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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.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Moving Sun Dance day 1 and another mishap by Yarnton bridge

It was torrential!!! We woke to rain, traveled all the way to Oxford in the rain (spray was awful) and arrived at Eynsham in the rain!! Then eureka.... blue sky in the distance. Managed to load Sun Dance in the dry, struggled to put all the food away, (being a small boat storage is almost non existent) Struggled to find somewhere to put clothes (only two drawers available under the bed) found we only had one bath towel and one hand towel for the both of us (soon rectified by the manager but he struggled to find extra towels as all the linen was now no longer on any of the hire fleet) found out no fenders were available and worse of all no cladding pins! (Apparently not needed on a hire boat based on a river), What there was were pins but without the usual eyes so ropes would just have to be looped round them and fingers crossed we don't loose any!

Leaving the base

Had a gongoozler watching Ian winding.

Sad sight
So having arrived by 10.30am we were away by 11.15. The Thames was choppy as the wind was quite strong but Sun Dance is a nice little boat and handles very well. We took our time to enjoy the river but all to soon arrived at Eynsham lock. On Self Service so we didn't bother roping (I know smack my hand) as the drop in level was slight.

Bit choppy

Eynsham lock

 Soon we arrived at the fork where Dukes Cut goes off to the left with Kings Lock to the right. It was on the approach to Dukes Cut lock that we had a long hold up. Two boats, one in reverse and the other tied to it and facing forward, was trying to get to the lock.  The chap on the green boat was steering by using the pole. I managed to get Ian off at the bridge and thought I was as well to stay within the bridge 'ole boundary (that wind was a right menace!) and waited over 45 minutes before Ian finally beckoned me to the lock. Instead of rising to the Oxford Canal I descended!!! Very strange considering one would normally lock up from a river! There had been a slight rise in water levels but wouldn't have thought it enough to warrant going down. Maybe someone can put me right on this phenomenon. Anyway I stayed below the lock waiting, as Ian again had to help the reversing boat. He was heading back to his mooring after collecting the pink boat for his daughter to live in. So another 20 minute wait before I was finally able to make the left turn and ascend the lock.

Dukes Cut to the left

Using the pole to steer

Waiting below Duke Cut lock to do the left turn to Dukes lock

Green boat arrives back at it's mooring

Only lift bridge today.

Do you remember my disaster on hitting Yarnton bridge 'ole and knocking our Buckby can spout clean off? (click here) Well that same bridge got me again! This time I was trying to stay well over the towpath side because Ian was fishing with the sea magnet in the hope we may be able to find the spout (I had my doubts after 5 months) All that happened was the wind pushed me against the far side brickwork and the hand rail ended up gently wedged on the side. Ian had to rush for'ard and give a hefty push. The spout was given up as a bad job!!!

Not a true curve thats why I knocked the spout from the Buckby can

Ian going fishing

Slightly wedged
Got to Roundham lock and not a sign of C&RT. In fact all traces off them ever being there were gone. Up we went and as time was now around 3.30ish we decided to stop.

Total today 7 miles and 5 locks. Wet tomorrow, (says the met office) so whether we move  or stay is a decision for tomorrow.

Roundham lock

Moored above
 And on route,

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