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.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

It was one of those days!

Saturday 2nd June

And the day started so well! Got going after 9am, bit drizzly first thing and the wind picked up quite a lot later on. We got to Chorley and stopped by bridge 75a to do a Morrison shop. A good 3/4 mile walk but supplies were needed. Before setting off again we had lunch so it wasn't until 1.30pm that we arrived at Johnson's Hill locks. The lock was being emptied but no sign of anyone with windless. Then passing a boat moored in the opposite direction, he hailed us and said he had emptied the lock for themselves and was about to wind. Okay sharing a broad lock usually makes life a lot easier. Not this time though!! As he drew level and brought the boat to a stop, he handed over the helm to his mate and said "He's a bit new to this but he did do all the Wigan flight with another boat so should be okay. Let him go first into every lock". Now normally I would have been overjoyed. I am the worlds worse rope thrower and trying to get a rope up to Ian to keep me in the side whilst the second boat comes alongside is always a challenge. This time though I do wish I had gone first. He tried his best at every lock but wind and lack of experience took it's toll. I often had to stop FS rather rapidly as he drifted across. He also was not happy to leave the safety of one lock before the next was ready with both gates open. All helped to add lots of time to our ascent. Then at lock 60, a long wait ensued. John (Ian found out his name) had gone ahead to set lock 61 but nothing seemed to be happening. We waited, and waited.  After a while Ian walked up to see what was happening. And still we waited. Out come the binoculars and I see Ian standing by the side holding onto something. Turns out a boat was in the lock trying to go up. An elderly couple, both almost incapable of handling the boat as he had fractured his ribs and she was having to use an inhaler to help with breathing while awaiting a heart/lung transplant, had forgotten to close the bottom gate paddles and was baffled as to why nothing was happening. Ian stepped in closing bottom paddles and making sure she was okay as he found her in some distress sitting on the ground. After 30 minutes waiting we were very relieved when it was our turn to ascend the next lock.  But our troubles didn't end there. Because the elderly couple had left the paddles up, the next pound had dropped about 2ft, so much so that the the inevitable happened and I got stuck!!! Luckily John returned having seen the couple through the last lock and seeing our plight, ran water down, enough to refloat FS anyway as the other boat had a shallower draft. Eventually we got ourselves sorted and into the last lock.  2 hours it took us to do those 7 locks and to think we did 21 of the Wigan flight in 4 hours. Then to add insult to injury all the 48hour moorings were full and we had to go off and find somewhere else. Very thankful to eventually stop near bridge 84 and get inside for a warming drink..

Bottom lock Johnson's Hill Lock

And brakes on.

low pound

In a spot of bother.

And seen on route

Probably stolen and dumped.
Rivington Pike Tower in the distance.

Is this why boaters think they can speed by moored boats? 2MPH more like!
And last night during yet another spell of rain.

And today's wildlife

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