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.

Sunday 27 February 2011

Bugsworth Basin

Whaley Bridge was impossible to moor in. As we went past Tesco there was boat after boat, and it then became clear that these were permit holders only moorings. Just before we reached the winding hole and facilities, a short stretch of bank was allocated for 7 day mooring. Only trouble was the bank had collapsed and the dreaded Defra rash was in place so even if you wanted to stop you couldn't. We used the facilities and then decided to do another mile back to the Bugsworth Basin. I'm so glad we did. Whereas Whaley Bridge was grey and dismal, Bugsworth offered us the tranquillity that we had grown used to.
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Saturday 26 February 2011

Peak forest canal

This turnover bridge was at the junction of the Maccelsfield and Peak forest canal. We decided to turn left and head for Whaley bridge.
Posted by PicasaAnd anther spectacular mooring!

It's a deer, dear!

Wow, what was that? Cruising along and admiring the views I suddenly saw something in the distance to make me sit up and take note. I put the boat hard in reverse. "Deer deer" I shouted to Ian, who came running up from the galley. What do you want he said. "No! no! deer deer" I said again. "Look" he said "I'm here now what do you want". Well I felt this could go on for ever so I pointed in the distance and finally he got the message. I think its a young stag judging by the size of his antlers. I really had to zoom in with my camera to get this shot.
Posted by PicasaIts amazing, Just like buses. You see one and more turn up on the way. These though were penned but the young stag was, like us, a "free spirit".

Friday 25 February 2011

unusual sights

At first I wondered what possessed this boat owner to do this to his boat. Then Ian pointed out they were porthole covers. Pretty unique, I thought. Now if only the rest of the boat looked as good!!
Posted by Picasa Another unusual sight. They're either flying geese or swans.

A traumatic start to the day

Today I woke early. Well early for me that is. At 7 10am I decided to get up and take our woofits out. Jade was eager to go as always but Judy seemed to want to stay in her bed. I called and called and eventually she jumped of the boat. No sooner had she started walking when suddenly her back legs gave way and down she went. Her head arched back and she started paddling with her front legs. It seemed for all the world that she was having a fit, but within 30 seconds she recovered and her tail started wagging again. By now Ian had heard my shouts and donned in an old tracksuit bottom rushed to my aid. Judy in the meantime, had managed to get herself up and looked at us as if to ask what all the fuss had been about. Well I couldn't stop shaking. I honestly thought her end had come. I still don't know what caused it. I think a trip to the vets is in order! In this picture Judy is at the back looking as if she hasn't a care in the world.

Thursday 24 February 2011

Yet another sunset

Good weather to come, I hope. This picture was taken at our moorings by Ramsdell Hall.
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As I don't often get to be in my posts I thought I would put a couple in. After all I might forget what I looked like.
Posted by Picasa Had to get a picture of this roach. Its not often I catch any thing bigger then a minnow!

Wonderful views

Isn't life wonderful. The sun is shinning, temperatures in the low teens and spring is just around the corner. We have seen squirrels, Jays , buzzards and great spotted woodpeckers. The views are fantastic and if this is only the start of the Mac, bring on the rest!!

Posted by PicasaI don't remember travelling on another canal that has bridge after bridge after bridge. Stunning!

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Maccelsfield canal

View from the Maccelsfield aqaduct looking down over the T & M

The trip through the tunnel was VERY wet. Well it would be after all the rain we'd had over night. We also needed coal and at the exit of the tunnel, the nice BW guy Dave, told us where we could get solid fuel and also diesel at 85p Ltr. So with a stop at the boatyard just before the junction, we loaded the boat up with another 6 bags of coal. ( At £6.50 a bag it was worth getting.) and then turned sharp left onto the Maccelsfield. At the first convenient mooring we stopped to go to Tesco and with a shopping list as long as your arm, it took several trips to get all our stuff back to the boat.( I blamed Ian's beer but he was convinced it was the wine cartons that did it.) I didn't fancy staying on our mooring over night. It was to near the road and the railway was about 50 yds away so we set of to find a rural mooring. Okay the Mac is very rural and there appeared to be loads of excellent moorings, piled edges and good towpath, but every time we tried to get into the side we hit mud. After attempting to moor up about 6 times I began to despair. I had visions of throwing out our mud weights and settling for the night in the middle of the canal. We eventually found a 48hr mooring that wasn't taken up by other boats and with a sigh of relieve stopped for the night. A fellow boater told us that most of the Mac is shallow so we are in for an interesting few days.
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Harecastle's infamous occupant

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Tuesday 22 February 2011

Dog rescue

Typical spaniel. They just cant keep out of the water. This one leapt in out of sheer devilment. The owner tried to direct it to a lower part of the bank, but the dog was having none of it. In the end the owner grabbed hold and unceremoniously dragged it out.
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Harecastle Tunnel

Yesterday Ian gave BW a ring to see about going through the tunnel. They only allow boats through Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and we had to give at least 48 hours notice to guarantee passage. We arranged it for Wednesday morning, so today we had a slow amble up to the tunnel entrance with a stop for lunch at Westport Lake. Surprisingly no other boats were moored along the stretch from Etruria and Harecastle. Maybe BW are finally moving the continues moorers along!

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Old and New Tunnel entrance

Old entrance to the Harecastle. Thank goodness we don't have to leg it through the tunnels anymore. Some things in the "good old days" were not so good!
Posted by PicasaAnd the new.

Mandarin duck at Etruria

Another bird from far of shores.China to be precise. This one was also trying to woo a female Mallard. What a shame we cant match this Mandarin with the American wood duck found in Stone.
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Sunday 20 February 2011

More Debris

After a great morning on Barney Buffer and because TV, Phone and Internet was rubbish at Chedderton, we decided to leave and go back to Endon where we knew all the technology would work. I had the tiller again and as I travelled along something didn't feel quite right. I had to keep the revs on to keep us moving and even then I seemed to get slower and slower. More stuff round the prop I thought! I was wrong. All that you can see in the picture was caught on our bow. Now I know its just small twigs and branches but its amazing how much drag it caused.
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Froghall Tunnel

Me thinks our boat is to high to fit through the tunnel. Glad we didn't have the option to try it!!!
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Barney Buffer

The station of Kingsley & Froghall.

Silly pose

Although sticking ones head out of the window from a moving steam train seems like a good idea, I wouldn't recommend it. I had a speck of what I presume was burnt coal fly into my right eye causing extreme pain when I tried frantically to work it out. I spent the rest of the trip mopping up tears and trying to get rid of the speck. Eventually I did manage to get rid of it but it took several hours before the eye was back to normal again.

Posted by PicasaSomeone forgot to look!!! Luckily the train was moving slowly.
Same picture of Consall Forge only this time by train.
Posted by Picasa This chimney is what stopped us from cruising to Froghall. What I cant understand is if the train can thunder past without any fear of it falling down then why couldn't we travel quietly past by boat?

First Crocus

Spring is nearly here although you wouldn't have believed it. Cold and grey with drizzle was the forecast for today and our steam train trip only an hour away. Hope the weather improves!
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