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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, 9 March 2016

Fishing line and birds....not a good combination.

Think we got it wrong somehow, choosing the worst day of the week to leave Langley.  Sandiacre was our destination and with Mick and Carole heading down the canal as well, we joined forces to brave the wind and rain. The rain had fallen relentlessly all night and any hope that it would blow itself through was dashed as soon as we woke. Water levels in the Basin had risen quite considerably and Ian found himself paddling to open the lock.

Water levels considerably higher then normal

  So once Mick and Carole arrived, waterproofs were donned and we headed for Langley Bridge lock. (Not Langley Mill Lock as shown on the balance beam)

Electra on it's way

 Carole decided to lock wheel up to Gallows Inn so all but one lock was set by her fair hand. It was as we approached Stenson lock that Mick spied something hanging from a tree. As we were at some distance behind Electra, our initial thought was Mick had got the boat well and truly stuck. Then pulling alongside to give him a hand he pointed to the Magpie. Well the poor thing was dangling from the end of fishing line. The line was wrapped round two tree branches and it was anyone's guess how long it had been hanging there. Mick did no more then get onto Electra's cabin top with the boat hook to try and free the bird. After I took some photos I rushed to the front to get my fishing net and scissors to cut it down. By the time I returned the bird, in it's panic, had freed itself. It fluttered to the ground (thankfully not in the canal) but whether it will be able to fly I'm not so sure. The wing was hanging at a strange angle so, could it be broken? I don't know. It managed to hop into the undergrowth but as to it's fate....well who knows. Fishing line with hook still attached is a real problem to wildlife. Trouble is once the line is cast and caught in tree's, bushes etc, the only way to get out of that situation is to snap the line. Retrieval of the hook and line is usually impossible, hence the problem with wildlife getting caught up in it. Barbed hooks are the worse and as a fisher-person feel they should be banned. I cant see an end to this problem, because there will always be people wanting to fish.

After Barkers lock the towpath was closed. C&RT are replacing old piling and installing new. The towpath is also going to be resurfaced to which no doubt the cyclist will be pleased! Anyway we managed to get by that hazard only to meet another as we rounded a bend. The pusher and pan heading in our direction. Thankfully he pulled hard over onto the towpath side and with us shouting a warning about Electra following, he stayed instead of pulling out.

We eventually arrived back in Sandiacre feeling very cold and wet. The wind had picked up and that reverse into the Derby Arm was interesting. Both Carole and I struggled to get the boats in but with a lot of manoeuvring and Ian and Mick on rope pulling duties, we managed to get safely moored. Here we stay until after the stoppage at Shardlow lock on the 22nd. The only concession C&RT gave to us after the Pie and Pea do was a measly 2 hours longer. So instead of closing the stop lock at 6am on the 13th, they will shut it at 8am. How do they think we are going to get down the Erewash to Trent lock (3 locks), up the Trent to Sawley lock, through that, up the last bit of the Trent to Derwent Mouth lock and through the stop gates at Shardlow in under two hours!!! It would mean all of us would be leaving Sandiacre well before 5am on that Sunday. Needless to say we wont be having as many boats attend as usual and we will be stuck here now until they finish! 

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