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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 20 September 2023

Was it snowing?

 Sept 19th

Something woke me early, it could have been the rain or the way the boat was moving in the wind, whichever, shock...horror.. I actually made the tea instead of Ian!

It was Ian again that mentioned getting up and getting FS winded. This I was not looking forward too, the way those branches were moving, I could imagine what the wind movement was at the junction! Still it had to be done and probably better earlier than later when boats would be on the move. Stepping onto the back deck... crikey...the deck, top and sides of FS were covered in tiny seeds. Even the water was covered in a carpet of them. No point in trying to get rid...more seeds were falling making it look as if it was snowing! Anyway it was almost 8 when Ian walked on to open the small pedestrian swing bridge to allow FS through.


I felt it was necessary for Ian to hop back on board after closing the bridge just in case I messed up the turn or the wind was so strong as to make it hard for the manoeuvre to take place. If he was on the bow he could help by using the pole. The wind appeared to be blowing straight down the T&M canal This could be used to my advantage, So I turned to the left, throttling hard. FS swung around beautifully. Then into reverse and with the bow continuing around, the wind did exactly what I wanted and pushed the bow back toward the swing bridge. For all you non boaters out there that is why the term 'winding' is used!

Stopping for water at the water point, 15 minutes later we moved back onto the original mooring. Time for breakfast and a full English too as a reward for getting up really, really early to wind the boat. I suppose staying where we were was an option, those gusts were an issue with me but Ian again said "Wouldn't it be better to get to Huddlesford before the rain started". Hmm...he seems to be getting his own way a lot lately. Maybe I need to be a bit more assertive and say "No" occasionally! 

Cruising through those seeds pretty patterns were seen in FS's wake. I also notice a very dodgy branch creaking and groaning just ripe for the breaking. Glad to have got past that!

Those 40mph gusts had FS crabbing along the canal. Moored boats had to be passed quicker than I wanted, the wind was blowing directly toward the towpath side, FS insisted on edging closer to those boats. I must admit, apart from when travelling through woods and watching the excessive swaying of those branches, (which did freak me out occasionally) the journey to Huddlesford was really good. We made good time, took one hour forty minutes, and as for setting off this morning...I have to admit Ian was correct, we beat the rain by 30 minutes. I hate it when he's right...darn it!

After bridge 84 and before 83 was where the private boat moorings were to be had for the Heritage Boat Gathering. Unsure of what spaces (if any) were available we stopped at the first convenient place so Ian could walk on to see. My criteria, and I was not going to be swayed by this, were under no circumstances would I be prepared to moor under a tree! When he returned with the thumbs up, I moved FS about 100 meters to moor up with a historic boat.

Off to find a mooring

Could have stayed but it would have meant quite a walk to the Litchfield and Hatherton Cruising Club where the rally was to take place.

 The start of the rally isn't until Saturday, we are unsure if there is anything going on Friday evening and we hope someone from the organising committee will walk to all the boats and let them know. In the meantime we have three days to chill out, a lot of catching up with my TV programs no doubt.

1 comment:

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Irene darling,
Ian has learned from the McDs that boating early is wonderful - peaceful, and it's the best time of the day.

Excellent piece of winding - isn't it great when it all goes to plan, even if your heart is in your mouth! And certainly those manoeuvres are best done before anyone else is awake and watching ...

Miss you both, Mxx

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