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.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

The troubles persist.

Wednesday 20th

Blooming typical. Could have had a lie in but told by C&RT last night, who arrived at our moorings helping an elderly couple up the flight, that we needed to be at guillotine lock 24E by 10am. Quick question then, how long would it take to get to that lock from this mooring. "Roughly 2 and a half hours" came the reply back. So because of their estimate, set off at a tad after 7am.

Offered to do the locks today as Ian had a huge blister on his foot and, after yesterday, felt I should make the effort. Being off the boat I got to see more then normal and was shocked at this stream  pouring down the towpath at 18E  It was pouring through the walls of the lock as well as bubbling up through the gravel. No wonder water conservation is almost non existent on this canal!.

Having reached Slaithwaite suddenly several claps of thunder but no lightening and only a few drops of rain. Boy were we lucky as it headed off in the distance. So much for the torrential rain forecast for today. 


missed us

Well I've got to get into the photos occasionally. Look at all that foliage obscuring the lock entrance.
 Guess what.... C&RT were a bit out with their timings last night! We arrived at lock 24E by 8.30am! Great, we thought, now what. No bollards or rings to tie to and almost impossible to get into the side. So we sat almost midstream and lo and behold, a C&RT van turns up around 9ish. "Want to go through now" shouts one of them. "You bet" we shouted back so we sidled up to the willow and waited for the nod..

The entrance is there somewhere!!!

You can see why it's called a guillotine lock.
I asked another question as we exited the guillotine lock. Why do we need help? Apparently the gears on the guillotine are dodgy. Some sort of intermittent fault but one that could result in damage if left. Nothing more was forthcoming so I thanked them and continued on my way.

 By the time I reached lock 28E I was beginning to flag. The humidity was draining so, with a plaster put on Ian's blister, he took over.

Another Towpath in a terrible state.

No chance of two boats passing here. Last lock Ian drove today.
I knew I should have carried on doing the locks. Taking over the steering I had nothing but trouble. Pounds were almost devoid of water that on two locks, 29E and 41E I got stuck on the top gate cill. Most of the rest were low enough that water had to be run down and several times came to a stop mid pound.

Stuck on the cill

You can see why.

Now stuck in the middle. Ian running water down.

Oh look...stuck again!

No chance of getting out of this lock yet!

And again!!!

Yep I'm on the cill again!
 Having done 3.75 miles and 26 locks. Had low pounds in 12 of those locks, stuck on cill on 2 locks and mid pound in another 3. The relief when we did the final lock at Marsden was immense. Here we stay until our passage through Standedge Tunnel on Friday.

Last lock of today. From now on we head down taking a lock full of water with us. Hopefully no more water problems!
And some more of our journey,

Lock 37E

More stunning scenery

Whats this contraption for. What am I supposed to do with this????

Oh it's a windy thingamajig. (It's been a while you see... can you tell?)
Not much wildlife found so far on this canal. Could be me being unobservant because of the difficulties encountered. So mum, calf's and dad plus another heron is my only offering..

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