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.

Friday, 23 August 2019

To the most Northerly point of Scotland....or not as it turned out.

Thursday 22nd

John o'Groats was the destination for today and on route, the hills were awash with purple heather.

We made a stop at the Gunn Museum. Now, way back in the history of time the Jameison name became were part of that Clan. You can read about  HERE (and if you scroll down the page will see the Jameison name although not quite our spelling) Ian went into the museum and the chap behind the desk confirmed we were indeed on the list and could, if we wanted to, wear the Gunn Tartan.

We arrived at John o'Groats late afternoon, stepped out of the Beast and almost got blown away. Wow was it windy! Had to do the touristy bit and get photos but I was disappointed that this wasn't the most Northerly point in Scotland. I had always been told it was so a quick look on the web confirmed the most Northerly point was actually at Dunnet Head.

 A walk along the beach next, if you can call it that. Nothing but small and large stones to walk on which moved as you stepped on them. Visions of sprained ankles came to mind. Even staffy Harvey with his four legs found it challenging. Thankfully on reaching a sandy bit Ian found a path to take us back to the top but not before clambering over a barbed wire fence!

Heavens opened didn't it, just before we made it back to the Beast. A quick dash back and only slightly damp got to admire a rainbow from the Beasts open door.

With the lateness of the hour (all of 5 pm) and with a campsite right by John o Groats car park, we paid the £18 to stay overnight. Gave us another opportunity for showers and loo emptying.

 And seen on the shore walk

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Bl**dy Midges and we were photobombed by Nessie!

 Wednesday 21st.
I took some photos last night across Loch Ness as the sun was setting and got eaten alive for my trouble! Those midges zoomed in on all the exposed bits as soon as I stepped outside. Dashing inside the little blighters followed and before we dealt with them, the Jungle spray was applied to ears and face liberally so I could once again venture outside. We then spent the evening trying to eradicate the blighters from inside the Beast. Note to oneself,  fly spray to go on the shopping list!

The stop for the night.
The Beast started rocking by 6 am and no not for THAT reason! Right next to the road every time a car went past the whoosh of wind moved the motorhome. So another early get up but it was still late morning before we got underway.  First stop was at Dores. It is here that a chap called Steve Feltham has spent the last 25 years in search for Nessie. To see his story click here. I did wonder if this was the right spot for Nessie hunting but on a clear day, you can see nearly to the other end of Loch Ness.

Steve Feltham
Steves models.
Loch view from Dores
And look who appeared in the photo,

Photobombed by Nessie
 A suggestion was made to travel to the Moray Firth to see if the seals and Dolphins were about. Apparently, this was a good place to watch for them. The only trouble was the tide was out! So having travelled down a dead-end road, been stopped at the level crossing (Kev just made it through) we managed to do more multiple turns to return to the main road.

 It was agreed that tonight we went to a CC site mainly so I could use the laundry. But the sat nav took us to a dirt track insisting that this was the correct way. You only have to look at the sat navs screen to see she had taken us 'off-roading'.

Starting the reverse

So it was reverse back to the main road to try and find the correct way. Could we find it?? Impossible! Kev managed to knock the waste pipe off of its mountings when he clipped the bank and our reverse camera gave up the ghost. But it turned out the sat nav was right 'cos after talking to a local, she pointed us up to the track we had just come from.

Approaching the CC site

Once settled it was all hands to the motorhome repairs, Kev to the waste pipe and Ian to the camera.

Off to the top of Scotland, John-o-Groats tomorrow lets hope the predicted bad weather doesn't materialise.

And wildlife

Loch Ness ducklings


Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Took the long way round.

 Tuesday 20th
What a difference 12 hours make. This morning the sky was blue with the occasional wispy cloud and the mountains bathed in sunlight. The Loch was almost flat calm and the queues for the ferry was back to normal. But of course, all idyllic places has a downside. The ferry started running from 6 am and every time it came into the dock the 'beware' alarm sounded and the onboard tannoy sprung into life. It got us out of bed early to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and gave us time to have a leisurely breakfast of bacon and eggs. It was well after 10am when we got underway.

This was taken last night. The rain had stopped but the Police presence was all to do with the accident. They were directing the traffic
This morning and hardly a ripple on the water.

Last nights stopover. The traffic queues had all gone.
A lot of driving today. We all decided to take the scenic route instead of going back across Loch Linnhe and paying another £8.50 for the ferry. In hindsight, it would have been cheaper to take the boat crossing because the scenic route was a 35-mile drive to get to our first destination Fort William. It would have been only 10 miles if we had gone the other way! Think of all that diesel used by taking that route but it was ever so picturesque. The road was a bit challenging. Single track road with passing places but fun to do and well worth the extra drive.

 Anyway, rain started again once we reached Fort William and we wondered if parking would be an issue. It wasn't though, as this was the first place we had been to that catered for the touring public. Huge car park designed for coaches, caravans and motorhomes and only £3 for a stay of 4 hours. Dodging the showers we took a walk to the town centre and found a great fish and chips restaurant for lunch. But dogs were not allowed in and as Harvey, Kev's staffie, was with us the meal was eaten in the rain!

On route to Loch Ness, we spied the first glimpse of Ben Nevis. Stopping at Commandos Memorial at Spean Bridge we got to see the mountain but totally obscured by cloud.

The centre line shows the direction of Ben Navis.
 The Commandos memorial garden, wow what a lovely place to be. It commemorates the sacrifice of those Commandos that lost their lives during the Second World War.

We headed off for the Falls of Foyer along more single track roads with passing places. Once more the scenery was spectacular and we even had the occasional glimpse of Loch Ness.

The weather, well fickle is an understatement. One minute bathed in sunshine and the next your caught in a deluge. On arrival at the Falls carpark this was the case so on with waterproofs to brave the elements. No sooner had we set off than the sun came out and left us sweltering. All those steps down and up and when we eventually arrived back at the Beast we were soaked with sweat rather than rain! It was worth it though as the amount of rain made the falls a sight to see.

And seen by the cafe on our return

And wildlife

Juvenile Robin

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