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, 22 July 2012

Slight change of plan

Seems we dont have to rush back to Langley Mill after all. Christine phoned us yesterday with the news that Ians chemo wont be starting until 13th August. This gives us a bit more cruising time so, although we will still do the Wolverhampton 21, we are going to attempt the Wednesbury Oak Loop tomorrow. 
There is a funny story to tell, first, before I continue. An Alvechurch hire boat (70ft) with two lovely  people from an unknown foreign land,  turned up late last night at The Black Country museum and moored by the facilities. Ian took Jade out before 7am and the lady on board was already up and dressed. She asked Ian if he was the tunnel keeper. Ian said no, and she then asked if he knew what  time they could go through. Ian laughed and said the only boat allowed through Dudley tunnel was a trip boat. She thought for a moment and asked if it was possible to go through Netherton Tunnel. Ian, of course, said yes. She then looked a bit perplexed and said that, as they were such a long boat, would they fit!!!!

So, leaving quite late this morning, we turned right onto the Wolverhampton Level, left onto the Gower Branch and locked down Brades 3 locks ( the first and second being staircase locks ).

Waiting for Brades top lock after turning left onto the Gower Branch

Staircase lock

Looking beyond to the third lock on the Brades flight

Huge gate on the staircase.

Had a slight panic wondering  if we would get under the bridge with the Buckby cans.

Then it was onwards to the Birmingham level main line with another left turn at the end.

Birmingham main line
 We were now heading back toward Factory Locks. In other words nearly completed a circuit. Why did we do this, you might ask. Well, we have never travelled up Factory locks or gone down them, for that matter, so it seemed the logical thing to do. All along the birmingham main line was fishing matches, which slowed us down cosiderably,  They also invade the lock landing so I felt that something had to be said!!

 Once I had successfully entered the first lock, amidst scowls from the fisherman as I waited mid stream for the lock to be made ready, we realised we may have a bit of a problem. The first pound was down but that was nothing to what the second pound was like. I managed to get into the second lock, just, and Ian started to run water down from the top. Then the  C&RT bods turned up. They immediately took hold of the reins, so Ian  turned control over to them.

First pound was low but the next......

Didn't rise up very far!

Ian running water down

Stating to fill

Leakage from bottom gate. No wonder the pound gets so low!

Another low bridge

Nice volunteer C&RT bod
We did ask the C&RT guy where we could moor safely tonight. He categorically stated that we should not attempt to get anywhere near the Wolverhampton 21 but instead try to moor at Coseley Stop just before the tunnel. So by 1pm we were moored up and hoping for a trouble free night.

Coseley Stop

The bridge is blocked off, thank goodness.


Bruce in Sanity said...


Don't know what the CRT guy was talking about; there's perfectly good mooring at the top of the Wolves 21, choice of a basin or some offside mooring inaccessible from the outside world.

Hope you had a good night and a good run down today!



Nicholas said...

I haven't been for a while but I stopped for a quick shopping trip just above Wolverhampton top lock (tow path side) a couple of years ago , lovely park area with willows and benches etc until on closer inspection we noticed lots of used syringes under the bench so perhaps not so nice at night ... may well be better on the off side or in the basin as Bruce suggests.

Jo (Boatwoman) said...

We have moored at the top of the 21 on the offside, cut off from the world, and it was fine as was the towpath side. But I guess they have to cover themselves in case something should happen.
As for Ian's Chemo, the powers that be will make their mind up at some point. But great that you can cruise for a bit longer.
Love to you both xxxxx

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