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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, 15 July 2016

Beware leaving Clarence dock heading down stream.

It's new waters for us as we turned toward Leeds lock. Leeds was as far as we got back in 2008 because of the September floods. Clarence dock flood gates closed and we were held prisoner for 6 days. Because of that, time was no longer on our side and had to return the way we came instead of continuing to the Trent. So a bit of excitement as we now explore new sights as well as a touch of apprehension due to the unknown river Aire. This was made evident almost as soon as I exited Clarence dock. Ian had left me to make the right turn to the lock, deciding to walk on to get it set. The turn is fairly sharp and before I knew it, and having got almost round, I listed to the right and came to a sudden stop. The silt had built up since the last floods in January this year and, with no dredging done, is now a navigational hazard. Only yesterday one of the contractors work boat had to be craned off having been unable to get off the silt. Anyway, I tried reverse and she started to slide off. But she slid straight which meant trying to swing the stern to get the bow toward the lock was a impossible. I tried again but still no joy. Ian was by now starting to walk back toward me, not that there was much he could do. I was beginning to panic and decided to give her everything I could in reverse. Again she slid off and because the revs were high FS took off toward the entrance to Clarence dock. This gave me enough deep water to swing the bow round and with full throttle forward, shot toward the lock. Phew how relieved was I??? So beware anyone who leaves the dock heading down river. Keep towpath side or as near to the middle as you can. DO NOT GET ANYWHERE NEAR THE FAR BANK.

Leeds lock

Farewell Leeds

Knostrop flood lock

Knostrop Fall lock

Fishpond lock. Manned one day a week so we were lucky.

C&RT trying to flush a log down the weir.

One huge river lock.

Moorings before Woodlesford lock

From Clarence dock to Woodlesford was about 4 miles and having been told how nice the moorings were and that a Lidl was about 3/4 mile away, we stopped for the night. Such a wide and decent towpath that a BBQ is on the cards for tonight, first one for ages.

And wildlife,

Having escaped it's field refused to be caught.


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