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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.

Monday, 18 July 2016

FS is 57 foot. Will it fit in a 55 foot gap???

Saturday late pm and Sunday 17th

11.30pm a boat comes past, then sudden revs heard.... forward, reverse..... Sticks my head out the back hatch. In the distance this boat has misjudged the bend and ploughed into the bank. No lights showing at all so no wonder!!! Gets himself sorted and peace once more comes to the mooring. Then......1am revs heard in the distance. Loud voices... more revs....pins hammered in..... more shouts....groan....will this noise ever stop!!! It did....eventually and peace reigned once more. Sigh.....
Noticed a big moon....grabs camera...."Not taking a photo now", yawns Ian "It's after 1am!!! Sorry...but now awake and got to take this picture.

This was the boat seen both times. What on earth was he doing travelling at that time of night...and to where??? No sign of life this morning and it's after 9am....no..... probably still ASLEEP!!!

Leaving this not so quiet mooring our aim today was to get to Coopers Bridge and off the Calder and Hebble. Ian had had quite enough of the locks on this waterway. That chap on Tapestry was right. These locks are atrocious. So much wrong with them. Most had paddle gear broken, gates were very hard to open, they leaked like sieves and several times I had to bring FS into the side to help him open gates. Only 8 miles to do and 9 locks and the end couldn't come quick enough for Ian.

Above Shepley Bridge lock, the facility block offside rather then towpath side. Ian had forgotten we were going to stop and as picking him up was difficult with a huge widebeam on the end of the landing, I said I would meet him there. That's when I discovered that FS was slightly too long to fit into the gap but by then I was committed. The stern came in as I reversed and the bow started to swing in and touched the large cruiser in front. Luckily it was loosely tied so somehow the bow pushing against it managed to get it to glide back by several inches, just enough for FS's front button fender to slide underneath his hull. The stern button, though, was now hard up against the small cruiser behind. Ian then turned up, scratched his head and said "How on earth did you manage to get in?" With the owner of the small cruiser suddenly appearing I apologised for having pushed his outboard motor to one side. He was marvellous. Told me I'd done a great job in difficult circumstances and said no harm was done. After Ian had done the business with the loo it was how do we get out. Big shove at the stern, help from the small cruisers owner and reverse her out, that's how. Job done and underway and I was most relieved that no damage to either cruisers.

Facility block roof in the centre of the photo.

I must say both of us like the Calder and Hebble as a waterway to cruise. Just the locks are very difficult to work but getting into them from the river I found very easy. Hardly any flow so maybe that was why. We got to Coopers bridge and moored before the flood lock. Washing was put out on the clothes rack to dry and out came the rod for a spot of fishing. That's when this smell hit me. Rancid smoke billowing from across the river. Nothing for it but bring washing in and close all the windows and stop fishing. Shame really because its such a lovely evening. Only a tiny bit of the river to do in the morning before turning right onto the Huddlesfield broad.

Figuer of three locks. Ian fishing out our aluminium boat pole. Slipped in when Ian went to grab the handspike.

Thornhill Double. Low water in the middle pound.

Looking back after coming through the flood locks at Thornhill, Greenwood and Battyeford.

Shepley Bridge lock

Cooper Bridge lock

Moored before Cooper Bridge flood gates

Ian bringing the washing in because of .........

And the fun wildlife,

How did this frog get up there????

Glad it's tied down.
 And wildlife seen today,

Loads of white geese.

And the odd hybrid

Wheres all the water gone?

Caged duck by the lock

and a hen amongst them.

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