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 30 June 2013

Still at Shackerstone

Had a meal in the Rising Sun last night with two of our oldest friends Joy and Andy. We talked the night away catching up with the gossip as one does and was all but kicked out of the pub when the landlord wanted to shut up shop! The meal was excellent for pub grub although a bit more pricey then the average 2 for 1 fare normally found around the system. We do it all over again tonight but this time with Christine, Kev and Josh. At least we wont be paying as it is a thank you meal for looking after Echo for a week.

Joy and Andy on holiday. Forgot to take my camera last night so used this one instead
Had another walk to Shackerstone Railway with high hopes today of seeing the steam train. I was not disappointed when I heard the whistle blow in the distance and it pulled into the station. Unfortunately the engine was facing backwards but I still got some decent shots of it. If you would like to find out more about the battlefield line then click here 

Our Mooring by the aqueduct.
And finally:-

Attending his flock

and getting a reward of honeydew.

Saturday 29 June 2013

Beginning to feel a bit better today although I had another bad night last night. The tablets are slowly starting to do their job, so much so, that I managed a slow walk to Shaklestone railway. Wish I hadnt bothered because only the diesel trains were picking up passengers today and I wanted to see the steam trains. The good news is they will be running tomorrow. Good job too as we are only staying here until Monday!

This weekend was one of the special events that occur throughout the year. Take your teddy and ride for free ( shame it only applies to children )

As the weather was decent Ian started the rubbing down on the back part of the roof. As there wasn't much that I could do to help Ian, out came the rod again. I have finally found a good fishing spot on the Ashby. This tip is for you Nev  (Nb Percy). Moor just past the aqueduct at Shackelstone, rod out no more then 7 feet from the bank, double maggot on size 18 hook and hopefully, like me, you will catch loads of roach, perch and skimmers. This was my biggest fish today.

I may have caught most coarse fish in my time but have never caught any game fish. This fish was lying in the shallows of the river running under the canal by the aqueduct. I think it is a trout but no doubt all you fisherman out there will put me right if I'm wrong.

And finally:-

Pied Wagtail
Tiny baby spider hatchlings

Friday 28 June 2013

A mad dash to Market Bosworth

I didn't post yesterday because I was very unwell. It all started on Wednesday when I felt the tell tell  signs on my Diverticulitis starting. I went into a bit of denial not wanting to believe it was coming. That night I awoke with terrific abdominal pains, I could deny it no longer. Thursday morning I helped Ian to unload the top box and place it on the towpath ready for the second phase of roof sanding. Afterward, feeling like death warmed up, I started looking for doctors nearby on the internet. The only doctors I could find that was within walking distance was at Market Bosworth and that was still a mile from the visitor mooring. I phoned to see if  an appointment was in the offering for Friday. A cancellation yesterday meant I could be seen at 3.30 that very afternoon. Now we were at bridge 3. It was 9.45am and the top box was on the towpath. The Market Bosworth moorings were at bridge 42. Ian estimated it was about 14 miles away. At an average speed of 3mph we could just about make it by 14.30ish . So after replacing the top box, we left by 10am. We hadn't reckoned on the Ashby being as shallow as it was, and with loads of moored boats slowing us down, I honestly thought we wouldn't get there on time. Ian did a fantastic job. Speeding up where he could and then slowing down for the static boats and if a wash was created, we actually pulled onto a 'long term permit holders only' mooring by 3 pm. ( the visitor moorings looked to be full ). In agony with every step taken, the mile seemed endless and it also happened to be nearly all uphill. But we made it by the skin of our teeth and I am now on antibiotics for a week and panadol to ease the pain.Once back at the boat Ian walked to see if a space was to be had on the visitor moorings and after having a word with a hire boat that had taken up two spaces, they moved back to allow us to squeeze in.

With us dog sitting Echo from Sunday for a week, we decided to move on to Shacklestone early this morning before all the moorings were taken up. We had heard on the grapevine that a kiddie event was being held at Shacklestone railway this weekend and expected a lot of boat traffic. So, in the rain, we did the 4 mile journey in about hour and a half and, luckily for us, a hire boat pulled away just as we arrived otherwise we would have struggled. Christine and Kev, as a thank you, will take us to the Rising Sun pub for a meal after dropping off the dog so we expect to stay at least until Monday. Whether the boat roof will be sanded while we are here all depends on wind direction.  Im sure other boaters wouldn't want grey roofing dust to drift their way.

Female Pheasant, the only photo I took yesterday

A welcoming party to greet us this morning

Duck fisticuffs

He's under there somewhere.
And finally:-

Reed Bunting


Wednesday 26 June 2013

200 yds through the bridge ole.

Thats what we estimated our total travel was for today. The time had finally come for us to repaint the roof. We have been wanting to do it for ages but the weather had always scuppered our efforts . As the forecast seemed okay for the foreseeable future, we thought we would stay where we were and make a start. Saying that, on my walk with Jade I noticed the towpath was considerably wider through the bridge ole. With us wanting to spread out it seemed logical that before we did any more we up stakes and moved. It did mean we are nearer to the train line but the wind seemed to be blowing any rail noise away from us. First job after mooring, remove all the roof furniture. Easier said then done. The front box came off first. This was full of wood and even removing the wood in bags, we struggled. With that in mind Ian said it would be best to do the roof in two halves. So while I washed the roof and highlight the rust spots, he prepared the sander ready to start.

Last nights mooring and then

having moved 200 yds.

Roof furniture removed

The things we do for our dog.

And the hard work starts.

Looks like the boat has caught measles!
With tomorrow still looking favourable weather wise, hopefully all the preperation will be complete and the painting can start.

A very poor photo of a water vole. Ian spotted him first and grabbing my camera took these photos. Unfortunately it was on the wrong setting.

At least it proves they are doing well on the Ashby canal.
And finally:-

Violet flower with greenfly



Tuesday 25 June 2013

2 sunken boats in one day! And an elephant on the roof!

Up at 5am!!!!!!!! Why? Not because I needed the loo, or because the dog wanted to go out, or because Ian was snoring. No it was because an elephant was walking up and down above me. ( well it sounded like that anyway ). After listening to this for several minutes I got up to see what it was. As I opened the back cabin doors a bird flew away. Turned out to be a crow and it left dirty footprints all over the cratch cover. It could have at least wiped its feet before paying us a visit!

 As I gazed out into the distance a magical sight greeted me. The crow actually did me a favour because, without it waking me up, I would never had seen the early morning sunrise. I just had to capture the moment and trying not to wake Ian, got dressed and went out.

A big moon but this time at 5am
 I did manage another hours sleep when I returned to bed but with the dog wanting to go out by 7am both Ian and I thought we may as well get up, have breakfast and tackle Atherstone flight before any boats turned up. Seemed we were to late because a boat had just come out of lock 10 and, not one for pulling out in front of a boat, we waited for it to pass. Bad mistake because it turned out to be a lone lady boater. Even with Ian helping, to do 4 locks  took 1 hour and 9 minutes!  Thankfully after lock 5 she moored.

Lone lady boater
  At the exit of this lock the channel gets very narrow. Overhanging trees are mainly to blame did us no favours. Not only that but a row of moored boats meant there was only enough room for 1 boat to squeeze by. Having come out of lock 5, I was going past these boats on tickover and then suddenly, out of the blue, one of the moored boats facing toward lock 5,  pulled out right in front of me. I had nowhere to go but in the trees. I was not a happy bunny!!. Following behind was another boat who had just come out of  lock 4. He forced this boat to go in hard reverse. I reckon he wanted the lock we had just exited and was not going to allow the boat behind to get there first. I gave him some abuse as we drew level but it was like water of a ducks back. Anyway with me still seething we eventually, after nearly 2 hours, arrived at Atherstone top lock.

Looking down the flight. We were nearly at the top.

Having set of early we managed to get a mooring in Atherstone for a shopping spree. Well just for the essentials really, and got underway again by 11.30am. On route we came across first this cruiser by bridge 36 on the Coventry and then this narrowboat by bridge 18. It was very nearly across the whole width of the canal. The narrowboat had been reported ages ago, I remember reading about it somewhere, and nothing has been done about it! This is a hazzard to navigation and therefore should be removed. Waiting to find the owner is a waste of time. Does a serious accident need to happen before C&RT do anything about it? We should all have bets to see how long it remains submerged.

By bridge 36

Before bridge 18 (heading towards the Ashby)

Having turned onto the Ashby early afternoon, Ian has been replacing the bilge pump. He finally managed to buy one on route. As for me, well I tried my hand at fishing again but with no luck so went of for a walk instead.

Turning into the Ashby

Quiet mooring for the night.
And finally:-

Banded Grayling

Sedge Warbler

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