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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.

Monday, 11 April 2016

L plate for this volunteer?

Saturday 9th

Wonderfully peaceful last night with only the sound of a distant owl calling to it's mate. Shame then that we both woke early and would so have loved a lie in but once awake no use in staying in bed. Instead we set off well before 9am knowing that our intended destination for today was top of Bratch locks, only abut 5 miles away . Plenty of these circular weirs by the locks, quite unique as a feature on the Staffs & Worc,

The facility block was above Greenforge lock. Here we stopped to empty the loo, well that was the plan anyway. Ian started to empty it but was concerned that the waste wasn't draining away. In fact the basin started filling up with effluent but by then he had almost emptied the cassette. Trying to phone C&RT was useless. Just got the same message over and over again. "All our operators are busy at the moment". After 5 minutes of hanging on he gave up as a bad job. So beware if you get to Greenforge facilities. Your loo may have to stay full!

Rounding a corner, match fishermen stretching for over half a mile. Back in tick over mode for what seemed like ages and very grateful when we got to the last one.

Another staircase lock to do Botterham..The bottom lock was empty so I sidled in then had to wait for Ian to fill the next lock. For some reason he only 3/4 filled it so by the time he emptied that chamber to bring me up, I had to coast over the gate cill! He admitted he may have got it slightly wrong!.

into the second chamber and the paddle can be seen. Hummmm not enough water in the chamber perhaps Ian?

And then Bratch flight of locks (almost a staircase but short pounds in between) manned by a volunteer and a man from C&RT . I had a bit of an incident as I was in the bottom lock. The volunteer (in blue) raised the paddle, in fact he whipped it up that quick that I shot backwards and hit the bottom gate with a thwack. "For goodness sake" says I to the C&RT guy, "who rattled his cage. Hadn't he heard of lifting the paddle slowly"? "Someone should tell him the proper way of bringing a boat up in a lock"! Apparently this was his first afternoon on the job and we were his first ascending boat. Okay we all need to learn but he should have been told by the C&RT guy to ask the helmsman how they wanted the paddles raised first. Winding a paddle up quickly was asking for trouble. If I hadn't got my wits about me and pushed the throttle forward to counteract the majority of the backward momentum some of our crockery may have ended up on the floor! I don't blame the volunteer at all. He was just doing as he was told, raise the paddle.

Volunteer by the paddle

I shouted at Ian in the end to do the rest of the paddle gear for me.

And a man after my own heart

 Wildlife today


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