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 18 December 2009

Iron man

At the winding hole stood a lone figure. Almost life like!
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First snow of winter

We arrived at a place called Cosgrove on the Grand Union. We had been told by other boaters that this was a very secure place to moor as a lovely lady named Hazel looked after the moorings as mooring warden. As we had planned to stay for a couple of weeks and leave the boat this was ideal for us. My brother was arriving from Australia and staying with my son and Cosgrove was only about 5 miles from his house in Milton Keynes.
The snow fell early in the morning of the 18th December. When the sun came out the sky turned bright red. Unfortunately the pictures doesn't show how spectacular it really was.
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Friday 11 December 2009

Strange duck!

Not often you see one of these on the canal. An escapee from a private collection perhaps?
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Crumbling towpath

The northern Oxford canal has never been my favorite. There seems to be hardly any maintenance done and the towpaths are awful. It is almost impossible to find any decent moorings and those that are piled usually are full of moored boats outstaying there 14 days. These series of pictures show the state of the towpath and BW finally having to do something about them.
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Gypsy Weather Forecast

This was posted by the Lock Cottage at Atherstone top lock.

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Tuesday 8 December 2009

Atherton top lock

Someone had a good sense of humour.

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Clearing branches from the T&M
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River Trent flood barrier

Thank goodness this was only a tree and not a boat.
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Leaving for Milton Keynes

On Wednesday 2nd December we finally left our moorings at Sandiacre. We had to wait for two weeks while BW changed the lock gate at Sawley flood lock before setting off towards the Trent and Mersey and onwards to Milton Keynes the long way round. Foxton Locks were on a stoppage for several weeks otherwise we would have gone up the river Soar and through Leicester which would have cut our journey by half. We were due at our sons the weekend of the 12th so finding out the River Trent was in flood after all the heavy rain was a blow to say the least. We started out with some trepidation knowing that we could be stuck at Trent Lock for some time waiting for river conditions to be in our favour. On travelling down the Erewash one of the many fishermen we encountered asked quite how were we going to get through the stop lock at Sheetstores because work had already started on changing the gates. Well by now I had visions of us never getting to Milton Keynes at all but as we came up to the lock BW pulled the barrier aside to let us through. Thank you, BW!!! The Next hurdle was the River but thankfully the levels had dropped enough to allow us on to the river and heading for Derwent Mouth on the canal. Sheetstores stop lock.
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Thursday 5 November 2009

Stafford boat club

What a fabulous place. We were made very welcome and we even had an electric hookup. It didn't cost us a penny to moor here because we belong to the AWCC but at only £8 a night I thought it good value for money.
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Loads of fish

Finally I managed to catch more then just a few fish. We had moored at Stafford boat club for a few days because Ian had to go to Nottingham to see the consultant. As I stayed with the boat and looked after the dogs, I took the opportunity to do a days fishing. These are just a few of those I caught. My best fish was a perch. Unfortunately I have no record of it as just as I was about to weigh it with a flick of his tail he jumped out of my net and back into the water. Now I am sure he would have weighed well over 3lb. He filled my landing net and it took me nigh on 15 minutes to get him in. This is not a fishy tale I promise you!!!
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Sunday 1 November 2009

Wheaton Aston

As we haven't a picture of this place Ian decided to add this to our collection. Yes its me in my silly hat!Posted by Picasa

Fallen tree

It was Sunday morning and the predicted storms had arrived. If only we could have sat it out but unfortunately we had to get the boat to Stafford boat club for us to leave it there for a few days before the place shut. I had already mentioned to Ian that I was worried about the trees coming down, when lo and behold we came across this one by bridge 92 on the Staffs and Worcester. As there was no way I would risk our paintwork and push our way through, Ian said he had just the tool for the job and proceeded on making a passage through
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As usual Ian carries everything you could possibly want on board (quite where he puts it all is a complete mystery to me and one that I don't even think to ask him), and out came the trustee tree saw and secateurs. While I maneuvered the boat so he could reach the outer most branches,. he cut and sawed till all you could see was bits of branches flying in all directions. After he had finished it was a quick phone call to BW to inform them of the situation.

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Us creeping past
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Looking back to show Ian's handywork
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