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.

Saturday 31 August 2019

Alone again.

Took this last photo of us all together before waving goodbye to Kev and Gunda. We were now on our own and unsure as to where we should make for. In the end, after a lot of deliberation, Aviemore was decided upon.

For once the overnight rain changed to mizzle and finally stopped altogether. We were in for a dry day!!  We came across a dam, the Laggan dam. This exert taken from the web 

Laggan Dam stretches across the River Spean at the western end of Loch Moy, between Laggan and Roybridge. The striking dam was built in 1934 to harness the power of water flowing out of Loch Laggan to operate the British Aluminium Company's smelter at Inverlochy, just outside of Fort William, about 15 miles away.

The dam is 700 feet long (213m) and 130 feet high (52m) and the radius of curvature is 2000 feet (610m)

Arriving at Aviemore parking was again an issue. Had to take up two spaces in Aldi, we did shop there though so didn't feel quite as quilty. Walked to the station and found a steam train leaves three times a day for Broomhill. Called the Strathspey Railway we may well stay to ride it tomorrow. In light of that Ian headed for the Osprey Centre where a park 4 night was situated. It was much too late to go and see the Ospreys. The centre closes at 6 pm and by now it was nearly five. So another change of plan. Do the centre first thing, then the steam train. Mind you rain is once more in the forecast for this area so who knows what we will end up doing tomorrow!

Some view on route

And wildlife,

Another moth for identification. Paul?

Square-spot Rustic (thanks Paul)
And this sparrow was flying inside a gift shop. It crashed into a window and lay stunned. Managing to gently take hold of it, took it outside where after a minute or so recovered from its ordeal and flew off.

Friday 30 August 2019

Yellow warning.... oh eck

Luck was with us last night, as the skies remained cloud-free giving a lovely golden sunset. Crossing fingers also worked because by 10 pm the night sky was filled with stars. I could just about see a hazy milky way and I was hoping to take photos. Could I remember what settings to set the camera too? Nop I could not but I tell you it was good.

The break in the weather didn't last long though as later that night the wind picked up and the rain started. High winds had been forecasted and by mutual consent the next morning it was agreed to leave the Island. The Skye bridge is shut during high winds to high sided vehicles and with the winds set to increase tomorrow we thought it best not to be stuck on the wrong side.

By God did it rain during the journey. Yellow warnings had been issued which included localised flooding. Joining the A 87 it was head east to make for Fort Augustus. With all that rain came some pretty spectacular waterfalls, the only good side to the bad weather.

At Fort Augustus, The Caledonian canal joined the Loch Ness and it had been many a year since we were last there. Ian was convinced the Scottish canals were all part of C&RT, I was not and so marched over to one of the lock-keepers to ask. I was right....of course!

Bagpiper busker.
Tomorrow Kev and Gundc leave us, they to head home to Nuneaton and us to carry on in Scotland for another week. As it was our last night together we found a restaurant that would allow us to stay overnight. A Seafood posh place, small portions, large plates and very tasty it was too even though a tad pricy.

And wildlife,

Oystercatchers at sunset.

Thursday 29 August 2019

Watch that rear end Kev!

We couldn't believe it.  This morning at 8.30am Kev knocked on the Beast to say they were ready to go. Hang on!! Aren't they the ones that (a) do not get up early and (b) never wants to leave before 10 am? And the reason for such an early start? To get to Staffin car park before the masses arrive and to wait for the falling tide, which should expose two dinosaur footprints!

Pouring with rain (yet again) arrived at an empty carpark. We then had 2 hours to wait until the tide fell, enough for the footprints to be shown. But could we find them?? Not a chance. There was even a notice board showing where to look and look we did, walking all over the exposed rocks. But not finding them was put down to one of the great disappointments of life.

Singletrack to Staffin

Kev in his infinite wisdom decided that lunch might be very nice at another beachfront. "Follow me," said he. But his idea of another beachfront meant we had to negotiate an almost hairpin bend down a sidetrack. As the next photos show, no way were we going DOWN that road!

We carried on and a quick phone call to say we would see them later as they managed to get around and head off down the road. But then suddenly an opportunity for us to turn around. Back we went this time without that nasty turn and found them already parked on the beachfront.

We very nearly missed the Skye Museum of Island Life. Thatched Huts came into view and an almost handbrake stop saw us pulling into the car park. Fascinating place stepping back in time to the old highland ways.

By 4 pm another park for the night app on Ian's phone showed another lovely setting. We made it down a lane, got parked up and was almost immediately accosted by two ladies walking their dog. First, as we had parked by two benches, they said hope you're not going to use them because thet wanted to sit on them. I was shocked and told them the thought hadn't crossed my mind. "I hope you're going to turn off your engines," she said haughtily. Well, how rude can one get! So I told her that we were just getting parked up. She went away muttering about motorhomes doing as they please and staying where they wanted. Okay... I know that they must be locals and maybe they get fed up of people parking overnight but it wouldn't have hurt her to be polite and explain why she didn't want us parking there. It wasn't even if it was near to her house, quite a way away in fact and it was a public road after all and used by many!

 There is a clear sky tonight and we are hoping for dark skies to see the stars. Hoping with fingers crossed that the clouds keep away.

And seen on route

 And more birds need identifying, please

Northern Wheatear (Thanks goes to Paul)

Meadow Pippit (again from Paul)

This is the same as the first two photos (I think)

Stonechat. Thanks again Paul

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