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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.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Going in...no...coming out

Such a late finish last night. The missing nuts were found but two washers were not. A rummage in his 'man cupbourd' to find replacements and finally, with bated breath Ian turned the key to warm the glow plugs, waited the usual 10 seconds and .....yes, what a sweet sound of a perfect sounding running engine. No white smoke just the normal puff when the engine started. But, and slap our wrists, the time was way past the 8 pm allowed to run an engine. One plastic cruiser behind us but luckily no irate person emerged waving a fist. For about a minute the engine was run at about 1200 rpm before switching off. So one very oily person (Ian)  showered and then my 'man that can' downed a glass or two of wine which was well earned after spending the whole day on fixing the engine.

Glorious evening reflections
6.30am and the mist rising making another one of those magical mornings.

FS started up as normal thank goodness, so we got underway by 8.30 am. Destination Wheaton Aston for cheap diesel.  First though it was negotiate the narrows. Here I stayed right on Icing's stern so any oncoming boats would have to wait.

Next was Autherley junction where we turned right onto the Shroppie.Everything was going according to plan, Dennis started his turn knowing the lock was with him as a boat had just left, I hovered mid stream waiting my turn and then watched in bewilderment as Icing suddenly revered out again. "Odd" thinks I until it twigged that another boater must have turned the lock around. A hire boat who's crew didn't think to check the junction before filling the lock. Dennis ended up facing in the wrong direction and I was beginning to wonder if he was heading home again! Anyway eventually the hirer's emerged, Dennis did the turn into the lock and I followed behind.

Exiting boat

Going in and
reversing out

Icing now facing towards us

Very noticeable was the lack of boats moored at Autherley. We nearly always have trouble getting through with the Napton hire boats but today was a doodle. We stopped for water, Dennis started the fill first and then we waited...and waited...and waited some more! A sign saying 30 minutes stopping time only (that had been and gone) and Dennis gave up with a far from full tank. We did no more than put enough water in the tank for our immediate needs deciding to use the tap at Wheaton Aston instead.

Not a moored boat in sight

The A5 Stretton Aqueduct

Approaching Wheaton Aston lock. Dark skies beginning to loom up
 Dark clouds on the horizon and it was a case of will we or wont we get wet. Both Dennis and Ian filled the diesel tank at Turners with a good price of 58.9 Ltr. Setting off once more we had only gone about 15 minutes and the heavens opened. Oh well no point in stopping now that we were wet through. My only regret was the Kingfisher that flew through a bridge 'ole landing on concrete ledge not 5 yards from me. A very bedraggled Kingfisher and one I would loved to have got a photo of.

So after a long day we finally stopped at Gnosall near the boat pub. A well deserved meal and pint later is on the cards, a much better idea than having to cook.

And on route,

Not sure I agree with towpath shrines.

Hundreds of fish at the outflow at Wheaton Aston.

Wildlife today,

must get to the other side

Hmmm, so how do I do that?

Another time perhaps!

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