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.

Monday, 10 July 2017

I doubt if the parents know what these lads get up to

T'was a lovely sunset last night and on taking a photo, noticed a lady rowing her cruiser along the canal!

It's a good job we got up early this morning as we were hailed from a boater wanting to breast up with us to get water. Would have stayed in bed as there was no rush to leave but trying to sleep with a cement mixer trundling away opposite the moorings, the roar of the planes taking off  (2 miles from Heathrow) and the lorries arriving to drop off their deliveries, there was no point in staying in bed. We decided it was much easier if we just headed off and let the wide beam take our place so we pulled pins and started the last leg of the journey to Brentford.

At Hanwell Locks, a wide beam was ascending. We stopped to do loo and rubbish and then, as we were waiting, 2 volunteer lock keepers arrived. "Just let us have a cup of tea and then we will be with you", said one of them. Two locks later they turned up and it coincided with us meeting another boat who became our locking buddies.With all that help through Hanwell flight, it took no time at all.

Nb April Rose with Christine on board and Richard by the lock
 We, therefore, arrived early at Brentford. Stopped to have lunch before making our way to Brentford Gauging Locks by 2pm.

Lunch stop

Brentford gauging lock
 Ian did the 'push buttons on the electric control panel' jobby to get me down and by the time we reached Thames lock we only had 15 minutes to wait.

On the landing was a cruiser also waiting to lock down and, with the lady helmswomen taking the right lock, we were beckoned into the left. She got down first but on exit stopped suddenly in the middle of the channel. Giving the correct blast on our horn to pass starboard side (two long and one short) we drew level only to find out her cruiser engine had stopped and she needed to bleed the fuel system. She declined our offer of help and did eventually make it to Teddington.

From Gauging Lock to Thames Lock
Thames lock and landing

The River was not quite the mill pond it was when we did the journey from Limehouse back in 2010. Then we left at 6 am and managed to beat those big catamaran water taxis. Boy did they create some wash! We watched them coming up behind us but, because they zigzagged across the river to pick up passengers, they never caught us up. So today it was only a bit choppy, and we hardly had any boat traffic at all. Ian checked our speed and doing 16 rpm, and with an incoming tide, we averaged about 7 mph. Slack water arrived slowing us down to 5mph but we still did the journey in 1 hour and 6 minutes. (Ian likes to be precise!) Paying the £18.90 (£10 transit fee to take us up to the River Wey and £8.90 for an overnight mooring in Teddington.) we settled down to watch Wimbledon with a celebratory glass of Pimms. But peace shattered once again when shouting and abusive language came from a group of school kids. And the reason? Bridge jumping without any regard for their safety with the boats passing underneath!

Top left, leaving Thames lock.

Wide beam being towed. One way of saving fuel although I bet the recovery cost would be enormous.

Top left, Whittington Bridge, top right, Richmond locks and bottom, arriving at Teddington.

And wildlife,

1 comment:

Jennie said...

Glad you made it and had a smooth run. We had bridge jumpers when we were in Teddington two years ago - that was until the police turned up and sent them packing. Scroll down to almost the end to see Monty's reaction to it all - http://pippa13.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/farewell-to-thames.html. They were right in front of Cleddau and the noise inside was pretty thunderous. I gather you are going down The Wey - we loved it and will be back again one day. Jennie

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