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.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Now how will I get through?

No.. we didn't have to BBQ under a brolly! Those dark clouds passed us by and it turned out to be a lovely evening after all. BBQ took a little longer than anticipated. Seems the heat just wasn't there to cook the chops and burgers but that was soon rectified when Ian added more coals.

Overnight and this morning the rain was relentless. Was it the right decision then to continue the journey? Well yes as we crept past those boaters waiting for the rain to stop and got to the locks first.

Hmmm. me things some water side maintenance is called for.
 The wet weather gear protected us to a certain extent but we still looked like drowned rats and I soon discovered my shoes were not water proof, it was that wet soggy feeling and squelching noises that gave the game away.

top left photo shows the amount of spray thrown up by the cars.
 Between Willeymoor and Povey's locks was about a quarter mile so decided to walk. Hadn't banked on a tree down right across the towpath! Ian secured FS just beyond the obstruction, grabbed the loppers and was walking back to cut a path when I managed to get by, just, before he turned up. It meant a low stoop and a walk right on the water's edge so not really a safe way of getting past. Leaving Ian cutting enough branches for Margaret to squeeze by, Icing appeared and it stood to reason that I may as well continue to the lock to get Dennis up.

See what I mean!

Soon there was a break in the rain and boaters were starting to put tillers on and untie. Both boats made it past them before they pulled out in front and a good job too as Grindley Brook locks were busy.

Short tunnel before the start of Grindley Brook locks.

Looks like the sky is beginning to brighten and just in time to do the flight.
 After the first lock, a noise was heard that puts the fear of God in many a boater. The dreaded sound of grass cutters and strimmers! Our hearts plummeted when we saw them and I was all ready to stand my ground and refuse to let them mow while the boats were around. I must say they were as good as gold only mowing when the boats had passed by and one even helping both Margaret and me to open the bottom gates.

Look at that...sunshine...short lived though but nice to be locking up in the dry.

By the first of the staircase locks a particularly difficult short pound with a curved edge. The lock keepers use their discretion here. If too many boats are wanting to go up the flight it could result in congestion and there is not enough space to accommodate them all. The 3 up 3 down rule wouldn't then apply. Those at the top with a longer length of mooring would be made to wait until the backlog had been cleared and could result in several hours of waiting, known to happen especially when a festival is on at Ellesmere. But, and in the lock keepers opinion, luckily for all concerned, today was one of their easier days.

The short pound before the staircase.

By wash, a right bu**er here and this boat had no way of avoiding collision with FS.

So the three up three down rule was being applied and with Icing the second and FS the third boat we ascended without the usual long wait. One volunteer and one lock keeper on duty which made for a quick and easy locking.

Glad to see the facilities were in good working order at the top so with some relief we emptied the cassettes. Water tank topped up and decided to call it quits for today. Found a mooring further along and just in the nick of time. Down came that rain again and boy did it come down. Wrong time for Ian mind as he had just set out to go to the shop by the locks for a pint of milk, and without a coat too! One very wet and bedraggled man arrived back to FS about 40 minutes later!

Made a banana cake in the new processor. Threw everything in and gave it a blast with the mixing tool. Not quite the same as one I make by hand and the proof will be in the eating tomorrow. So much easier and quicker so keeping fingers crossed it tastes okay.

Wildlife seen yesterday (too wet to take wildlife photos today)



Marilyn McDonald said...

Good to see you are ploughing on, rain or shine! Such intrepid boaters, you are!
We stopped yesterday after about 20 minutes (once we got to the outskirts of Rugeley by the aqueduct).
Is Icing a former Wyvern Shipping boat? The livery and the large lockers on the stern make me think she is. Lovely boats, they are.
Big hugs, Mxx

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

You are quite right. Icing is a Wyvern boat but has never been in the hire fleet. Dennis and Margaret had her built in the Wyvern layout and colours as they saw no reason to change a perfect layout. I must say I love the huge open well deck and seating and have affectionately renamed her the 'party boat'.
Hugs back

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