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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.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

A very rare sighting indeed!

What a great day for the first cruise of the year. Got up this morning raring to go and was all ready to push across to the lock when the same problem as yesterday occurred, engine wouldn't start! Seems the battery charger was knackered so a battery loaned from ECP&DA and our jump leads, got the beast roaring in life, much to our relief. Mick and Carol soon joined us in the lock and with some of the ECP&DA members waving us good riddance we were on our way a tad after 10am.

Electra reversing out of the basin

Through the swingbridge
 With light winds, the occasional very light shower, and even a glimpse of the sun now and then, the journey down to Sandiacre was a joy. Several locks were in our favour, most surprising as a boat had left in front of us several hours earlier. Those that had filled was obviously due to leakage although at Greens lock a dirty great branch was stuck in the top gate paddle. Ian lifted the paddle gear just enough to flush said branch out.

Branch holding the paddle open

Job done
 We had one hold up when we came across the dredger. Amazed that the Erewash was being dredged and even more amazed how much mud and debris there was. A length of nearly 1/4 mile along the railway embankment, had the spoil dumped there and fencing put up.

The highlight today was my first ever sighting of a water rail. Not commen in these parts so a very rare sighting indeed. Plenty of water fowl around and when the coots fight you know spring is just around the corner!

Water Rail


Tuffted duck

And then there it was, just past Pastures lock, the partially sunken boat mentioned in last Novembers blog. We knew C&RT had removed it from the Erewash but hadnt realised they dumped it in a field!

 Arriving at Sandiacre 4.5 hours after we set off from Langley it was just a matter of reversing into the Derby arm, stoking up the fire, sorting the aerial and settle down with a nice cup of tea and a slice of my home made coffee and walnut cake. Smashing. What a fabulous end to a wonderful day.   

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