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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, 28 July 2013

Will we or wont we get under the bridge.

The long awaited storms arrived with vengeance last night. The thunder rumbled for ages and Ian estimated the eye of the storm to be roughly a mile away. ( counting how many seconds between lightening and thunder.)  All I know it was blooming loud! Dog shook at the first sign and continued to shake for ages. She even refused a chewy so must have been stressed. The torrential rain continued well into the evening and as a precaution Ian slackened the ropes in case the river rose. It was with trepidation that I looked out the bedroom window this morning and wondered if we were still tied to the bank. Phew......we were still securely moored although both ropes had gone taught. Today we hoped to get to St Catherine's lock past Guildford, moor up and walk to the lowest bridge on the River to see if we would fit under it. With rain forecast we set off a bit earlier and within 5 minutes got to Papercourt lock. On our guide there is a warning of strong cross currant below the lock but with a bit of power she sailed in.
 
Paper Court lock

Most of the locks we encountered today had top gates left open so the time it took to close gates, empty lock, rope up and slowly, and I mean slowly cause the force of the water was pretty turbulent and we could only crack one paddle bit by bit, and ascend took at least 20 minutes. What we found unique about Triggs lock pictured above was the amount of lock paddles gear on the bottom gates. They appear as if they could still be used but Ian only lifted the two end paddles.


Triggs lock
 Traveling along this waterway one can see why it is raved about. It is rural, quiet and most of all very beautiful. Definatly goes onto my all favourite rivers.
 

There are certain parts of this river that can catch the unawares. Even with our guide book telling us to keep right or left its sometimes easier to do ones own thing. We knew the bend at Broad Oak bridge was sharp, and we made it round okay but you are almost immediatly confronted with two arches of the bridge to go through. As Ian was on the left side of the river he chose the left arch. Nothing on the bridge to say any different. We made it through okay but on looking back the navication notice was for the right arch. See what I mean about doing your own thing!


Sharp R turn at Broad Oak bridge ( yes that is the bridge with the two arches )

Weir on the left

We went through the R arch as you look back. Should have gone through the L
 Then to catch us out yet again with me at the helm this time, I came round a left hand bend and there right in front of me was the lock. It was almost impossible to get to the landing and having our first bit of luck of the day, found the bottom gates open beckoning us in. How to get Ian off though. The only ladder was on the left wall and so with a lot of maneuvering managed to get Ian to the ladder.
Bowers lock

Bowers lock with considerable gate leakage. I sat well back on the bottom gate, after all my washing was hanging in the cratch!

By now time was marching on and another 2 locks to go before Guildford. On the outskirts of Guildford we pulled in to do a very quick Tesco Shop. There are a few moorings opposite the cinema which are 24 hour mooring. Not a single boat on them. Could have something to do with the reputation the local youths have given this town. Anyway we made our way through Milmead lock in the heart of the town where we were closely watched by the usual  onlookers.

Having decided to walk to the bridge we tried to find a mooring near to it. Nothing at all before St Catherine's lock although we did try several times. Nothing for it but wind round and moor on the meadow and walk the half a mile to the bridge.

moored on the meadow
And the answere to my post title......... We are still not sure but the river gauge stated the levels to be 2 mtr and we need 1mtr 90. It will be close but we are going to try for it. My post tomorrow might be full of woe or full of glee hopefully the latter.



And finally:-

This bee was tiny.
Brown Argus









3 comments:

James and Debbie said...

You just need to invite the local rugby team aboard to get a bit more air draft :-)

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

I'd love to invite those lovely Rugby boys on board.(: Think Ian may get a little jealous though. Apparently Ian has decided that I should do nicely as ballast instead!

Jo (Boatwoman) said...

I remember when we tried to get under that bridge, we had to put the mast down and take the water cans off the roof and chimneys down and we still only just made it, bearing in mind we were also lower in the water as we were loaded with coal. A boat coming in the opposite direction stood no chance of getting under with its roof full of stuff and almost got stuck as they fought to reverse the boat. I like the idea of the rugby boys coming and giving you a hand hahahaha. Great posting as always. Jo xxxxxx

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