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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.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

A Challenging day. Wednesday 10th June

Gosh it's been an interesting day with plenty of challenges to keep us on our toes. It started easily enough, leaving Ocker Hill and doing the right turn onto the Tame Valley canal. Now  that's a name that conjures up some images of majestic  trees, fields of ripening corn wafting in the breeze, sloping hills, flowers  delighting the senses, but no, one would be wrong...... It was a far cry from being picturesque, boringly straight for miles, towpaths on both sides meant more walkers, cyclists, runners and early morning beer drinkers. Wacky baccy wafted in the air as we made our way through discarded drink cans, bottles, rubbish etc.

 The grass cutting team obviously only do this stretch infrequently but then.. wow.. when we turned left at Rushall Junction onto the Rushall Canal, it was almost as if we had been transported elsewhere.  No rubbish, neat edges and mown paths.

Saying that, this was also the canal where we had the most problems. Having picked up a load of rubbish round the prop on the Tame Valley canal, as soon as we arrived at the bottom lock of the Rushall flight, Ian did the rubbish removal bit. I left him with his hand tugging away at something unmentionable and went to empty the first and second lock.  What I found as I walked to the second lock was a near  empty pound. The fishes just about had enough water but as for us......  forget it.

So I walked on to run water down. By now Ian had finished his rummaging and got fed up waiting. When I eventually arrived back he was already in the lock and all set to do it himself. Anyway we sorted out the lack of water problem but then we had gate problems! At lock 4 and 2 the gates refused to stay open. Out comes the trusty pole to hold the gates but it took all Ian's strength to keep them open and unfortunately I rattled them pretty hard as I went in.  Surely this can't be good for the gates. I don't suppose I was the first to go through when they were still partly closed and no doubt many will just barge into them. Another email to C&RT me thinks.

Then more problems. The mile pound between lock 3 and 2 was extremely low. Ian had found a top paddle raised and bottom half open at lock 3 which inevitably took the water levels down by about a foot. Very slow going to lock 2 and thankfully Ian got off at the bridge and walked the quarter mile to the lock 'cause I very much doubted that I would have got into the side.

The Mile pound

Here again the gates refused to stay open, so for Ian to get the pole again, I had to nose the bow into the bank. Pole also came in handy pushing me off the mud.

Then coming along the towpath from lock 1, Dennis the deputy Harbourmaster of Longwood Boat club. Our rally moorings were to be below lock 1 so really we could have stayed at the bottom but with water needed (tap above the lock) and the fact that we have to head back on Sunday to give us time to get to the Thames,  we ascended the lock, filled our water tank, emptied the cassette, winded and came back down the lock onto the allocated mooring. No boats with us yet  but I expect to see more when we return from our trip to Nottingham tomorrow. It's my consultant appointment to find out the result of my MRI scan. The car has been ordered for midday (Enterprise again) and I do so hope I will finally have a diagnosis on why I have pins and needles down my leg and pain in the hip area. With the internet almost nonexistent here at Longwood (I have had to post this at Christine on route to the hospital) therefore my next post won't be until Sunday evening. 

Wildside Jam Butty moored on the corner.

Moored ready for the rally to start

  And wildlife on route

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