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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 11 November 2023

The perfect locking buddy

Opening the curtains and wow another fabulous day. Today we had the Buckby Flight to do and that's one flight I like to get under one's belt. As I took FS away from the mooring a chap on a hire boat came past. I could see how much trouble he had in seeing where he was going. Hand shielding the eyes, his cap was not doing a very good job in stopping the glare of the sun on the water, it's a killer at this time of year. With it so low on the horizon I'm so glad we were heading in a westerly direction and had the sun on our backs. A three mile journey lay ahead, roughly to the bottom of the flight and today we were wedged between the railway and the M1. It became quite noisy at times.  It wasn't long before another boat was seen in the distance, we made a comment how it would be just our luck for them to turn into Whilton Marina and not go up the flight. We do so like having locking buddies, not just because it makes going up the flight easier but I would have someone to talk to. After all it gets lonely being in the lock by yourself. Ian gets to chat to gongoozlers, which in the past has made him forget I'm down in the dark depths expecting to rise up at any minute. I have sounded the horn before to remind him that he is supposed to lift a paddle!

Anyway, eventually the bottom lock came into view, I deposited Ian on the bank to help set the lock, the lady having already alighted. Good news indeed for they too were heading up. Then a sight I wasn't expecting to see. Where was the person steering that boat? Gosh, I had fears that something may have happened but as I stood pondering what to do, out popped the chap. Phew, no need to raise the alarm!

So we ascended all 7 locks, chatted to each other as we stayed side by side in the lock chamber and also in the pound between locks. We only had to separate when two boats headed in our direction having just exited the next lock. But both boats came together again to enter the chamber as one, a perfect scenario as no need for any ropes to be thrown to those above. It was a joy to lock up the flight this way. 

Chatting as one does, we found out their names, Lisa and Phil and what was uncanny was how similar we all were. Both Ian and Phil were engineers, and Lisa also owned horses just like myself. And even more uncanny was Lisa used to live very near to where I had the kennels in Swannington. I may even have looked after her dog although we did work out in the end that I had already sold the business by then,

Top lock was reached in roughly 2 hours. Above the lock and on the visitor moorings was to be our stop for the night, and with a space big enough for two boats, Phil and Lisa also decided to call it quits.

It was lovely to meet them, and to have locking buddies like that was a dream, You don't always get someone who is prepared to enter a lock together, quite a few still prefer to go in one at a time but when it does happen, it's amazing and very satisfying.

Top lock
Visitor mooring

 And seen on route,

This bush looked to have been dislodged from the bank

And what was CRT thinking?? Somehow I think this sunken boat has been here for a very long time! Was that an overstay notice tied to the hull?


Adam said...

If that dislodged bush is on the moorings at the bottom of the locks, it's actually planted in a boat! It's been there a good few years, and obviously keeps growing.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Has the boat sunk then Adam because I didn't see any evidence of it being in a boat? The roots are showing and a rope was tied from one of the branches to the bank. I even zoomed in on my photo but no boat was seen. I am assuming you mean at the bottom of the Buckby flight.

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