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.

Friday 29 September 2023

Full of sh*t and no...I am not swearing!

Sept 28th

 Back to my old self this morning, slept solidly for 8 hours although Ian wasn't quite so lucky. Blamed me for having to get up at 11 pm. Quite why is beyond me..... I still maintain I DO NOT SNORE!

Going to bed so early last night (9 pm was unheard of usually) I, of course, woke before 6 am. "Shall I make the tea" I asked as I siddled past the bed. The grunt I heard suggested a yes, after all if I'm awake so should he be! We breakfasted on bacon and eggs and by 8 15 am had left the Rugby mooring. I did wonder about those high winds of storm Agnus. They certainly didn't materialise here!

 Arriving at Hillmorton locks, this was a bitter-sweet moment for us because it was at the top lock that we said goodbye to Marilyn and David. Waka Huia looked a picture as we waved them all farewell, I do hope the new owners look after her as well as M&D did.


 The flight of three locks, all in pairs which, when all operational, does help to cut down on queues especially as these are reportedly the busiest locks on the system. Not so this morning though because our arrival at 9 am, we happened to be first to turn up. 

We were a bit disappointed that the volunteers didn't help at any of the locks especially as they had been hanging around since 8 this morning!

The view to the lock!

The journey to Braunston took an age. There are some boring bits, what I call the Barby straight goes on and on and on.....

The monotony was broken when we met this hire boat. Oh dear, somehow the boat ended up across the cut just after a bridge ole. The pole came out, they apologised, said this was not the first time it had happened. Pushing the tiller the wrong way was the culprit! They were very new to the boating malarkey.

It was a relief to see the church tower of Braunston. It was midday and a discussion was had on whether to stop and moor.



First a service stop and a quick walk to Midland Chandler. A boat was already on the service mooring but we had just enough room to get in front. It did mean the bow stuck out into the channel not a problem because this was to be a very rapid stop.

Ian came back with three litre containers of blue loo. He then went to empty our full cassette. But a problem...the Elsan basin was completely filled with poo!!! And I mean just poo. Looked as if someone had been collecting it in a bag instead of using their toilet. It was gross!!!! We should have phoned it into CRT but forgot. Will try and remember tomorrow!

We didn't stop at Braunston, well it was too early, not even lunchtime. So after stopping at another service point on the way to the lock, Ian was dropped off by the marina bridge with the windlass. Another boat was waiting, great a locking buddy but why was it across the entrance?

Turns out this was a lone boater on her first outing this year and had only had the boat since last November. What a learning curve, not just to do the broad Braunston locks but also Braunston tunnel with the S bend toward the end! Anyway she was very glad of Ian's help, I told her we could try to enter the locks together something she didn't think she was up to doing. Big thumbs up, high praise indeed from Ian and a cry of 'Girl Power' from her as we sailed in side by side! I wish her all the best, one very amazing lady.

Extremely low pound between lock 5 & 6

Top Lock


We moored at the top, gave a sigh of relief that we didn't have to do the tunnel today. That S toward the south portal is horrible, if you happen to meet another boat at that point it is really difficult not to scrape the tunnel side. So we made fast, got ourselves settled, tried the internet....nothing! Okay see if we have TV....nothing. Try the satellite...nothing. Was there a phone signal...no. We swore, not just once but several times! So that blooming tunnel had to be done after all and yes we met another boat but luckily not by that S bend!

Moorings were now becoming crucial. Very few with any piling before the start of the Buckby Flight and that in my book, was not going to happen today. And we come across a fat boat. Groan suddenly realised we were back in wide beam territory. Why have they been made so wide? The earlier boats were about 10ft 6" to 12 feet most exceptable and was no hindrance to other boats boats. Now at nearly 14 feet across it got ridiculous!With the state of the canals, no vegetation cut back and the overgrowth impeding the channel, its almost impossible to pass without scratching one's paintwork.

We never did find any piling to moor up too. Nothing for it but to get the pins out and cross pin in the hope no speeding boater would come pass and pull them out!


Adam said...

We arrived in Braunston about 2pm yesterday and stopped. Came up Braunston and down Buckby today — so I guess you are just in front of us. Aiming for the bottom on Stoke Bruerne tomorrow (Saturday).

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

We hope to find a mooring in the long pound between the second and third lock. Stop for a cuppa on your way down if you can. Xx

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Hi lovelies,

I am sure there would have been plenty of armco for you to moor against just out of the tunnel before Bridge 6 - we had good internet there. Of course, if you wanted sunshine you'd have been out of luck before Bridge 6 but plenty of the stuff after the bridge. We've moored there a few times and really like it. We moored before Bridge 6 on our last trip because we needed no sunshine so I could paint without me or the roof getting overheated!

Good thing there's two cassette emptying places in Braunston!


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