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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, 25 July 2012

Rage at Gailey top lock

After traveling the Birmingham canals and only seeing 3 boats on the move in 4 days, it came as quite a shock to have a procession of boats passing our mooring and all heading toward Gailey lock! The first boat came past us before 6.30am and from that moment onwards we had one boat after another. We got up and washed the roof and sides and each time we thought, okay now is the time to go, another came along. Looking toward the facilities there appeared to be boats waiting for the lock as well as trying to water up. You couldn't tell who wanted to use the lock or who needed the facilities. Consequently all hell let loose at one point when boats waiting for the lock were passed by boats arriving. If you know Gailey then you realise that there is very limited room, and with boats going toward the lock and boats coming out of the lock it was utter chaos. There was shouting and swearing and boats trying to reverse and hitting other boats. Complete madness!!!. I returned to our boat and thought better of getting involved. Then along came Duke and Duchess, two hotel boats. Somehow they managed to get onto the facilities and that is where they stayed! It caused more mayhem. They have two huge water tanks to fill so you can imagine the amount of time it took.  Not only that but having breasted up, reduced the width even more. By 11.30am and with the hotel boats still on the water point we decided that if we didn't join the queue we would never get away. Ian walked on ahead and with one boat waiting to come up, another waiting to go down, the hotel boats still filling, I managed to squeeze the boat into the side and await my turn.

It wasn't until after midday that we finally made it through the top lock. Another boat had turned up just as the hotel boats were ready to leave. He managed to get in front. Lucky him because otherwise he would have had a very long wait.

Brick Kiln Lock. Telecommunication tower dominates the skyline.
Our pathetic little flag in support of team GB.

Well rugged horses crossing the bridge at Otherton Lock.
 Ian seemed very concerned that, in this heat, these two horses should have rugs on. I did point out that they were lightweight breathable summer rugs designed to keep the flies from irritating there skin.

Appears to be sinking. ( Hatherton Marina )

Traveling just 3 miles, we pulled over to the facilities at Penkridge to finally fill with water and empty the loo. We wanted to stay in Penkridge and await our good friends Carole and Allan on Nb Marmaduke.who were only a few miles behind us. Ian looked below lock and found all the moorings taken, and the only available space above lock was just before the lock landing. We managed to reverse into that spot before another boat turned up to take it.

Penkridge Lock

1 comment:

Jo (Boatwoman) said...

It sounds like a bit of patience was required at Gailey, which unfortunately some boaters seem to have little of these days, either that or the heat had gone to their heads. No point in shouting and swearing, it gets no one anywhere. Glad you managed to finally get under way though.
I could sell you some red, white and blue bunting to go with that flag he he he.
Have a wonderful day xxx

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