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.

Monday 27 September 2021

More domestic appliance problems

 Sunday morning was wet, probably a good day then, to head home. I took the last couple of photos of the dank and dismal start to the day.

T'was not long after 9 am when we got underway, 3 hours later and we were home. Before we unloaded MB of food, clothing, laptops etc, the electric lead on FS was plugged into shore power, a cup of tea was badly needed, and this was when we realised another problem had materialised. The Victron 24v alternator started pulsating, a continues sound that went on and on. Only by switching the invertor off did it stop.  And not only that but the water pump didn't sound right either. Made some horrible whirling sounds, oh, and...and...this morning (Monday) with FS's fridge being on all night one would expect the freezer compartment to have frozen, but not so! Groan our we destined for all our appliances to go wrong at once!

So MB will be put to bed as soon as the fridge is sorted. Ian thinks it is a gas problem maybe caused by our jaunty angle when down that ditch. Oh, and that could also be the reason the carpet by the fridge gave off a noticeable obnoxious pong when we arrived back at t'mill. The milk must have tipped and soaked the carpet, which was unbeknown to us...until now that is.  Then hopefully if the other concerns on FS is sorted, it will be time to gave FS a good run,  Our plan is to leave in the second week of October and maybe stay out until the New Year. Just have to check on stoppages to see where we can go.

And on the concrete right by FS's back step, a pair of mating Red Veined Darters. Thanks to Paul once again I got it wrong. These are in fact Common Darters.

Sunday 26 September 2021

The high and the low

 Sadly we have decided to go home, it's a couple of days earlier than planned but we seem to have a problem with the fridge. This morning I went to defrost the mince for tonight's chilli and horror of horrors, everything in the freezer was soft. So I decided on a cooked breakfast to use up the bacon and sausages. But those so-called sausages turned out to be lamb kofta sausage and not really that pleasant with bacon and eggs! Anyway they had to be eaten, I couldn't refreeze even if the fridge started working again and with 4 chicken breasts also defrosted, it was either cook them for eating tomorrow (big dinner) or throw them away. It wasn't just the freezer that was a problem, but everything in the fridge was now in danger of going off, so the only other alternative was to go home and get the fridge sorted!

We gave ourselves one more day to go see High Force falls near Forest in Teesdale.  It been on our to-do list and we had planned this for an excursion on the way home anyway. I also fancied one more night wild camping on the Dales at Fore Gill Ford on the  Low Row road (The ford in All Creatures Great and Small) It was unanimous then, that Sunday would be the day of our return to FS.

 The falls were spectacular. One of the most impressive in the county. What we weren't impressed with was having to pay £2 each for the pleasure of seeing them and then with the car park fee of £3, made today's walk very expensive.
It took us about 15 minutes along a very gentle incline to reach the falls. Wow, they were certainly as good as folk had talked about.

These weren't the only falls as roughly 1.5 miles further downstream and Low falls could be seen. So because we had to pay the £3 for three hours (there was nothing cheaper) we headed off downstream. And I'm so glad we did because not only was the falls a sight to see but I finally spied a Dipper, a bird I had been hoping to see back in June.


Back to MB and we made for Fore Gill Ford. I had hoped to have the place to ourselves but it seems others had the same idea as us. We were joined by two smaller camper vans with the occupants sitting outside chatting well into the night and one car who we believe were there for just one thing! Anyway as this was the first night of the live Strictly shows, this was all that mattered.


Off back to FS tomorrow. Quite excited about finally going boating again although we do have to sort the fridge out first.

And a few more images of the Dales,

This sheep did not want to move!

 And fauna and flora,

Saturday 25 September 2021

Most photographed tree in the country

 Another very windy night and another night of broken sleep. What was that clattering from outside? Still not a 100% sure so this morning Ian taped up all the grills 'just in case'.

Dull, dismal start to the day. The reservoir had white horses whipping across the water and looked very uninviting. We had planned a bike ride but with that wind and drizzle the idea was abandoned. Instead, we decided to walk to Sycamore Gap.

 We drove through Bellingham again. Just a bit of shopping needed and on the walk to the Co op we spied Bellingham Station. Carriages were at the station and the thought of a train ride appealed. But these carriages had been changed to a café and the smell of bacon butties irresistible. 

Sycamore Gap was where part of Robin Hood Prince of Thieves was filmed, made famous by the clip of a boy up a tree having to be rescued by Kevin Costner. Apparently it's the most photographed tree in the UK. It stands in a dramatic dip in Hadrian's Wall in the Northumberland National Park. We had no idea where to park although Housesteads looked like a good a place as any. But then looking at the map I found a car park at a place called Steel Rigg, right by part of the wall. Probably because of the bad weather we had no trouble in parking even though the car park was small. Price for 3 hours was £3, not bad we thought. Wet weather gear and stout shoes put on and we set off along what I thought was quite a difficult route. At first just gentle terrain, slightly slopping downhill but then we hit the stone steps!  OMG how difficult were they! For me who falls over a blade of grass this was a nightmare. Being wet  slippy and very steep didn't help and I'm sure it took us twice as long to reach the tree. These photos show the route.

Crikey I'm never going to get my bulk through that!

Very tight squeeze but managed...just.

Yes there were steps going down from this point. Uneven and steep!

The tree at last.

  By the time the tree came into view I was all but done in! The drizzle had started and I'm sure the wind was getting stronger by the minute. After the compulsory photo shoot, a sit on a very wet rock for a drink and biscuit, we found a much easier route for the way back. 


That's Ian sitting on a boulder to the left of the photo.

Taken on Ian's phone and yes that's me by the tree.

The only downside to this easier walk was how very exposed to that wind we were. Ian demonstrated for me.

A late lunch was had on our return. Nearly every part of Hadrian's wall has been explored back in June so we were at a loss as to what to do next. In the end we made for the campsite tonight. One that has all facilities including a washing machine. We had booked it yesterday and the owner said it was easy to find down a lane off the B6318. Well this lane was not what we expected. Turns out we turned up the farm track instead. Anyway not many caravans and motorhomes on site and we had a choice of where to go. The electric hook up was on a slope, not the best place for a motorhome. Even with the levelling blocks we are arse up and listing slightly. Cooking the meal tonight may be interesting.

 Someone has a great sense of humour

And wildlife

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