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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.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Heard and seen it all!

Friday 22nd Sept

Beautiful foggy start to the day and with the mist rising from the water it gave everything that surreal feel. A bit on the chilly side first thing though, where one needed gloves, jacket, woolly hat etc but by the time we got to the top of Hazelhurst flight, the fog had lifted and the morning was warming up nicely.

Hazelhurst Aqueduct.

The Hazelhurst locks were literally a short walk away and expecting them all to be empty due to a boat having arrived late last night, dismay when all three had to be emptied. Nearly got drenched at the middle lock when suddenly, from the air vent by the ground paddle, a huge great plume of water shot into the air...several times. If I had been standing over it to wind the paddle...well lets leave that to your imagination.

Before you all tell me off for leaving the windlass on the spindle, the quick reaction of mine to get out of the way meant the last thing on my mind was the windlass!

We met up with a lady single hander at Stockton Brook locks. Ian helped her down the flight and she asked if she could wait for us so we would do the two lift bridges for her. Apparently she had found it almost impossible trying to get the boat through the lift bridges on the way up and in the end had to get help from a dog walker, passing him the windlass for Long Butts lift bridge and the key for the mechanical one at Norton Green.

Long Butts lift bridge. That's the trouble single handers have. How to get the boat through when you are stuck on the wrong side!

Norton Green lift bridge (mechanical) She would have managed on this one but it was easier if Ian did it for her.
 We said our farewells at Milton as she pulled in for lunch. Rounding a bend and what did we see in the bridge hole...but a boat. Into reverse and waited for it to come through. Nope didn't appear to be moving so was he stuck maybe? Ian went to pull into the side and at the same time gave a short blast on the horn. Then the boat went backwards!!! No idea what was going on so Ian kept going. Expecting the boat to be pulled back on a rope, we saw instead that the chap was on the stern. Drawing level we asked if he needed help. His reply..."I stopped to make my lunch and didn't expect a boat to appear" Well, that beggars belief...stopping for lunch in a bridge hole, that's a first for us!

A sharp right-hander takes you under a bridge to the Etruria staircase locks. On the lock landing and tied to the bollard nearest the bridge was this small cruiser.

A boat was already in the staircase on its way up so Ian had to somehow get FS into the side and allow enough room for the exiting boat, but that cruiser was in the way. Only one thing for it (and it's not something we normally do) was to untie that cruiser and move it to the very end bollard. We had been watched by a local and then told the boat had been stolen and abandoned. Didn't feel quite so bad about shifting it.

Took these photos to show the way the water from the top lock of the staircase can be drained into the bottom lock by means of a side weir in the bottom lock chamber.

The rain was imminent so finding a mooring was top of our list.Luckily one was free by the museum so snuck in quick before the boat on the services filling his water tank got it. Well, he hadn't finished with the hose so felt it was ours to have! And as he went past....if looks could kill!!!!!

And wildlife today,

1 comment:

Marilyn McDonald said...

Lovely photos, Irene.
And how hilarious to be making lunch in a bridgehole. Must try that some time!
A quick trip through to above Dunn's Lock today because of the imminent closre. Not the pace we were wanting to make, but hey ho.
Big hugs to you both, Mxx

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