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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.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Finally we've arrived!

Yep we're finally here. Our plan was to leave midday but after washing the boat and with no other boat even appearing to move, we decided we would get underway and start the mad exodus. So tiller on we set off by 8.45am. Sure enough first one boat pulled out then another and before we knew it we had us a convoy. With us being first we sailed through the Branston lock and started to look for S31A which was our allocated mooring. We found it just after the A38 bridge (Br No 33b), pulled in and luckily managed to get right into the bank. So we put pins in and then went off to see how far we would have to walk to the site. On the way we met Tim our Harbour Master. After introducing ourselves he then informed us that the mooring S20A was free and would we like to move there. So we pulled pins and headed off for the mooring. What we hadn't realised when we got therewas that the bottom was to near the top and we hadn't a hope in hell of getting into the side. Eventually after a lot of maneuvering we managed to get within 4 ft.

Jade testing the boards. Then Judy tried and promptly fell off!!! The boards were to slippery for her and she couldn't get a grip.

So... we added as many mats as we could, all tied with bunjee's. That worked a treat.
  We still had no idea how far the field was but at least we could see Shobnall Marina. We were pretty certain that the distance wouldn't be to far and after a 10 minute walk arrived on site. To see how the boats had been packed in was quite a sight, and this was still only Wednesday. There would be many more arriving today as well as tomorrow and although the Festival starts Friday afternoon I expect even more boats will arrive then,.
There doesn't appear to be a channel. I can assure you there is one but its a very tight fit. No wonder the hirer's find it difficult to maneuver.

All the moorings on the towpath side will be filled by the disabled boaters. The first boat seen in this picture is Sanity Again owned by Bruce and Shelia. Bruce has been keeping us informed on Shobnall Field Forever  since 16th July about what was happening around the site. 
Once we got our boaters pack we decided to have a walk to Dallow Lock and see what was happening below the lock. We never got there because we spied a unique boat, the only one of its kind for now.
The owner of the boat said we could have a sneak preview before the opening on Friday. Basically his boat is a conventional hull but added to the front is an extension, which can be used for anything you like. The extension can be removed to allow easier passage through the smaller but wide locked waterways, ie:- Leeds and Liverpool. I'm not going to say much about it for now as the boat will appear in Waterways World and a full write up will be better then anything I can say. What both Ian and I do know is that it is a brilliant idea and would save the cost and upheaval of having a boat stretched. If ordered this year the cost of the hull would set you back about £10,000 and if painted in your boat colours would probably add another £3000 on top of that. Of course a full fit out would be considerably more.

If you would like more information phone Pete Walpole 07889 914926 or e-mail p.walpole@yahoo.com


Unknown said...

hi you went pass us this morning we were heading for Branston lock were we moored up we are going to the site on friday might say hi
we also saw that strange boat looks good
colin and tina

Jo Lodge said...

Looks like organised chaos lol.
Poor you being that far from the bank, maybe that is why the mooring was vacant. I hope that you enjoy a lovely weekend. We are at Stourport enjoying being on the electric. Have fun. xx

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