About Us

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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, 1 April 2016

And the smoke poureth in.

Leaving Birmingham along the Main line we headed toward Tipton where the BCNS Spring cruise to Bradley workshops would start on Saturday.  It was still early but the contractors for C&RT were already hard at work laying asphalt for the Lycra clad cyclists to go even faster and terrorise us walkers and boaters even more. Still I suppose we just have to except that C&RT for once got it wrong and thought that the cyclist  would ride sedately along the towpath giving way to everyone with a friendly smile.

Birmingham Main line forks at Smethick Junction, right for the Wolverhampton Level, which we could have taken to Tipton, or straight on which we thought was a quicker route. Three locks would have to be negotiated whichever way we went but we chose to turn left off the Main Line onto the Gower Branch and do the one single and two staircase Brades locks instead.

Wolverhampton Level to the right. We carried straight on

Smethwick pumping station and museum

Bromford Junction

At Bromford Junction, Spon Lane locks are to the left. Main line to the right.

Gower Branch off to the left before the island

Brades locks
By mid morning we arrived at Tipton. Jo and Keith NB Hadar was already moored and motioned to us to moor alongside. It was lovely to meet again as it must have been two years since we last saw them. Off course the conversation didn't stop and we put the world to rights over a cup of coffee made by Jo. The inevitable happened......we talked toilets. Yep it is all true, forget discussing the weather, us boaters do love talking about their loos!!!

Having had lunch and walked into Tipton to do a spot of shopping, we opened up to discover we had a stowaway. How it got there I haven't a clue as this particular Weevil is a pest to conifers such as Pine and Spruce. Maybe it jumped on board as we brushed past some bushes. Anyway it offered me a great opportunity for a photo or two.

hylobius piceus or Conifer Weevil

Look at the size of it! Bigger than part of the hinge.

Jo and Keith came for a visit later, another coffee and plenty of natter. I was worried that they may get cold as we had to let the stove go out due to smoke blow back through the door. After they left Ian gave a chimney a good sweep, lit the fire and..........blooming 'eck even more smoke pouring in. We had both smoke alarms bleeping away and then the carbon monoxide alarm got going. We have no idea why this is happening. Needless to say out came the water spray and the fire was doused pretty quickly. So no heating tonight for us other than the diesel heater. Still we are off to the pub later with some of the other boaters moored. At least that will warm us up!!!

And a few photos from the journey.

These Geese appeared to be together. One Grey Legged and a Canada Goose.

What a place to build a nest. Will you look at all that rubbish

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