ( about 3 mph ) just couldn't happen. The opposite banks had been so eroded away that the silt was causing the bottom to be to near the top! Creating a wash is a 'no no' in my book.It just makes everything worse. I feel sorry for the land owners who's banks are being swept away by inconsiderate boaters. We arrived at the flight and found that all the right hand locks at Hillmorton are still under repairs and it gave me a unique opportunity to see the state of culverts.

Not often you see them like this.

These were stuck to the gates. Says it all!

  At the bottom we started to look for a mooring. We hadn't realised that the mooring past the water tap had no rings or piled edges and Ian really doesn't like putting in pins. (It's all about those boaters who tear past and pull the pins out that he doesn't like!! ) We continued and found just what we were looking for. We hadn't been moored long when who should come round the corner, Doug and James on Nb Chance. They were going up the flight this afternoon but as we told them there were limited moorings at the top, they decided to moor with us. Last time we saw Doug and James it was also at Hillmorton and we just a fleeting greeting as we went past, so to be able to get to know them better is a bonus.

Ian, Doug and James. Derwent6 coming up behind

 Then another fellow blogger came past. Del and Al on Nb Derwent6. We have yet to do the meet and greet but we had a cheery wave and smile from them both as they sailed past.

1 comment:

Jo (Boatwoman) said...

Looks like your very happy to be on the move. Breasting up down the Braunston flight is such a great idea and leaves many hands to make light work of the locks.
Poor Bridge 80, I have a feeling that will eventually get knocked down, because it is so badly damaged.
Nice to hear the names of boaters we know, Doug and James and Del and Al. Everyone is on the move.
Happy cruising to you both and lots of love xxx

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