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.

Monday 31 July 2017

Finally a route plan

Waiting for the PInkhill Owl to show up in-between showers and another vibrant rainbow was seen.

A double.
No Owl though, mores the pity. Then to add insult to injury it called continuously for about 10 minutes and right by the bedroom window after we had welcomed our pit. The nearby tree must have been its perch but without a powerful torch nothing could be seen.

 This morning we have a definite plan. First time since leaving Milton Keynes when our plans to do the Rivers Nene and Ouse was foiled by the cost of the licence. It's off to do the Llangollen canal with friends Dennis and Margaret on Nb Icing. So instead of staying at Pinkhill we headed back down river to the Sheepwash cut. Only one manned lock today after the three self service we did and that was Eynsham. Here we were told of three narrowboats ending up on sand banks. You would have thought the huge green buoys would have been noticeable but nope, their excuse was they didn't see them! 

Next four photos of Pinkhill lock

Below Eynsham lock and the buoys clearly visible.
I was surprised that Kings lock was on self service as this is the first lock heading downstream that boaters reach from leaving Dukes cut. A Thames licence would have to be purchased from this lock.  Without the watchful eye of a lock keeper it meant I could be naughty by leaving the engine running and not roping up. Well I was descending after all, but not something to practise when locking up.

Kings Lock

 Getting to Sheepwash Cut and we found the turn. Although I looked no sign of a sign but the  Thames book shows that this is the clearly the only way we could go. Coming to large booms across the river I did wonder if we had got it wrong but a swing to the right and then a very tight left turn took us onto the pontoon of Isis lock.

Managed to find a space after the lock and did the route march to Tesco express. Oxford with its hundreds of people to dodge was not for my liking and I was very glad to get back to FS.

Strange to go at tickover past the boats again and having to negotiate those curtains of willows obscuring ones vision. Meeting a boat at one such place made it difficult to keep FS toward the far bank, especially as the wind was trying it's danrdest to push her back.

Edward lift bridge was supposed to be lifted but very glad that it was already open. Too many moored boats for one to get off otherwise. Looks like the chain and locking mechanism has been removed so one assumes it is no longer needed.

Stopped before we got to Wolvercote lock. The skies looked rather ominous which was a worry as a BBQ had been planned for tonight.

Look at that for art. Seen in a bridge 'ole.

Wildlife seen today.

Must like the colour of my nails!

Sunday 30 July 2017

Dodgems with rowers and swimmers.

Sudden bang and we shot out of the chairs. Gone 8 pm, tipping it down with rain and we had to go see.  A widebeam smacked us right up FS's stern and bounced off. We were on the EA moorings well away from the lock landing so why hit us at all?. Ian rushed out and the chap apologised saying he was trying to pick one of his crew up and didn't see us until too late (why on earth did he come so far up from the lock landing to collect his crew member?). The only reason he didn't see us was because his pram top windows were all steamed up!

Passed the boat early this morning.
 It was the weather this time that got us away at another silly time of 7.30am. Not that we are fair weather boaters mind, but if we can stay dry, we will. So with rain forecast to arrive by midday and wanting to get to Eynsham before it started, we set the alarm for 7am.

I must say it's a lovely time to cruise, nothing on the move apart from us, and the river to ourselves. Or so I thought. After Iffley lock, rowers lots of them! I even had to resort to pressing the horn as a coxless pair headed straight for me!

Downside is having to do the locks but only two had to be done this way (Iffley and Osney) as by the time we reached Godstow lock it was manned.



 Before Osney Lock we first had to negotiate the Salters trip boats at Folly bridge. Two ways around the island and we chose the right.

Surprise, a few mooring spaces to be had. Normally this is full of continues moorers but we had heard from one of the lock keepers that steps were being taken to try and move them on.

Left or right? we chose right.
From here onward only the small cruisers and narrow boats can go. Bridge to low for the Gin Palace cruisers!

I am assuming this is the entrance to Sheepwash cut and back to the Oxford canal. No sign that I could see and we will be heading back that way tomorrow
Is this the cut? Looks ever so narrow at the end. No doubt we will find out tomorrow.

 Onwards to the meadows. Big sign on one of the bridges warning boaters to stay in the middle.

Port Meadows.

 Not the best place to meet a swimmer.

Godstow Lock

Godstow Priory

Kings Lock and here the lock keepers have to work hard. No buttons to push for them.

This pair has rowed most of the non tidal Thames.

Dukes cut  (Left) to the Oxford canal

Dark stormy skies

Hmmm... somehow I don't think this will miss us.

Eynsham at last. Took just four and a half hours

 Last lock for today Pinkhill

Moored at Pinkhill Meadow. Hopeful that the Owl will put in an appearance. That is if the rain stops!

 And seen on route,

Decision.....right or left. I have stiched the photos together but somewhere in the far trees was a sign. Ian saw it at the last minute.

Oh look, there it is!

Early morn wildlife

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