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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 20 May 2011

The sad demise of a duckling

As our loo cassette was nearly full and the water tanks needed topping up, we decided to leave Swarkstone and head for Willington. On the way there a huge crane appeared on the skyline. As we got nearer it became obvious that it was something to do with network rail. The crane itself happened to be parked right next to the Indian restaurant by bridge 21. It didn't delay our journey so apart from creeping slowly past we made Willington in good time.

 After emptying the loo and watering up we decided to do a Morrison shop at Bridge 33b. This meant we would have to go through Dallow Lock, the first single lock on the T & M going north. Ian opened the bottom gate and before I had a chance to enter a mum and her 8 ducklings got there first. So I slowly crept forward until I was just in the lock, enough for Ian to close the gate. The duck family swam to the top gates and Ian only cracked open one paddle just enough to let the water in very slowly. When we were nearly up the mother duck decided to fly onto the side leaving the ducklings desperately trying to reach her. Then the worse possible thing happened. As the water levelled out the top gate swung open just a tiny bit but it was enough for one of the ducklings to attempt to exit. Then the gate swung back and before Ian could react,and stop the gate from banging shut, the duckling was well and truly crushed. I was absolutely gutted. After everything we had done to try to keep all the family alive, for that to happen made me feel bad. After opening the gate the remainder ducklings swam out and mum joined them. She didn't appear to realise that one of her brood was missing and swam off completely unconcerned. We also went on our way but I hope I don't have to ever go through that again.

Before the horrible event.
 We are now moored below Branston Lock. We wanted to get to the water park for the weekend but as the time was 4.30pm and Branston Water Park is a very popular mooring for hire boats, I didn't think we would find a space. We'll leave a bit later tomorrow with the hope that most of the boats will have left the mooring.

1 comment:

Jo Lodge said...

Awwwwwwwww that is so very sad. Unfortunately it is probably a common event. It always amazes me that despite losing ducklings the mum's never seem to miss them.
We are also so careful when either ducklings or cygnets enter locks with us. I remember the year before last we shared a lock with a pen and her cygnets, they did not seem at all worried, but we were so careful when in the lock with them. Thankfully all went well and they left then lock with us unharmed.
See you in July hopefully x

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