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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, 29 August 2014

Not a foot to be had at Boot Wharf

For once we had a lie in. No locks for us today having done Atherstone flight yesterday. Well okay, there was one lock to do but with a rise of just 6" (no pun intended men!) it was hardly worth mentioning. As we were about to leave, working boat Bascote and towing Gosport came past on their way to do a coal delivery somewhere on the Grand Union.Still have a long way to go and no doubt we will continue to see them as we are traveling the same route.

I do love to see these boats still doing what they were supposed to do. Not a big fan of the tonk-a tonk engines though. Dont think I could stand listening to that for hours on end. Ian would love to own a working boat but he will have to wait until I'm dead and buried and, if I have my way, that wont be for a very long time yet..

Nice to see some dredging taking place at long last and the towpaths being repaired. Shame no piling in place for us boaters to moor to, but I'm sure the walkers and cyclists will appreciate it.

We made good progress towards Nuneaton. We were still following Bascote and Gosport but they certainly didn't hang around averaging about 3.5 mph. The usual rubbish was ever present and bridge 'oles full of hidden hazards but it wasn't until we got to Boots Wharf that the fun began.

Now this is one place that is always a challenge to get by, plenty of moored boats on the offside and not helped by the odd few on the towpath side. So for Bascote towing Gosport this must have been a nightmare.

Approaching the Wharf

And then coming out of the bridge hole they met another boat. To say it was a tight squeeze is an understatement.

Breath in!!!
Then it was our turn to get through. Ian had reversed to allow the boat to get past but coming up at a rapid rate of knots from behind was another boat. Ian managed to get out of the way, but the chap behind had to jump of his boat onto the towpath in double quick time holding his center rope and heave with all his might to bring the his boat into the side and stop a collision. Another lesson taught  in the dangers of traveling to close.

Boots Wharf
The rest of the journey went without hitch. We passed the Ashby turn where the Shackerstone rally is to take place. Would loved to have supported the event but Milton Keynes and #1 son has requested our presence for Oscar birthday (will be 6), as well as his own (will be 39) in October.  We also have things planned in September and with our car being with Colin, it seemed logical that Milton Keynes was a good base to work from.

Our favoured mooring by bridge 11 on the North Oxford was already taken so instead we stopped at Ansty and just in time too as we had to dive into the boat pretty smartly as the rain arrived.

A while later we could hear tooting of a horn, laughter, loud shouts and high revs of an engine. Turns out to be a university bunch of lads and lasses on their way back from a weeks holiday. Told us they thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience other then being robbed while moored at the Dog and Doublet in Bodymoor Heath nr Marsden. Thieves stole, windlasses, mobile phones and even their clothes! It was upsetting for them at the time but they didn't let that spoil the holiday.

Tonight's moorings
Today's wildlife seen on route.

Don't worry folks.... just keep towpath side and you'll be alright.

How rude to show ones bottom!

Who me??

Isn't she a pretty duck

Tethered on the wide grassy strip on the start of the North Oxford.

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