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.

Wednesday 30 September 2020

Sawley replacement gates

 That 25 minutes wait yesterday dragged on for another 20 minutes but what a fascinating insight to the job at hand. 

A volunteer lockkeeper was on duty, unusual as these locks are manned on weekends only.But because of the stoppage and possible danger to boaters and public, all being in such close proximity to the workings, the decision was taken to keep the volunteers on throughout the week. 

A question was asked on how the crane got over to lock 2. It was done by removing bollards, laying heavy duty planking across the lock and driving it over to the other side. 


So as previously mentioned in yesterday's post, plenty of photos to show

 This was meant to go on yesterday's blog.

Rocket launched from Leicester National Space station perhaps?

And a few more photos of the Swans

It did get away so rest assured.

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Delay at Sawley Lock

Hmm, have a slight problem here at Sawley now. There has always been lights along the moorings but all have now been replaced with LED's. Fine, the power saving would be massive but those LED's give off so much light its almost like night having turned into day. Not having blackout curtains in the bedroom, it took a while to get off to sleep and sometime in the wee hours of the morning the rain woke me up. I honestly thought it was time for a cup of tea and very nearly gave Ian a nudge to ask if he would go and make me one! (I'm on the gunwale side so difficult to get out)  Only having a quick look at my watch saved me from sure abuse that would have come from a very disgruntled Ian!


Ratcliffe power station fully operational

Our progress was delayed this morning. Latish start which turned out to be a good thing because, having arrived at Sawley Lock, we were informed by C&RT that there would be a good 25-minute wait for lock 1 to become free for our use. It was all to do with new gates being fitted at lock 2. Of course, I took loads of photos plus some video, too much for now, so with us not moving from Sandiacre, I  will wait until tomorrow to put on the blog.

Jenn at lock 1 only to find the work barge had taken it over.

Three boats waiting. A forth turned up but decided not to wait and headed back.

Finally on our way.

The river was like a mill pond, hardly any flow. No point in putting any power on as we wanted to savour the moment. Could be the last cruise for 6 months.

If anyone didn't know where the entrance to the Erewash was, this could confuse them.

Low water levels, so we suspect it was this pound that had been drained a few days ago.

Dockholme Lock had one gate that refused to open fully. Turned out to be rhizome from the reeds.

Up and out of Sandiacre lock and very pleased to see the moorings free. Quite what we would have done if they hadn't as the next mooring was at Padmore in the centre of Sandiacre.  Ian would have had a long walk back to fetch the car for the MOT!

We stay now until next Monday. Jobs to be done, family to visit, got to get that in before the inevitable lockdown that's coming!

And today's wildlife,

Monday 28 September 2020

Homeward bound


On the home run now, (shame) it's still early Autumn and much too soon to return to home moorings. But it's that second wave of Covid 19 that has decided us. Best be in a place we know than out on the system somewhere. Having a conversation with Jim and Jenn, (they are of like mind) we have decided to delay our return until next Monday, staying at Sandiacre instead. Gives u's a chance to get a MOT on the car

Gosh, it was chilly first thing. Even felt cold in bed! Maybe the time has come to change the quilt for a higher tog rating.

Left for Weston lock at a more respectable hour. Jim took the lead dropping Jen off at the first bridge. Walking is her passion, puts me to shame as, apart from the Llangollen, she has walked all the canal waterways from end to end! 


Not far past bridge 12 another tree was down. One boat width to squeeze through and Ian straight on the phone to C&RT to report it.


First lock, Weston, and Jen already there raising paddles. Hardly any breeze so both Jim and me held out. A good job too because Jim left Dire Straits right in the middle to bob about and disappeared below.

Jenn still walking and this time toward Aston lock

At Shardlow lock that small dingy is a right menace. Not at all tied on properly it swings out to catch the unawares.

Finally to Derwent lock to take us back down onto the River Trent. Not a fan of this lock, well not so much the lock as the landing at the bottom. It has to have a high wall in case the river rises but makes it extremely difficult to get the crew back on board on normal to low river conditions.

Dire Straits bringing up the rear.

Sawley Flood lock

Sawley's moorings had 2 spaces left. Good-oh  as the plan was to have an end of our cruising season lunch at the Plank and Leggit. And very nice it was too. 3 courses for £6.20, absolute bargain but one had to be a senior citizen to qualify for those rates.

So tomorrow we make for Sandiacre. Back onto the Erewash and lets hope the water problems have been sorted.

And wildlife,

Two Cobs and I though sparks would fly but apart from displaying aggression, it was all a bit 'mouth and no trousers'!

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