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.

Thursday 18 September 2008

Canal Morning

To Ian and me this represents what canal mornings are all about. This was taken at 6.40 am and I still maintain that you cant get better then this. We will leave our boat at Wheelton today for tomorrow we head home and get ready for our trip to Ireland. Hopefully when we return from Ireland we will at last be grandparents. Colin and Iwona's baby is due on the 21st but I have asked them to hold on until we get back from our trip. Here's hoping hes late!!!!
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B W across the cut.

As we rounded a corner we suddenly came upon a B W butty right in our path. After a mild panic and a quick reverse we stopped up against one of those "dosser" boats. On enquiring what was going on I was informed that B W were retrieving their grabber bucket which was in the canal. I laughed and said how typical of them to drop the bucket over side, only to be told that last night thieves had detached the bucket from the grabber and placed all one ton of it on a wheelbarrow hoping to wheel it away. The chap in the dosser boat had found the barrow on the towpath and phoned B W to find out what he should do. B W's reply was "chuck the bucket in the canal. That will stop the buggers from making off with it!!"
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Top dog

Jade looking down at me in the lock.
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Foulridge Tunnel

We arrived at the tunnel entrance at 7.45 am. Waiting to go through was another boat called Marbeck Phoenix. As the lights were on red we had to wait a further 15 minutes for them to change to green before we were allowed to proceed. Dead on 8 am the lights changed and we donned our water proofs, switched on all the cabin lights as well as headlight and nav lights and entered the tunnel. Yes it was wet but very easy to navigate through and we made the whole length in 15 mins.
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Very wide beam!

Just as I was settling down to an afternoon of fishing, Cloudy Bay turned up. I'm surprised that it could even get under the bridges. Definably larger then anything I have seen on the canals that's for sure. I should point out that he did assemble the wheel house after he had moored up.
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Wednesday 17 September 2008

Bingley 5 rise again

Us on our own and waiting at the bottom of the flight
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Whats this??

is this a goldfish or a roach? I think its a new species which I have called a groach!! If anyone can tell me what it is please do!
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Leeds derelict buildings

Even the vandals would probably leave this one alone.
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Saturday 13 September 2008

That's it, we are no longer on the BIFs cruise. Not how we wanted it to end but none of us expected the weather to be against us. We've had the most wonderful few months enjoying the company of Dennis and Margaret and Dave and Heather and not forgetting Oliver. We've had some great adventures together so role on next year when we all meet again to go up to Chesterfield for their IWA festival.
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River Lock

Dennis and Margaret walked up to the first two locks to help us on the way.
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Farewell Clarence Dock

Leaving the dock after the gates had finally opened.
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Locked in

We had been marooned at Clarence dock for 6 days when finally the River Aire came down to normal river levels. BW opened the gates on Wednesday morning to allow us boaters to leave. We had a bit of a problem though for on the previous Sunday morning little Oliver was taken ill. He had chronic sickness and diarrhoea and at eighteen he certainly couldn't afford to be off colour. Dave was very worried and decided to go home for a few days so that his own vet could look after him. The vet wasn't sure what had caused the problem but thought he might have a virus. When the boat got soaked and all the carpets got wet it was quite possible that Olly may have picked up something from the canal water. Dave phoned us the next day to say that Olly would have to be put on a drip because he had become very dehydrate, therfore he wouldn't be returning to the boat until the Friday. Now this caused us somewhat of a dilemma. We had planned to be back on the Erewash Canal and to our moorings on the 11th or 12th of September because both Dennis and Margaret and ourselves were due to go to Ireland with the E C P & D A ( Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association ) on one of Shelia's "gadabouts" on the 21st. Dave had also mentioned that as we had been due to return via the tidal Trent to Nottingham, the tides were now all wrong and there was no hope of us getting back in time. So..... we decided that the best thing for Ian and myself was to return the way we came and head for Wheelton were we had arranged to leave the boat for 10 days. Hopefully our first grandchild will also be born during this time. As we were also due to go onto the Llangollen in early October this was the only sensible thing for us to do. This would take us about 6 days so with a heavy heart we said farewell to Dennis and Margaret on the Thursday morning. We didn't see Dave or Heather as they wouldn't be returning until a day later. Both Dave and Dennis would continue on there journey down the River and hopefully leave their boats at Heck just outside Goole. They would then return after the Ireland trip and take their boats back to their moorings at Langley Mill.

Sunday 7 September 2008

Clarence Dock

After the drama of the last view locks, getting onto the river and then into the docks was very welcome. We were very impressed with the docks. Every thing looked new and very clean. The docks had been developed between 2000 and 2007 and very well thought out. We had electric and taps on every berth and we were all looking forward to spending a couple of days here.
We arrived on Wednesday 3rd in torrential rain. Dave lit his fire to try and dry out the carpets that had been soaked earlier by the locks and then we all disappeared to the pub. The rain carried on all night and we were a bit concerned about the river Aire rising. Thursday dawned grey but dry so we all went to the outdoor market in the morning. By the afternoon the rain came again and this time it rained persistently for the rest of the day and into the night. Sure enough when we woke the next morning BW had closed the flood gates and we were well and truly marooned in the basin. This now is to be our home until the river goes down. Goodness knows when that will be!!!!

Fishmans tale

While in the dock I decided to go fishing again. I found a tackle shop in Leeds and stocked up with bait . I really didn't expect to catch much but to my delight the fish here are all a good size. This chub was over 2lbs and the perch weighed in at nearly a pound. There has been reports of very large carp and Ian said he has seen them, so I'd better get the sweetcorn out and do some serious fishing.
Posted by PicasaThe moorings where I caught my fish.

What a life

Isnt it wonderful not to have a care in the world. Judy at what she does best.
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On the corners of the pedestrian walkways we found these balls. I loved the reflections and just had to take a photo. We're not sure why they are here but we found them amusing.
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Armouries museum

On Thursday we visited this museum. It was about 100yds from where we were moored. The theme was mainly about weapons through the ages which I didn't really find interesting but these exhibits were brilliant.
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