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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, 18 September 2017

My three pet hates!

Sunday 17th September.

Locking gloves on, waterproofs at the ready and all set for the final push up that Heartbreak Hill flight. One boat had already come past, about 10 minutes before we untied, so I walked on to set the first of the 14 locks we would do today.

The majority of  locks doubled up and it was at the third of the pair that I caught up with that earlier boat and just in time to see it disappearing around the bend with the top gate left open. Now if there are three things that get my goat, (speeding cyclists, not picking up after the dog and leaving exit gates open) it is the latter that gets me most annoyed. So you can imagine I was not best pleased and made my feelings known but the lady helms women gestured something which I thought to mean that there was a boat approaching. I went to check which showed no such thing. Mumbling away to myself I closed the gate and emptied both chambers.

At the very next lock I see a gentleman raising the top paddle for us. It was the chap from that boat! He apologised saying he thought a boat was coming so left the gate open. I suppose I had to give him benefit of doubt but the fact no boat appeared made me wonder if that was just an excuse.

 A boat slipped from their moorings just as we came from around the bend but instead of slowing us down they too became our helpers as they raised paddles and helped close gates.

Pound was a bit low.
Some of the lock paddles on the bottom gates were almost impossible to raise and equally those top gates hard to close. At one point I thought I was giving myself a hernia.

Heave too Stephen

and again

And now Margarets turn!

The filling of those deep locks were a right B as even by raising the paddles slowly, the force of water made FS surge forward. Usually we sit back on the bottom gate but found it much less stressful to let the front button ride up the top gates. Occasionally the amount of water flowing over the bow due to leakage kept my flowers watered nicely!

So what we estimated would take 4.5 hours took only 3.5. But we never made it to Harecastle Tunnel. Instead, we stopped before the facilities so we could have Sunday lunch at Red Bull Hotel.  Tomorrow the last 3 locks and then into the tunnel.  Must look out for that skeleton!

And seen on route, at lock 48 and 47 the derelict second chambers.

Lock 47

Lock 48

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