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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.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

explorer cruise day 2

Had a bit of trouble trying to moor up last night outside the Manor pub. We managed to get the front in but the back had to stick out into the channel. Good job no other boats turned up. The pub was good and the ales most agreeable. The men seemed to like the beer as more and more pints were sampled. I stuck with wine! I left the men to their tipple around 10.30pm and what I can gather from Ian, they all staggered back to the boats an hour later. This morning we were again waiting for Mick and Carole to get up. As no bodies appeared and no boat movement we all decided to leave them in bed and set off for Rushall locks. There seemed to be plenty of water at the top of the flight but as soon as we started to descend we literally ran out.

It was by the bridge in the distance that we got stuck.

No way could we get the boat onto the landing.

This was at lock 2. Both gates refused to stay open.

Very low water!

 We happened to be the last of four boats and every time a lock full of water was drawn, we got nearer and nearer to the bottom. At one point Ian was pushing with one pole at the front while I pushed with the other pole at the back. We eventually got going and with a lot of care managed to get down the flight.The plan for today was to stay at the secure moorings at Ocker Hill and visit the Wheatsheaf pub tonight. So first along the Tame Valley toward Ryders Green

M6 meets M5

 Plans went horribly wrong when there was only enough room for 2 boats so after a quick phone call to Carole (who by the way had eventually set off an hour after we left the Manor) and the decision was made for Icing, Bracken and ourselves to forget going to the pub tonight and go up the Ryder Green flight. We were assured by C&RT that the moorings were as secure as any in Brum. We left Aroma waiting for Electra and proceeded up the flight. Several things nearly scuppered our chances. First was the bottom gate of lock 7. I had to run at it because Ian couldn't get the gate fully opened and getting in gave me deja vu when I got stuck in Stensons lock on the T&M. I only just made it in and because I kept the revs up shot into the lock like a bullet out of a gun. I stopped just in time before I hit the top gates! Then at lock 4 a C&RT bod was welding a metal plate to a lock gate.

You may wonder looking at the photos what he was doing. The balance beam was close to collapse and this was a temporary fix. Looks a mess but seems to do the job. I wonder how many years it will stay like this!! Anyway because of C&RT doing a spot of welding we had to wait quite a while for him to finally finish. He said he was amazed that any boats had arrived. They never usually see many boats on the flight. Maybe that's why C&RT cant be bothered to fix locks and dredge the canal.

Heather and Dave on Nb Bracken on last but one lock Ryders Green Flight.
 Stopping at Ryders Green top lock was a non starter. No decent moorings for 3 boats, so we continued to Dudley No 2 canal and found a suitable mooring for all of us. We just have to suffer the noise from the trains behind us and the factory to the side. Still one cant have everything!

Looks idyllic

Except for the factory!
We will await Carole and Michael and John and Jackie to arrive tomorrow and then see what the next plan  pub will be.

And finally:-

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