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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, 22 July 2013

Long awaited thunderstorms finally arrives.

There is something magical about seeing the moon shinning down on the calm water on a clear night. This photo doesnt do it justice but I hope I have captured the tranquility and beauty of the scene that lay before us.

This was one mooring I would have loved to stay on but we had to leave and head off for a more beautiful river ( more wonderful then the Thames I wonder ) the river Wey.

A truly beautiful river.

 We had at least 6 mile to travel before Cleave lock and we estimated that if we left at 8am we would  arrive at the lock for 9.30am. Going through Wallingford bridge all the visitor moorings were full and I'm glad we stopped when we did as the height of the bank would have made it very difficult to get Jade of the boat.

Approaching Wallingford bridge

  Our estimate was spot on as we pulled onto the landing dead on time and we didnt even have to wait as the gate opened for us and we were beckoned in. Having left Cleave lock there was only about half a mile to do before Goring lock and again we were lucky when a boat leaving the lock meant we could sail straight in.  At the approach to this lock and perched on one of the post sat a heron. As we drew near I thought it strange it hadnt moved then the penny dropped. It was plastic!

The covering of cobwebs should have made me realise it was plastic. Dumb comes to mind!!

 Then on the run down to Whitchurch lock we met boat after boat of coxless pairs, coxless 4 and cox'd eight all in training with a support boat following close behind shouting out instructions. We had to keep dodging some of them as they strayed off the path but the majority kept a straight course and disappeared behind us. Within 10 minutes most were on the return journey and with a turn of speed soon left us behind.

Seems to be the easier option. Even the dog is keeping an eye on the proceedings.

4 of the men wore the team GB shirts from the Olympics. They looked exhausted and were all blowing hard but by Jove could they shift!
IWA festival was held here August 2010
Another empty landing when we arrived at Whitchurch lock. Now that the weekend is over the boat traffic has slowed down and we pretty much have the river to ourselves.

Whitchurch lock

The first weir that has loads of water running over it. Most of the others just had a trickle.
No end of people were enjoying this hot weather and took to the water for a dip. This chap, though, took the oppertunity to inspect his hull. Today is one of those days that I wish I could cool down in the river. With my leg wound still a bit mucky (although it is improving with the savlon wash) exposing it to the possibility of more bugs in the river is probably not a good idea.

After Mapledurham lock we started looking for somewhere to moor. The idea was to go shopping in Tilehurst and we noticed a good mooring by the railway with the footbridge across and easy access to the shops. I started to bring the boat in when Ian spied a notice pinned to a board which stated that the footbridge was closed. Fencing had been put up to stop anyone attempting the crossing so all we could do was to carry on and hope for another opportunity to moor. We had to travel all the way to Driveline marina beyond Tilehurst before we could pull in. By now it was 12.30pm. The walk into town took about 30 minutes and in this heat and humidity was no joke.We finally returned after an hour and a half and decided to stay where we were for the night as time meant finding a good mooring could be an issue.

Mooring at Driveline Marina
It is now 7pm and the long awaited thunderstorm is rumbling away in the distance. If it cools the air  bring it on because this humidity is just dreadful.

And finally:-

 White tailed bumble bee.

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