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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, 18 June 2015

I have a new depth checker, Ian! (all will be revealed!!!)

Right by our mooring at Hillmorton, a tree full of fledgling Swallows. I watched mum and dad swoop across the water picking off all those juicy flies. And the noise when the parents returned......

The rain arrived unexpectedly and interrupted my fishing but didn't really mind as only one small roach was caught. Then while I was watching DIY SOS the sky turned very orange. The rain had stopped and we witnessed another spectacular sunset. These photos show it more of a pink colour instead of the gold and orange that I saw. Maybe the camera is at fault?.

Looking in both directions, back and ....

And at the front

Then setting off early, like 6.45am, standing at the back chatting away to each other and drinking the third cup of tea in the space of an hour, Ian suddenly said 'Look, look' and pointed a finger. 'Where, where' said I looking all around. By an overhanging bush, perched as plain as you like, a Kingfisher. I grabbed the camera and was busy taking photos when Ian said, 'would you believe it there's another'! Was it a parent watching out for it's little one or a breeding pair? All I know was how lucky were we that they stayed without flying off.

Second perched nearby

The rest of the day was spent cruising and locking. Hillmorton locks were a dream. All empty so no having to wait for Ian to set the locks. Both of us reckon we have never done this flight so quick. 20 minutes! More then I can say for the Napton lot though.

Hillmorton bottom lock

Hillmorton top

Braunston church in the distance.
  At Braunston a very quick stop to top up the tank and empty loo before turning right onto the Grand Union. We only cruise this section of GU for about 4 miles, just until Napton Junction, then the GU heads off to the right and we go straight on, back onto the Oxford canal again. By 11am we had reached Napton flight. A boat coming towards us had warned of delays due to work boats loading by the lock, and three boats who had moored in one of the pounds all setting off together. So yet again our progress was slow. We did have help at only the first lock by 2 C&RT volunteers. With a lone boater 2 boats in front you would have thought one would have at least gone up with him. Anyway at the last but one another volunteer. A lady this time and a very welcome sight she was too. By the time we stopped to moor up it was gone 4pm.

Chaos at the bottom lock of the Napton flight.

Can only describe it as Manic!

Marsdon Doles lock and work boats moored all along. Just left room for one boat on the lock landing.

Lamb chops anyone??
So we moored or tried to. Now this is where my blog heading comes in. There was this bend you see, with cladding all around. No other suitable mooring had been seen so Ian decided to stop. He pulled FS back as far away from the bend as possible but ran out of cladding. Okay lets pull the boat forward again a tad. He found a suitable point at which to put in the cladding pin, I was holding the bow rope, when suddenly I heard.......'Oh no (actually it was a lot bluer then that)!!'. Looked round I was just in time to see him disappear beneath the waves!!!. Apparently trying to place the pin in the cladding, it gave way and all Ian could do was go with it! Well I laughed and laughed and laughed much to his annoyance.....at first. Then seeing the funny side he posed for this photo.

Now I know he doesn't look very wet here, but trust me, everything except his hat was dripping. Thank goodness he had taken his phone out of his pocket only moments before the incident and I'm amazed his glasses stayed where they were. He did manage to get out by putting his feet down and giving a shove. His feet didn't sink into to much mud and he reckoned that there was enough depth of water for the boat. At least 4 ft! Ian...dont do it again...my stomach cant stand the laughter!

 Cant believe we have done 17.5 miles today and 12 locks. Mind you it has taken us 8 hours 30 mins and we are now well ahead of schedule.Hopefully we will meet up with friends Dave and Heather on nb Vixon at Thrupp. Then it's off to the Thames, Lechlade and K&A.


Adam said...

My favourite bit of canal trivia concerns the shared Oxford / GU section between Braunston and Napton. Someone going south on the Oxford (like you) travels it in one direction. But someone going south on the GU is going the opposite way!

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

That sounds daft and most confusing. Good to know though, in case I'm ever asked. Thanks. Xx

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