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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.

Friday, 27 April 2012

President arrives at Stoke Bruerne flight

Another day of setting off in the rain. It was before 9am so quite late for us to get going. There was a notice on the balance beam at the top of Stoke Bruerne lock when we arrived,  stating that the locks would open at 10 am, but no chain was around the gates, and as we hadn't had any notification that the locks were closed, we went down the first two. Then as we approached the third lock, two boats were already on the landing. Both had tied to a bollard but there didn't appear as if anyone was doing anything. That's when we saw the chain round the gate!!! It baffled me as to why the chain wasn't put round the top set. Something to do with a 'long pound' and boaters having to be allowed to leave if moored there. Anyway the time was about 9.40am and along came a volunteer lockie. 'Great', we thought, he was about to open up. Apparently not. He said it was more then his job's worth to usurp BW's authority even though the chain was held together with a combination lock and he knew the combination. So we waited and nattered to the other boaters and finally the BW man himself arrived to unlock and let the first two boats through. Suddenly we heard the unmistakable sound of a whistle which could only have come from the steam boat President.  Both President and butty Kildare had been moored at the top lock, having arrived about half an hour after we had moored on the 48 hour mooring at Stoke Bruerne. As a single boat with no other boat in sight, we gestured to them to go through first . As luck would have it no sooner had we told them to go in, a canaltime came round the corner. Oh well, at least we wouldn't have to wait the expected half hour for another boat to arrive. Then another volunteer lock keeper turned up, a lady, and told us a couple of boats had entered the bottom lock so could we wait until they were up. No problem really but it did mean a fairly long wait. So we removed our waterproofs and boots and settled down to a cup of tea, then suddenly back came the young lady and said we could proceed with filling the lock and to go down the flight as planned, as the boats in question seemed to take an age entering and filling the locks and she felt it unfair to make us wait. Back on with the boots and waterproofs, which is not easy when they were already wet, and after the canaltime crew filled the lock we were again on our way. We met the pair at the second to last lock at the bottom of the flight. One of the pair just happened to be the boat from the IWA festival that had designed a 'push along' butty instead of towing it.

Ian at the top of the flight having just gone past President & Kildare

Canaltime arrival meant we could pair up without waiting

Using the pole to keep Kildare from hitting the cill.

Lady volunteer.

Ian with the canaltime

This boat nb 'Alice' & 'Alice Too', was the boat at the IWA festival showing how the butty is joined at the front. See Post
 We followed President in the torrential rain and thunder storm to Cosgrove. He obviously doesn't hang around as this next picture shows.

Had his pins pulled by President as it went past. If it wasn't for the fact that the rain was coming down hard we would have stopped to sort it out. Seeing as there was a moored boat right by it we thought we would let him 'sort it out' instead. When Ian reached Thrupp another boat was being retreived. Another one that had lost his pins to President!
 Just before Cosgrove I spied another stuffed creature stuck to the cratch board. I definitely think I might start the society for prevention of cruelty to stuffed animals!!!

The rain was relentless today. Only stopped for brief periods and luckily one of those periods was at Cosgrove lock. Both of us have been equally soaked to the skin and, as we approached Gifford Park facilities, we almost made the decision to stay and find a mooring. I walked past the bridge to see if anything was available. Plenty of spaces but I soon found out why. The towpath was covered in dog shit. I'm not going to mince my words because it was disgraceful. Someone had been along and sprayed the shitty piles with yellow paint. Obviously didn't deter the dog owner because more shit had appeared next to the yellow mounds. We moved hurriedly along, still with the rain beating down, to Cambell Park. There was a mooring free on the park which is an absolute delight for Jade. Now we are dry, the fires lit, we are warm and well fed and loving the sound oif the rain on the boat roof.


Adam said...

All the restriction notices right from day one have said that it's locks 15 to 19 at Stoke Bruerne which are locked at night - that's the bottom five. It makes sense because there are a lot of moorings in the long pound. In addition, the back pumping system takes water up to that pound, with a separate pump taking water up round the top two locks.

I'm amazed how wet it was up there today. Down here on the south coast, it's been a warm sunny day. But you probably didn't want to know that!

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hi Adam
We must have missed that restriction notice on waterscape. It all becomes clear now that you have explained it. No I didnt wish to know about your glorious weather!!! Can you send it this way please. :)

Jo (Boatwoman) said...

Good morning Irene and Ian from a sunny start at Ellesmere. Love the photos of President and Kildare. The BW lockie on yesterday was Gerald I think, he also works at Foxton and is a lovely guy. Yesterday it rained all day here, but so far the sun is putting in an appearance today, bet it does not last hahahaha.

Have a wonderful weekend xxxxxxxxx

Albert @ metaliteind.com said...

Love the photos and yes I would join you in your society against cruelty to stuffed animals :)

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