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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, 1 April 2019

On a day like today

Narrowboating was a joy.  In fact, it was a real pleasure to cruise along the North Oxford canal with the sun warming our backs and the lack of that chilly wind of yesterday which was so cold as to make us don the heavy outerwear. Plenty of blossom out in All Oaks Wood and the stillness of the air made for a surreal feel. Light and airy today as we cruised under those branches with just the buds starting to show on the tips, this can be a dark place when the trees are in full leaf.

 There is a cutting after bridge 34 which, as long as I can remember in our cruising days, have always had a sign up stating that the banks were unstable.

The advice is to travel slowly along this section after all one doesn't want tons of rocks crashing down on one, do they? Halfway along, two large buoys mark where a tree had fallen yonks ago and after removal, the stumps had been left sticking out into the channel. Hmmm, do I really have to state the obvious?

At Stretton stop, a small footbridge needed to be swung out of the way before I could bring FS through. Ian got off at the road bridge, legged it to the swing bridge to get it open, I crept through and Ian got it closed again managing to jump back on board before FS was at the end of the narrows.

A two and a half mile long section was ahead of us with the railway running alongside the canal. We hardly ever see any boats moored, never a wonder really, but many years ago we did hammer pins in near the golf course and yes those trains did rumble past at a rate of knots and yes both of us agreed to never moor along this stretch again!

At Hawkesbury Junction we were surprised to see lots of empty spaces on the approach to the stop lock so we decided to pull in and have a late lunch. It became a very long lunch as both of us couldn't be bothered to get going again, this will do for today.   

Hawkesbury Junction on the right with the stop lock in the foreground.
And wildlife today,

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