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 30 January 2021

Up date and a tad too much water.

 Drastic action had to be taken yesterday. Suddenly the water levels in the basin started rising and rather to quickly for our liking. Vikki from the boatyard was seen rushing to the lock and whipping up the bottom paddles as well as cracking open a paddle at the top. Normally the feeder paddle is dropped in this situation but so much water was flowing from the brook that in this instance doing that may well have flooded the field and dockyard area. Raising it at least a quarter turn was necessary to stop that from happening by diverting some of the flow to the basin. Levels evened out and finally the bottom gate paddle was dropped, bottom gates left open and top paddle closed. It worked, but a close eye was kept in case the levels rose again

Moorgreen reservoir built in 1794 to supply water for the Nottingham Canal, feeds the Erewash Canal from this feeder..

Feeder. No arch visible

Coping stones underwater, as was our step.


As for me...well, throat is still sore but swallowing is okay, voice is going (much to Ian's delight) and still no other symptoms, so I'm not worrying too much at the moment. And then Ian informs me he had a sore throat for two days last week. Why didn't he mention it? He said he never gave it a thought. I'm  convinced he did it out of concern. Anyway I think I may leave the Covid test for the time being. Self-isolating until the throat is 100% better is the way to go.

I did the Big Garden Bird count today so today's wildlife is on the feeder.

Friday 29 January 2021

Gate replacement and a health worry.

 Oh dear, today I woke with a sore throat. How worried should I be? Temperature okay. no cough, no loss of taste or smell, no aching limbs in fact apart from the throat I feel fine. I'm not going to rush of and have a Covid test, well not today anyway. Maybe tomorrow if the throat is no better. What I can't understand is that we hardly go out. Apart from shopping where masks are worn and hand sanitisers are used almost by the minute, I don't understand where I have picked up this bug. Anyway, best not to dwell on it for now.

It was Ian then that headed back to Stanton by himself and what a result. He wouldn't take my camera wanting to use his phone instead, but the long awaited photos were finally had. Bottom gate was being lifted off as he arrived, and he stayed to see one of the new gates being manoeuvred into place. So quite a few photos to show.

Old bottom Gate removal (thank you, Ian)

New Gate lifted and placed

And a female Goosander with the male


Thursday 28 January 2021

Best laid plans and all that

 Much better day for  the walk back to Stanton. Almost all the snow and ice had disappeared, although Ian did his best to stay upright as he stepped on the only bit of remaining ice as he made his way over the bridge. Gave him 8 out of 10 for style as he slid gracefully to the bottom! Me? Well I managed to find the safe way down.

Our arrival at the works were almost spot on timing wise, as the lorry had turned up and the new gates in the process of being craned off.


Then we waited for the main event of the lifting out of the bottom gates. After 15 minutes of watching those guys in discussion and with not much activity from any of them, Ian goes off to have a chat with Rob the boss man. He came back with the news that all was not well. The generator had packed up and the lock having partially filled water could not be pumped out. Blast, a wasted journey. So with nothing more to see and photograph we headed home. Rob did mention that if the generator was repaired by tomorrow work would start again. Another trip back then?

Oh, and only a few of those uppermost branches were snapped off when the boom was put into place to lift the second balance beam. The crane driver managed to drop the boom below most of them before the lift.


And posing for us on a post by the lock,



Wednesday 27 January 2021

Stanton Lock part 2

 I think we chose the wrong day to walk to Stanton for the next part of the lock repairs. Although the thaw had set in my goodness that towpath was slippy! Pockets of compacted snow on top of ice had me grabbing for Ian many a time as feet went in all directions. I made sure Ian was the one to walk next to the canal and not me! Oh, hang on...maybe that wasn't the best idea I had 'cos if he had fallen in, no way would I have been able to pull him out! Anyway we arrived just in time for the crane boat to be lifting the balance beam from the lock gate. Rob, C&RT guy in charge, told us that the crane boat was not man enough for the job of lifting the gates even though the gates were estimated at being nearly 3 ton each and the crane could lift 3.5 tons. It was all to do with the angle of the boom. A straight lift would probably be okay, but extend the arm and this would make the boat very unstable. Instead, a crane lorry, bringing the new gates from Stanley Ferry, was to arrive but unfortunately not until tomorrow. Looks like yet another trip to the site with the hope of timing our arrival for when the lorry arrives.


We only stayed for the first of the beams to be removed. Maybe we should have stayed for the second one. A blooming great tree was in the way and the lifting of the balance beam would have been quite a sight to see. For the boom to move in position another 2 feet to the right would be needed. Hmm, wish now we had stayed!

And the same swans as in yesterday's post but this time fighting with the ice.


Tuesday 26 January 2021

Stanton Lock stoppage

Going stir crazy as one does when confined to a narrowboat without any chance of heading of for pastures new (static for 4 months with nothing to do except watch Netflix and do a cross stitch I was beginning to worry about my state of mind) and knowing that Stanton Gate Lock on the Erewash Canal was due for new top and bottom gates, last week we took ourselves off to see how the work was progressing. It had been mentioned in passing by our Chairman Norman that maybe a few photos for the Outlook Magazine would be a good idea so this gave us a good chance to get out into the fresh air and go see for ourselves.  

C&RT started the work on the 11th and by the 19th already the new top gates were in place. When we arrived the only work being done was with a blooming great two man crosscut saw. With new gates the mitre has to be trimmed so the gates seal properly and this was being achieved by two strapping lads starting from the top and working down to the bottom. 

Trimming the mitre between the gates.

 Having taken all the photos needed for the ECP&DA Outlook Magazine for the time being we decided that another visit was necessary in a weeks time to see if the bottom gates had been installed, so today we did just that. Having taken another multitude of photos I decided not to make this a War and Peace addition and wait to show them in tomorrow's blog instead. Something for me to do instead of watching TV! 

Whilst at the lock a hell of a to-do was going on in the top pound. Swans are so territorial and two interlopers flew in and landed right by them. I'm pretty convinced they were last year's adolescence cygnets, but the Cob was having none of it and soon chased them off.

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