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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.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Glad to be down wind from that!

Thursday 14th September

Had a meal at Willeymoor lock tavern last night. Very good value (roughly £8 for good pub grub) and delicious. We even indulged in a pud, there goes the diet again!

It rained on and off all night with sudden torrential bursts that sounded like the roof was being shot blasted. This morning though, the sun shone and not a breath of wind.... well not until much later that is.

Willeymoor lock

Quoisley lock
 Leaving Marbury lock Ian was convinced this was the first of the Braddiley locks. He had a complete brain failure forgetting Wrenbury was before the locks. So striding out windlass in hand he walked, and walked, and walked some more. 1.5 miles later he finally twigged the 2nd Braddiley lock was not just round the next bend! I eventually picked him up at the open Wrenbury Frith lift bridge.

Wrenbury Frith lift bridge.
It was here a funny incident occurred. I could see the lift bridge was already open and treated it like an ordinary bridge hole. Following behind was a canaltime hire boat. Then something unexpected happened. Not sure why one of the crew jumped off at the lift bridge but jump off he did, only to find the winding gear locked and no way to close it. I suppose he felt he was doing the right thing by getting off, and hats off to him for him wanting to do that but now he was stranded on the wrong side watching his captain taking the boat away from him. As we had already pulled over to wait for Icing, Ian took control suggesting they reverse back to rescue their crew member. In the end, it was bow stern hauled back with much laughter coming from them and equally as much from me.

Approaching Wrenbury Frith lift bridge

The chap tried to find another way round without luck.

Stern hauling it back

At Wrenbury mechanised lift bridge we caught up with them again. The bridge was already in operation with a boat coming through. The hire boat went next closely followed by me. But as I reached the bridge a hand was raised indicating that I should wait. Couldn't understand why as Icing was hot on FS's tail and I was almost on the hire boats back button but down went the bridge anyway. As I understand it, the 'one and only' car driver waiting was getting very irate at being held up and made it known to the lady operator. No more than three boats should go through at any one time but I was the third and it would only have been 30 seconds later that Dennis would have made it through.  If it had been me operating the bridge I may have said a few choice words to the lady car driver and then left it open for the rest of the boats.

A queue greeted us at Braddiley locks. I volunteered Ian to do these only because he was wearing walking boots and I just had my trainers. You may well ask why? Well the ground was sodden all along the towpath to the lock as well as the mini swimming pool that greeted you right where one would have to stand to open the lock gate, made him the obvious choice!

Got windier and windier the later the day progressed and for once I didn't mind one bit. A break in a hedge near to Hurleston and there, in the field, a tractor with a long hose attached spraying liquid manure over the crops. 'Good country smells' as Ian would say but not that close to the canal. Glad the wind was blowing in away from me.

Had anyone else become aware of the sheer amount of acorns on the Oak trees this year? Not just acorns but all the fruits along the hedgerows. The sloes are ripe and ready now for the picking. We normally pick late September early October, just means we can start the gin much earlier.

Reached Hurleston and found the facilities still to be out of order. Bit of a worry as our Nicholson show Barbridge junction to be water and rubbish only. This means our next place to empty the loo is at Wheellock 15 miles and 7 locks away. We wanted to stay overnight at Middlewich so some crossing of legs may be needed in the next day or so!

And Wildlife,

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Gold crest in hiding


Ann B said...


The water point at Barbridge has been removed. Venetian marina have an elsan disposal & provide free water if you are stuck.

Linda Chandler said...

Wow, great photos of the goldcrest - totally captivating

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Thanks Ann. Wish we had known. Now moored at Middlewich so have already gone past.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Thanks Linda, Just wish I could have got all of it. Xx

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