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.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

To Raby this time

 A few wispy clouds showed up as the evening progressed, but the skies stayed clear. Would we finally be in luck and see the dark sky in all its glory? We stayed clued to the TV until 11 pm, excitedly we stepped out of MB and there, shinning as bright as could be, was the moon. It lit up the vista before us so much so that Grouse could be seen nearby. The answer then to the question was no! Again we had been scuppered, not by the weather, but that blasted moon!

Getting ready to set off from our stunning location, in the distance gun shots were heard. Grouse season had started! Suddenly several Grouse took flight but not from men with guns but by a Raptor overhead. I tried to get a decent photo but failed miserably and the only very distinctive feature was its white head. Well could I identify it? Nop. Looked online but because of this one and only distinctive white head feature, it was impossible.

Ian had booked for Raby Castle today and with it being fairly nearby we had a lazy start. A Morrisons  shop at Barnard Castle first before the short journey to the car park. Wow, the sight that greeted us as we drove in was one of magnificent. 


As Raby Castle was still occupied by the currant owners Lord and Lady Barnard and the Vane family, only some of the rooms were open. 

We came across Deer! Had no idea they were at Raby, wonderful bachelor herd of Stags spouting some very impressive antlers. Another herd was also seen far away which included the Does.

Fallow Deer

Red Deer

We found a site within spitting distance of Raby Castle. It is here that we meet up with friends Chris and Sue for the weekend, and I expect it to be one of merriment and lots of alcohol! 

And wildlife,

Small White

Red Admiral
Small Tortoiseshell with Bee

Small Tortoiseshell

Tufted duck

Friday, 17 September 2021

A medievil day

 Strange night last night, full of unknown sounds, rustling, snorting and of course the insistent quacking of those ducks. We had also parked at a slight angle and the feeling of rolling out of bed whenever I awoke was most disconcerting. The lane was surprisingly busy, and the cars whizzing past went on well into the night. But this place did have a bonus when a Barn Owl began hunting right by MB. Much too dark for my camera to take any photos but so much better viewing than watching TV.

This morning I took a photo of that notice. Judging by the date, my deduction of old signage seemed to be correct.

About a 40-minute drive took us to Bolton Castle. This was where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned  between 1568 and 1569 and is one of the country's best preserved medieval castles. 

Mary's bedroom

The castle had loads of rooms to visit and all in keeping with the era,  and the day including two Falconry displays, archery and wild boars with their piglets to admire.

A monks cell

Indian Eagle Owl

When the Peregrine/Sakar hybrid flew over the castle, well suddenly the skies were filled with pigeons.  Great deterrent if pigeons are the bane of your life!

All day we spent reading the history boards, going from one room to another and watching the displays. Then there was the maze

Found the center eventually. Getting out was a different matter!

Top- brewery, kitchens bottom-still part of the brewery and the medieval loo.

The dungeons

Found these amusing


Top left -the forge. Top right-armoury. Bottom left-wood store and cannons

Suddenly it was 4 pm and we still had to find somewhere to stop overnight. The Dales beckoned and somehow we found this wonderful place called Redmire Moor. Lovely views and loads of Grouse. We have internet, TV and clear skies. Maybe finally tonights the night we get to see the Milky Way.


Thursday, 16 September 2021

Not expecting this on the narrow lanes.

 We made a bit of a boo boo today. Convinced we had not been to Beningbrough Hall, that was to be our destination. Well no sooner had we turned into the drive and realisation hit us. Twas early in June when we last visited, the house was open, but only the upstairs rooms with that well-being photo display. So now a dilemma where to go? Fountains Abbey was fairly close by and yes we had also been around the Abbey but at that time, with so much to see and do, the walk to Studley Royal Deer park had to be given a miss. Great opportunity therefore to visit again.

The lake at Fountains Abbey

Much better day today, in fact quite warm. We found three different types of deer almost a mile away from the car park all huddled under a tree. There were Fallow, Red and Sika.  Rutting season was just around the corner and signs of some impressive Stags with antlers having been adorned with foliage for showing how strong he was, and also to woo the girls!
On our return we almost tripped over another herd of deer. All hidden in a dip we had taken another path to the car park and there they were. What intrigued both of us was this magnificent White Stag. It was amongst the Fallow deer but much larger. No idea what sort it was.

On our way home and the sat nav did her worst. A lane only wide enough for one vehicle and she took us down it! 3 miles before we could turn off and apart from one lorry met thankfully by a passing place, the only thing(s) that did cause a few worried moments were the wildlife. 


We found a park4night near to Leyburn. Bit concerned because it's right by a road and a very old notice said this is a private common used to exercise race horses and any vehicle parking must gain the owner's permission. The owners happen to be the council and we did wonder whether to leave but the fact that many a car was parked, mostly dog walkers but several with bikes standing by the car meant this notice had either been ignored or is so old not to be in use any more. We certainly didn't see any sign of horse hooves on the grass so we assumed it to be the latter.

And a very late brood seen at Studley Royal

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