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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, 22 May 2016

Do we need guiding in!!!

Saturday 21st

 Gosh didn't it rain last night. Torrential it was and it filled my pot catching the drips from the cratch cover tie backs (pours in through the stitching) with well over 2" of water. Not sure how to stop the water getting in. Need some sort of waterproof liquid to paint over all the joins.

Nearly didn't move today 'cos we were expecting more rain but the sun was out and only a few clouds in the sky so we made a break for it. Unfortunately the sun didn't stay with us and before long the rain started again.Left Ian to steer while I stayed inside. Did offer as my trusty brolly would have come with me but he's such a martyr and told me to stay in the dry.! By the time we reached Worsley it had all but stopped outside. Not inside though, as Ian,  wet through, left a trail of puddles through the boat.

Cant believe it's been 8 years since Ian and I have travelled this waterway and nothing of it do I remember, not even crossing the Barton Swing Aqueduct over the Manchester Ship canal.

Lighthouse on the Canal???? To read all about it click here

At Worsley I have fond memories of a towpath haircut by the facility moorings. It was July 2008 and the BIF's (Bracken, Icing and Free Spirit) were on their way to cross the tidal Douglas, river Ribble  to the Lancaster canal. It was tipping it down and Dave was coerced into holding the unbrello over both Heather and me.

July 2008 and Heather doing a great job once the sun came out..

Bracken then Icing then us on the Douglas
Here we stopped for water. In the photo above the facilities are plain to see. When we arrived this morning the block appeared closed. The black door had bars across it and looked as if it was no longer in use. Ian did try the BW key and sure enough the door unlocked  So water and Elsan is still available after all. Having filled the tanks (tap very slow) it was off for a walk to find the disused Delph Arm and mines

The Black and white house was called the Packet house. From the stone steps in front of the house travellers were collected by the Duke Of Bridgewater packet boats for journeys to Manchester, Warrington and Runcorn.

This is all that can be seen. The mines are not open to the public so we couldn't get any nearer

Entrance to one of the mines

Photos from Astley Pit Museum

Underground mines.

The canal has an orange tint due to the water coming from the mines containing traces of iron ore.
The underground canals were last used to bring the coal out in 1887. Disused mine barges in 189o
Today it all looks very different.
When we arrived back at FS she was covered in small seeds from the trees, all stuck to the top and sides due to the wet conditions. Ian had only just washed her so he was not amused. Heavy rain is forecast for later so maybe that will do the job for him and wash them away.

We did continue our journey and the rain came almost as soon as we left Worsley. Another soaking for Ian. We moved because Ian wants to visit the Astley Green Pit Museum tomorrow. Thankfully we only had another 3 miles to go and it couldn't come quick enough.  No sooner had we moored, pins hammered in when it stopped. Typical!

I must just mention my flower boxes which are looking spectacular even though I do say it myself.. These are Violas, which by now should be on their way out. I had been advised by Margaret (nb Icing) to pick off the dead flowers to prolong their life. Well I keep forgetting but the flowers still keep coming. When I filled the boxes I mistakenly filled it with soil enhancer. I believe this is why the Violas are doing so well although it does have a down side. When I water the plants the run off comes away brown and stains the grey of the roof. I tried to overcome the problem by mixing proper compost in with it. So far it's working..

And wildlife today.

Not even slowing down for the gosling's.

Not the best nesting material.

But I suppose if there is nothing else.....

And the cygnets that have already arrived

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