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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.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Oh dear. We may have made a mistake!

Not the quietest of moorings here at Tesco, being 24 hours the traffic came and went throughout the night. Rain was once again forecast for today and we didn't really want to move but sitting on a 24 hour mooring for another day just didn't seem right. So we left to leave room for other boats and, although dry at first, it wasn't long before the drizzle started. Ian jokingly said that no doubt as soon as we get onto the Slough Arm it would rain. Wish he'd kept his mouth shut!!

Anyway it wasn't a bad journey along the first part of Southern GU although not a big fan of this section. Rubbish was very much in evidence and the problematic floating Pennywort was also seen. This is another plant species that can play havoc on the waterways. It usually forms dense low-growing mats rooting on wet soil near water and can spread across the whole width of the channel. What was just a few patches on the GU turned out to be much more serious further along.

Come rain or shine the grass cutting crew were doing their best to keep the towpaths clear. This time I was pleased to see them stop strimming at moored boats, something other crews in different areas fail to do. One boat had it's own garden to attend. Quite how he sees over the top to navigate is anyones guess. Then another boat had smoke pouring from his chimney. I know the weather isn't brilliant but it's definitely not cold. As we went past his front doors were wide open. Probably a little too hot inside now!!!

 Then we ran into another boat, literally. Couldn't really miss it although I did try. Kept coming at us you see but no harm done, at least I didn't sink it. Debated whether to take it and attach to the stern as somewhere to put Ian if he got troublesome. He said it was more like the other way round. Smiley

Just after a footbridge between bridges 191 and 190 was the turn into the Slough Arm. Not immediately clear at first where it was but it soon came into view. What wasn't clear until to late what we were going to be up against.

Slough Arm on the left

Turned by Cowley Peachy Junction and Oh dear whats that ahead

Soon found out.

Floating Pennywort everywhere. Notice the bridge number 0 Is this the only one on the system?
 Having committed ourselves we managed to weave around the Pennywort, went past the Packet Boat Marina entrance which was also the last winding point for nearly a mile and felt like first time explorers having no idea what to expect. Then came the rain!!! From a bit of drizzle suddenly someone turned on a tap above. At first there was no where to stop but luckily a stretch of moorings showed itself. Got onto them as quick as possible and into the dry. And that is where we have stayed. The rain got heavier and a thunder storm broke out lasting for nearly an hour. No point in continuing today and anyway I want to have a walk to see what lies ahead as soon as the rain stops. If we have to back up then it's only about half a mile to the marina entrance.Would rather go to the terminus 'cause after all that's what we set out to do but will have to see what tomorrow brings.

Just before I posted this the rain about stopped and we went for a walk. This is what we found. Still not sure whether to proceed but Ian wants to know where my sense of adventure is. Somehow I think we will be going on!!!



Tom and Jan said...

We went to the end. I think you are going to be disappointed!

Neil Corbett said...

I hope you don't mind Irene, I sent a copy of your photo of the canal blocked with pennywort to CRT London. As it's the Slough canal festival in about ten days time, they ought to be clearing it, especially as they want me to take widebeam Jena down there for them. Getting a widebeamer through the shallows in some areas is hard enough as it is. Good luck if you are attempting the passage. I look forward to seeing how you get on.


Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hello Neil,

Don't mind at all. We met a lady who has a residential mooring in the Packet Boat She told us that a weed collecting boat had been used to clear it from the marina. Could not understand why they didn't continue along the arm.

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