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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, 1 November 2015

Merlin move final day.....and cruising almost blind

 Well... seems the met office was right. Weatherman yesterday foretold of foggy weather to come but by 'eck it was like a pea souper this morning. In fact visibility only improved slightly all day.

From our mooring looking back to Filance lock

And forward to the bridge 'ole
Both of the above photos were taken before 8am and within 15 minutes a fisherman appeared. He set up in the bridge 'ole fixing his keep net in the most stupid place, just right for a boat to pick it up round the prop.

 So pulling pins a bit later, I left for the first lock of the day, Penkridge lock. Ian walked on to get it set and had a word with the said fisherman about his net. A stony stare and no acknowledgement was all he got for his trouble.

My first challenge today was trying to find the lock! I could hear Ian winding the paddles but couldn't see him at all. All I could do was creep forward until a shape came into view. I felt very vulnerable in these dangerous conditions but we had to get to Great Hayward today before the Anglo Welsh yard closed so we had to keep going.

Penkridge lock is there somewhere!!!

The view leaving Penkridge lock

And heading for the next lock, Longford.

Longford lock

And a boat having left his mooring heading for Penkridge. He's as daft as us traveling in these conditions but like us he needed to leave to get through the stoppage which starts on Monday at Otherton.

 What a day to have a fishing match!!! All good natured, waving and speaking to us as we cruised slowly past. We counted at least 20 all spread out between bridges.

Park gate lock by Midland Chandlers
 By the time we reached Tixall lock early afternoon (made better time then we expected) the fog had started to lift. Not wanting to arrive at Anglo Welsh yard before 3pm we decided to stop on the Wide for an hour, but wasn't sure if there were any spaces to be had.

Tixall Lock
But wow........ both of us surprised to see no boats moored on this popular spot. So we stopped to get the boat cleaned and cupboards emptied (not that there was much food left) before setting off for the junction.

Tixall Wide

Mooring just before the Wide

Just the three boats moored on the Wide as we headed for Anglo Welsh

Having arrived we were directed to where we had to moor. A space between boats by the paint dock. Only way to back into the space was go through the bridge onto the T&M, wind and then head back.

Anglo Welsh yard Great Hayward

Merlin nicely tucked between the boats!
Have seen Carl (assistant manager) who was to give us a lift back to Bunbury, it was arranged for tomorrow around 11am so seems we have another night on Merlin. Beer and wine unpacked again ready for tonight, good job they were easy to find and, with us not having to get up to early, can sup it all if we so want.

And on route,

Seen at the Wide

Lucky to get him as I only had my Panasonic camera at the time. He was perched right by the aqueduct as we approached Anglo Welsh's yard.
Glistening web in the fog

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