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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.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Hey.. It's Maffi. Good job we didnt meet a few locks earlier. What would he have thought of me!

Roughly 4 hours. Thats how long it took to do all the 29 locks from Devizes (including the famous 16 on the Caen Hill) to Martinslade.

Lock 50, Kennet lock, and the first on the Caen Hill flight. Time 7.10am

daunting ain't it!

Like a pair of pro's. Side by side all the way down the flight. In and.......


Fair few completed.
By now both men were starting to look weary. They had, after all, been dashing to and fro to get the locks set ready for us for 2 hours. Then the last on the Caen Hill 16. We still had another 6 to do but finally both men could have a bit of a rest. Two C&RT men arrived and set the next few locks for them. But first we had to do lock 28. And herein lies a tale

Heather and I had done our usual side by side bit and had literally just got into the lock when a sudden gust of wind took our brand new £6.99 K&A map clean off the roof! I did no more the leap off FS, run to where it had gone in, lay down of the cold concrete and tried grabbing it. In doing so I ripped the map almost in two but save it I did. Unbeknown by me Ian was taking a photo of the flight and captured my ungainly position.

Me lying prostrate by the paddle gear.

Dried out and ready to stick together
Three locks after this incident who should we meet at lock 23? Why the best known guy on the system, Maffi. After hugs and a quick chat about the new addition to Milly M, (could one call that a bit gruesome? but oh, wouldn't that make a great figure head) Maffi then left us to continue on up the flight. Wonder where next we will meet. He does pop up in the most unexpected places!

Do you think there's a slight resemblance????
The bottom lock was in sight at last. As the gates opened we were greeted by this!!! How a wide beam would cope is anyone's guess.

Hire boats three abreast!
 Mind you I would love to be a fly on the wall when this boat Summers Lease arrived at the yard. In fact I hope the hire fleet tell him where to go 'cause two more horrible men I have yet to meet.

They were already coming up when Ian and Dave arrived at the lock. I managed to pull onto the landing but Heather decided to hover mid stream. Then those men started whingeing  that Heather was to move over because they had a draft of 3ft and must stay in the middle. I got onto our walkie talkie to Heather who dutifully moved into an empty mooring space. Only trouble was the shallow water. Her bow kept swinging out and these men kept on and on about how she must give way. Ian then ran to her aid, took the center rope and pulled her in as far as possible. As the two men started moving forward they tried to make friendly conversation asking me about the dogs. I reluctantly told them both dogs were dead and then..... one of the men had the audacity to ask why I still had 'and dogs' on the side of my boat as they were no longer around. Well I saw red and told him in no uncertain terms that if he wanted to cough up the money so we could have a new paint job, feel free!! That shut him up but inside I was seething. How could anyone be so insensitive! Anyway having had a moan about it to Heather when she joined me I felt much better especially as I had thoughts of him getting stuck in one of the locks on the flight. Only one boat at a time had to enter of leave as the lock walls by the bottom gate was narrower then most.  And then, when he met that hire boat yard..........well....

We did another 3 locks and called it quits. The rain had started and Heather wanted to watch the tennis. So by 13.15 we found the perfect mooring by the Barge Inn. Tomorrow Bradford on Avon 2 locks and 7 miles. Think we may just get have a lie in tomorrow morning.

 And wildlife on route

Heron went to every full lock to catch it's breakfast. Must know this flight very well.


Maffi said...

Do you think I need a haircut?

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Definitely not. Enhances your good looks. Xxx

Maffi said...

Good Looks eh! Now I know you are topped up :)

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