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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.

Friday, 14 July 2017

When inches do matter

Not an owl was seen last night but two pheasants arriving on the meadow made me grab my camera.

The meadow near Guildford.
Plenty of canoeists on the water and they certainly create some waves. Does the 8 kph apply to them I wonder as they do considerably more than that!

Wow, those canoeists start early. 6.30am and FS started bouncing so yet another early rise for us. But it got us up to start stripping the roof because today we were going to attempt to get under the 6 foot Broadford Bridge. If we wanted to get to Godalming it was the only way. So flower boxes were removed as well as the Omni aerial with my duck family. The highest point then was the horn and to remove that would not have been easy. But Ian measured and measured again and said we should have a few inches clearance. So it was with some trepidation that we set off. Seeing the bridge in the distance I had doubts that we would fit and right up to the point where the horn drew level, I still had doubts. Ian's cry of "It's going to be alright" allayed my fears somewhat and yes he was correct. If the river levels had been higher than we would have had to abandon the whole idea but with Eureka ringing in my ears from Ian as he appeared from his crouched position and back into daylight, it was  a relief that it was over.

At Unstead lock, the landing was in the process of being repaired. A temporary pontoon was in place but boaters beware. Sharp edges just the right height to damage the gunnel was present. Large fenders deployed before Ian went to drain the lock.

Then the men returned to work. Look at that...no life jackets and grinding inches away from bare legs. Health and safety would have a field day!

Approaching Catteshall Lock and the channel full of hire boats. Lucky for us the lock was open and welcomed us in. Just a tricky manoeuvre to get Ian off the boat and in I sailed.

Godalming was chocker. No space for us to moor on the road side so it was find a space on the towpath side and then walk to the next bridge to cross the river. Amazed at the size of Godalming. Thought it to be a small hamlet type place but no it was huge. Plenty of charity shops for us to browse. More DVD's was needed for when there was nothing on the TV. Found several that would do very nicely. 

Only space available was the by the facilities.
Back on board and we headed back down river. We rather fancied a meal out tonight and having passed a Beefeater not far from Cattershall Lock, decided that would be our mooring for tonight. But at the lock hirers were being given a lesson in lock usage and for 30 minutes we waited for the lock to be filled. Started to worry that the pub mooring would be taken as there is only enough room for one boat.

More talking and no action was at this lock!

And what did we see coming along the towpath? It was the horse drawn trip boat on its way back to Godalming Wharf. I feel very honoured to have seen this as only 4 such horse drawn boats are in existence today.

The moorings by the pub were still vacent so worry over. Ian went to book a table while I got the rod out to do some fishing. Plenty of good size Roach and Chub caught and not a sign of an eel. I know they are in this river because have seen several dead ones but such slimy creatures are not on my favourite list.

And wildlife,

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