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.

Monday 28 June 2010

As we walked around the lakes a considerable number of pensioners appeared. Their walking trolleys were set all in a row and it looked like they were getting ready for a race. Dennis being Dennis decided to ask them what time the race started and if he could put a bet on!

The Aqaudrome at Batchworth

Judy and Jade (she has the ball).



The lakes are full of wild birds. Fisherman are all around the perimeter. Where do we let the dogs swim? Finally we found a fisherman free zone and the dogs had a fantastic time retrieving sticks.


Batchworth Lock. The left lock is only used for private mooring's. The facilities are on the lock landing on the right and as both Icing and Freespirit needed water, we effectively blocked the entrance to the lock!

This is supposed to be a working model of the canal but where was the water and boats?

BBQ at Jim & Anna's

Michael playing his whistle, Dennis in the middle and Carole keeping an eye on how much beer has been drunk.

Margaret in pink, Anna next to her and opposite in the green is Jim. Raine is to the right of Jim in the light blue.

Carole and Mick turned up on their boat Electra and told us of a BBQ happening at Cassiobury Wharf. As there was moorings available for two boats, Dennis and Ian decided to move the boats while Margaret and me went about frantically putting some food together so we wouldn't arrive empty handed. Our host were Jim and Anna on there Narrow boat Elizabeth. They had been over to France with it for 4 years and came back to spend some time on the British canals. Jim was a great musician and played the ukulele and squeeze box brilliantly. He was joined by Raine who played the accordion. What a great night. Mick joined in with his whistle and was in fine voice as usual. Finally went to bed at midnight.

Saturday 26 June 2010

Corn Crake

At our moorings in Cassiobury Park Locks there was a river running near by. Again the weather was hot so I decided to take the dogs for a swim. I took my camera thinking I would take pictures of the dogs enjoying themselves. To my horror I let go of my camera thinking I had the strap looped over my arm only to see it rolling down the slope and straight into the water. Well I fished it out and removed the memory card hoping that all the pictures on it would still be readable. I then took it to Ian with that look that said could you fix it?. He took it apart, put it in the warmest part of the boat to dry out and lo and behold the next day it worked. How lucky was that!!
This was on my camera when it fell in. I saw this bird with her chicks I wondered what it could be. Luckily as I am a TV addict Spring watch came on and the self same bird appeared on the show.


We stopped at Aspley Locks Hemel Hampstead. Very hot but as England was playing again we had to moor early to let Dennis and Margaret watch the match. Ian and I just chilled out as we were not the remotely interested in the game. We knew that England had won because the kids in the flats opposite us made that much noise I thought that world war 2 had started!! Watching this heron was far more interesting !

Wednesday 23 June 2010


Not a swing bridge since we left back in April and this one a road bridge at that. It led to the pub so holding up all the thirsty punters made me chuckle.

What Port?

Another baffling picture. I thought ports were on tidal rivers and seas. On the other side of the bridge it said Grand Union Junction but my camera was playing up so I didn't get the picture.

Totam Pole

Not sure why this was put up. Does it mean there are a lot of red indians in Berkhamstead?

Leaving Berkhampstead

What a lovely place this was. We moored opposite the children's playground and yes it got a little noisy. The only downside to Berkhamstead was the close proximity to the main railway. Unfortunately there is no getting away from the trains because we follow the line toward London.

Thursday 17 June 2010

Tring Reservoirs

We took the dogs for a walk. I was hoping to find a place where the dogs could go for a swim. The sides were to steep so we found a small stream leading into the reservoir instead.

Canal one side, Reservoir the other. What a great place to visit.

Enjoying there swim.

Pike and Carp at Marsworth

There must have been 30 + carp all swimming around trying to eat the bread put out for the ducks. When we moored I had high hopes of catching one of these. Couldn't believe it when I saw all the no fishing signs. No wonder the carp were fearless. I could have weeped.

This pike was lying in the shallows of one of the Reservoirs adjacent to the canal.

Clearing the prop

After we moored at Marsworth Ian went down the weed hatch. I had had a severe wobble on the tiller for the last 5 locks on the Aylesbury Arm and this is what he pulled out. Just one of the hazards of cruising the canals.


Still on the Aylesbury Arm but now heading back we moored for the night between bridges 12 & 11 and out came my rod again. I was doing very well when I noticed my float lower then normal in the water. As I went to lift it up It felt really heavy and I thought I had snagged my hook on a branch. Well imagine my surprise when out came this crayfish. Not Knowing if it was our native species or the dreaded signal crayfish, I decided to put it back. Looking on the Internet later that night I found to my horror that it was a signal and I should have killed it. It lives to tell another tale!!


This was a regular sight all along the Aylesbury branch.


Finally made it to the end on navigation. The boat club made us very welcome and we purchased our compulsory plaque and T shirts and then went to explore the town. I am very glad that we made the effort of coming all the way down. In spite of some difficulties I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Wednesday 16 June 2010

We are the African Queen

Just past the winding hole at bridge 9 was what looked like a small ditch. I looked around to see where the canal went only to realise that the ditch was the canal. We proceeded with caution with hopes of not getting stuck or meeting another boat. Luckily neither happened and it was just another adventure to notch up on our belt.

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Puttenham Locks no's 10 & 11

Finding a mooring on the Aylesbury Arm was quiet a challenge. Eventually we found this lovely stretch with no boats at all. Later we were joined by 2 other boats and a very pleasant evening was spent by all.

No water

At 4. 30 am Ian fell out of bed! Well not quite because I was in the way but you get the picture. We were listing alarmingly. Doors hung open and the dogs were hanging on to their beds with claws gripping tightly to our wooden floor!! That was it then, one up all up as you might say. On walking to the lock Ian heard running water and assumed there must be a leak in the canal bed. We walked the otherway toward lock 10 and discovered 2 chaps on the boat behind us had also decided to get up and run some water down. Within 15 mins we were floating again. It was now about 5.30am so we had breakfast, another cup of tea and I went fishing. Well no point in going back to bed was there.

Loads of Water

"Oh good" we thought, enough water to see us all the way down the arm

Aylesbury Arm

We decided to have a jaunt down the Aylesbury Arm. All single locks,16 in total, and we thought it would make a nice change. Little did we no what was in store for us. Interesting to say the least!

First 2 locks are staircase. Took us nearly 30 Min's to enter the first lock. Boats boats and more boats all waiting to come up. They obviously knew something we didn't !!!

Saturday 12 June 2010


What a fabulous fish. They are huge on this stretch of the Grand Union. I lost two, honest. Never even got to see the whites of their eyes!

Colin and Oscar paid us a visit. Well actually I had asked Colin to bring me some more bait but what a bonus for Oscar who had never seen a live fish before.

I suddenly realised how difficult it is to have a lively nearly 2 year old on the boat. We fed the ducks with bread and then Oscar decided to feed them again with my glasses case. Needless to say I will never see them again!!!! and the ducks didn't much appreciate it either.

Friday 11 June 2010

Fish fish and more fish

This netfull was the result of 6 hours fishing near the Globe Inn at Linslade. Not all the fish went in the net. I threw the smaller ones back!!!

Three Locks in Soulsbury

Hard work again doing all the double locks. Only another 100 or so to do until we reach Paddington. Best get on with it then.

Just enjoying making fools of ourselves.

Thursday 10 June 2010

Milton Keynes

Another strange duck. I have been reliable informed that it is a Mandarin.

Mural at Milton Keynes Much nicer then all the graffiti that's normally about.

Monday 7 June 2010

Family at Milton Keynes

Oscar looking most bemused by Nana's Hells Angel impression.

Working hard on the conservatory

Our stay at Cosgrove was very enjoyable. Hazel the mooring warden made us welcome again. I discovered the river below the Iron Aqueduct which the dogs appreciated as the weather turned hot, hot, hot! In fact I managed to persuade Ian to go out and purchase a sun brolly which saved me from ending up like a dried prune.

As predicted we made our way to Colin and Iwona's and Ian was immediately marched to Colin's conservatory with cries of "just the person to help sort out my conservatory". At the weekend Chrissy, Kev and Joshua turned up. Great family visit until Oscar developed a stomach bug and then not wanting to keep it to himself, promptly infected Christine, Colin, Joshua and me. Ian and Kev managed to avoid the bug. Constitution of an ox, comes to mind! Anyway on Sunday afternoon I started being sick. That stayed with me all that night and into Monday and part of Tuesday. Then the dreaded runs started. Its no joke being stuck on a boat with a small but normally adequate loo. Thank goodness we had 2 cassettes!!!! Unfortunately I missed going to Nottingham hospital with Ian to find out the results of his MRI scan. When he eventually returned to the boat on that Monday evening and told me he wouldn't have to see the consultant again until October, the relieve I felt was enormous. We are free to continue on our travels YIPPEE.
Dennis and Margaret arrived back to their boat and so on Tuesday 9th we once more set of toward London safe in the knowledge that the rest of the summer was hospital free.

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