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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, 6 November 2017

Final cruise

Today was to be our last run up the Erewash for the foreseeable future. In a little under 5 hours with the remaining 11 miles and 10 locks, the cruising season with FS would be finished for this year.

Leaving very early so as to get to Langley for a prearranged Sunday Carvery with Dave, Heather, Dennis and Margaret at the Great Northern, the skies radiated a wonderful soft red glow. Sometimes it pays to be up by 6.45 am.

Pasture, Stanton and Hallam fields locks were in our favour but our hope for a quick trip up was dashed when the next 4 locks all had to be emptied.  At Greens lock, the approach was a smokey one. In fact, Ian indicated that I should hang back as the smoke was blowing across the lock entrance and the fumes somewhat obnoxious. He was not wrong as that smoke had an acrid taste and smell to it. What was being burnt??? Ian reckons it was some sort of plastic material.

Most relieved to be out of that I can tell you, as it was not nice.

Some of those top gates also refused to stay shut when leaving the locks so I'm sorry to say we left them open. Not something either of us are comfortable with doing but after the second time of heaving on those gates only to see them swinging open again we said sod it and left them to it. And that is how we found Barkers and Stenson lock, with one of the top gates needing closing before the lock could be emptied.

One thing very noticeable on our journey was instead of lack of water we had too much. At one of the bridges at the lock approach, I had to reverse rather rapidly when I realised our chimney wouldn't fit under. Never had we to do this in the past other than at Anchor bridge, the lowest in the Erewash. Mind you having removed the weight (top boxes and wood) I supposed our draft might not be as deep as it once was.

Potters lock and where I decided not to have a crunched chimney.
Shipley lock We may have got under with the chimney but glad it was laying on the roof.
 Shipley and at last a lock with one gate open beckoning us in. As we ascended water started pouring over the top gates. Was the next lock, Eastwood, being emptied? It was and by Margaret welcoming us back to Langley. Margaret hitched a ride back to Langley lock, the very last one on the Erewash. That also was ready with the gate open, Dennis having done the deed this time.

Plenty of water at Shipley lock

Margaret and Ian
 So on exit we pulled onto the facilities, filled the water tank, emptied loo and headed over to the Great Northern for Sunday Carvery. For £5.99 we were served with two good slices of meat (turkey, pork, beef or gammon) and as much veg as you could pile onto the plate, lovely and well worth a visit. By 4pm we were finally ready to push across to the swingbridge and onto our moorings. We reversed past Nb Dormouse (yes we did see Keith and Jenny again) secured the ropes, put aerial up and settle down knowing we had a long long 7 months before getting away on our travels again. But wait.... we will be heading out for Christmas. Not on FS but on our other boat Merlin. With the Anglo Welsh hire fleet, we will be returning her to Bunbury after a repaint and engine maintenance at Great Hayward. More of that trip will be posted during that journey from the 21st December.

And finally, more wildlife from the moorings at Sandiacre,

Nuthatch and Goldfinch


And wildlife on route,


Marilyn McDonald said...

I love your bird photos, Irene, and wonder how you can take them and steer as well? Must be the female gene ... And, boy oh boy, that bridge at Potter's Lock did seem very low!

You sounded both contented and a bit sad to be finished cruising for the season. I know that feeling ...

Love and hugs, Mxx

PS Email following

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

I've got it down to a fine art Marilyn. Wedge tiller under arm and hope she steers in a straight line. Have got it wrong on occasion when the bank was seen to be approaching rather rapidly! And yes you are quite right, sad is the right word especially this year as we haven't got Australia and New Zealand to look forward to. Have seen a nice motorhome so maybe a tour around Great Britain this winter instead. Love and hugs back. Xxx

stevefree said...

Always sad to finish a trip. We are now settled in to OverWater at Audlem. With Winter maintenance starting yesterday on both sides of us, we are prisoners until December. We could do a few laps of the island at the marina and then go to the winding hole before the Audlem locks, if we got desperate.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Love the idea of a few laps around that island to ease the boredom. We may venture back down the Erewash beginning of next year, just for a change of scenery. Although if we decide on a Motorhome, new adventures await.

Jennie said...

Oh how I know that sad feeling, Irene. We spent a couple of weeks doing jobs on Tentatrice before we moved her back to Stoke works (we are having a few jobs done) last Friday in wonderful sunshine. Withdrawal symptoms R'us I am afraid. Will you blog if you get a motor home? I do hope so. Jennie

Anonymous said...

Early morning photos on your last trip are fantastically clear and atmospheric.
Thanx for providing such interesting illustrated accounts of you annual cruising for us to enjoy.
Looking forward to your motorhome travels now too.
Ann and Keith

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Thank you, Ann and Keith. Looking at a motorhome tomorrow so watch this space. Xx

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Oh yes, Jennie. Cant get rid of me that easily. Xx

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