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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, 1 June 2016

Beware of bolts by Sparks bridge facilities

Tuesday 31st

Lovely place Tarleton, has a very small shopping centre but still has everything a boater would need, Greengrocers, Butchers, Hairdressers (men and ladies) Co op, Spar and before we left this morning we walked in to the village and stocked up the larder. Not sure where the next shopping centre will be although Ian thinks there may be one in Eldonian Village. By 10am we had untied, opened the first of two swing bridges and headed for Rufford Old Hall.

Adding a bit of weight,  these ducks were not going to move!

  The first good few miles was very rural. No towpath on either side just beds of reeds with Reed Warblers calling to each other to keep us company.

Lovely bit of canal
Before we arrived at Rufford Hall we thought we would stop at the Spark Bridge facilities just to do the loo, and that was a feat in itself  just get moored up to. A blooming great C&RT pan and a wide beam made getting into the 60ft gap a challenge Then there were the bolts!!! My goodness you don't want to be unaware of these monstrosities sticking out. Would make a lovely mess of your paintwork. I personally think this should have been addressed as surely it cant be to difficult for C&RT to reattach a long plank to the bolts and save boaters paintwork or even line the side with tyres!. So I kept the boat from the side while Ian did the bizz with the loo. Then it was give the bow a big shove to clear the widebeam and move up to the next Swing bridge to moor.

The facilities are between the extra wide pan and the widebeam with the wooden cabin top.

Facilities where the iron fence is. About 60ft to play with. that's all

The Hall is a short walk from the canal along the road. A National Trust property and at £7.50 a head, very reasonable. The rooms are unique in that many of them can be freely walked round without the usual barriers, just notices up asking not to touch. Even the pot of tea for two with two scones,  jam and cream only came to £7. 80. Off course with the sun shinning all day the gardens looked stunning and the courtyard a sweltering sun trap.

The Great Hall

Wonderful ceiling decorations

Penny Farthing in the stables

Can you see what it is?

Looks odd doesn't it!
While we sat enjoyed the tea and scones in the courtyard, a Blue Tit family was busy feeding their young. In and out of the hole in the wall continuously with a tasty morsel, the bug and fly population must be depleting rapidly. They did look rather sorry for themselves, quite ragged with the facial feathers looking very much the worse for wear..

The pair. This one doesn't look half as bad as the other

And the wildlife,

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