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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.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Oh 'eck... bit of a problem at the swing bridge and that wind!!!!

OMG....what a night (and afternoon)!!! Nearly two bottles red wine and one and half bottles of white were consumed and all before we set off to the Stansfield Arms for a meal booked for 7pm! The meal was excellent as was the great company and loads more alcohol drunk before it was back to Chance for liqueurs and coffee. Sloe Gin made by James fair hand was tried and then Ian went back to FS to fetch our Sloe Gin to compare. Even though I do say it myself they were both excellent with James slightly sweeter then mine but both very very drinkable. Not sure what time we left  Chance, head was a bit fuzzy by then and I don't think I could walk in a straight line. Expecting to have one hell of a hangover, I was very surprised then, that I woke up headache free and reasonably sprightly.

 So today we had to say our farewells to James and Doug, us heading for Leeds and them to Skipton. When we will see then again is anyone's guess but I'm pretty sure we will bump into each other at some stage in the future.

More staircase locks and swing bridges today and at Owl swing bridge (216) a bit of a situation occurred. It was that wind again keeping me to the side and Ian, who had already opened the bridge, had to close it again to come and give me a hand. Not securing the bridge he assumed it would stay closed with the idea that as soon as he had pushed the FS's bow out he could race back to open it. But that wind decided to push the bridge open all by itself. Oh 'eck...Ian was now on the wrong side with no way of getting across. So I took FS slowly up to the bridge 'ole expecting Ian to jump on and then step off onto the bridge. But...that blasted bridge started to close on FS!!!! Ian managed to grab the boat pole and push it open again before the paintwork was damaged beyond repair!!! I went through and then a brain wave. See that chain, well.... pull that and guess what..... the bridge closed. !

 At Office lock we stopped for water. Here hindsight would have been a wonderful thing and I do so wish we had had it! Having put the hose away and about to enter the lock this chap comes over to say we could share his lock!!Share his lock surely it should be the other way round. Anyway both of us were a bit baffled by this because where was his boat?? Facing the other way and awaiting a friend to come help him to reverse the boat. Yep he wanted to come down backwards! So we entered the lock and then waited and waited. His friend arrived but because he was moored in a load of blanket weed, didn't want to start the engine. With his friend shouting instructions, he tried to pole it toward the lock. That wind again did not help the situation and he ended up across the canal. To cut a long story short, and after waiting an age, he did eventually make it into the lock. I left first to leave him to wind and struggled to get FS into the side by the river lock. No bollards at all and the only decent place to have got off were all taken by moored boats. So I really struggled to keep FS from taking off and waiting for the lock to be made ready seemed like a lifetime. Was I glad to when the gates opened. Still had one more drama to come and that was in Clarence dock.

Office lock with water point on the right.

River section and into Clarence dock
 Clarence dock moorings were devoid of any boats and as I was on the helm I decided to wind before mooring. Big big mistake!!! That bl**dy wind was so strong that after Ian got off onto the pontoon with the centre rope, he was nearly pulled in when the wind made FS take off. All Ian could do was wrap the rope round a cleat and for me to drive the boat toward the pontoon. Thank goodness those cleats are well anchored down 'cos the strain on it was quite significant. Another hairy moment when Ian went to get the bow rope but in the end we got there, thank goodness.

This is home now for a few days. Really looking forward to going round Leeds and going to make the most of the two days here.

And on route

Leeds railways

Blanket weed prolific along this part of the L&L
Some great graffiti artwork

And today's wildlife,

A white cygnet. Very unusual.

At least the tadpoles and froglets like the blanket weed.

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