About Us

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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 June 2015

Worrying moment on the Thames and a difficult mooring at Tesco

Earlier then normal start for us this morning. No chance to say farewell to Marilyn and Dave but hopefully we may see them when we return to the Thames after the K&A.

Goring lock was literally a stones throw from Cleeve lock. Self service as we were too early for the lock keeper. We still wasn't the first to arrive though, as a boat had beaten us to it below the lock.

More canoeist but this time team GB with the lady canoeists pacing themselves, first upstream and then powering on downstream.

 At Maplethorpe lock we emptied the cassettes. It was a bit fraught at first, as we had plastics in front of us and behind and canoeists hogging most of the landing. A narrowboat was already on the service mooring pumping out so Dave had to squeeze Vixen on the end. For us to get in we had to ask the canoeists to move forward.

 Then coming through reading Ian suddenly threw FS into reverse. Not sure what was going on until I spied the upturned canoe. Where was it's occupant? Two paddles in the water and a lone canoeist frantically shouting for us to stop. 'Do you need help?' shouts I. 'No' came the reply 'Everything is under control'. Still had no idea if anyone was trapped but judging by his total lack of concern, assumed not.

Seems the young girl in pink life jacket not holding the rope was the one to go in.
 By now the rain had arrived with vengeance. One more lock to do, Caversham, before our Tesco shop. We were soaked and I envied the lock keepers their brolly.

Caversham lock.

Meeting the African Queen
It was only about half a mile from the lock that we came upon the Tesco mooring. Ian chatting to the lock keeper was told we didnt stand any chance of getting moored. The continues moorers had once again taken the prime spot. Two spaces looked to be usable but both were a tad to small for us to fit.

So only one other option open and that was between two trees. Not ideal as the trunks came out well over the water. We had no choice but to attempt to get in.A chap in a cruiser helped by taken our rope. The back end stuck out a mile and the front only went in so far. The trunk was also an issue so out came my seat cover from the bow and Ian wrapped it round the trunk and securely tied it on.

Dave coming into breast up

Tesco shop completed and Ian returning the trollys
2pm we set off and did the turn onto the K&A

 Still officially on the Thames, Blakes lock was the last of the Thames large locks. The Self Service boards were up and the last lock to be operated by the paddle wheels. Soon the dust was to be brushed of the windlass as we were back to the broad canal locks again.

Blakes Lock

Push the button Dave. We had to wait for the green light.

Green light and off we go.

Right through the center of Reading. Not allowed to stop unfortunately.

County lock after the traffic lights

One of the fiercest weirs I have encountered. Fobney lock
It was gone 5pm when we found our first decent mooring right by the Cunning Man pub. It's been a long day 9 hours and some difficult moments but at least we made it onto the K&A. For us this is new territory so we have no idea what adventures are to come. No doubt we will find out in the weeks to come.

And on route

Ladybird larva

And beginning it's change

Egyptian Geese

1 comment:

Jennie said...

Irene I am in awe that you are so up to date with your blog - I am days behind with ours! We are at the other end of the K & A in Caen Hill Marina. Both the Cleddau crew and ourselves are going home for just over a week. We will be on the move again on Friday 10th July - I will keep reading your blog - we may pass somewhere! We came onto the K & A two days ago and have found it pretty chaotic with lots of moving boats, but even more moored ones. Some have obviously not moved in months! 'Wild moorings' are the order of the day! If you go to Bath and have not done the 'Bizarre Bath' evening walk I thoroughly recommend it. Are you planning on going to Bristol? We loved it there and would like to have stayed longer. We moored opposite The SS Great Britain - it seemed safe and was quite quiet. Jennie, nb Tentatrice

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