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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 15 June 2024

Let them wagons roll

 Yesterday on our way back from the Bird of Prey Experience, a sight not seen for a very long time. Cars suddenly slowed down and even came to a stop and it was all because of horse-drawn wagons in the traditional gypsy style on the road. I must say, although fascinating to see, was it an accident waiting to happen especially as impatient drivers tried to overtake on bends! How that black pony didn't get hit was more by luck than judgment and how those cars got by without meeting another vehicle was a miracle.


Anyway, eventually it was our turn to try and pass. A long straight road with no bends was too good an opportunity to miss so Ian pulled out and started the overtake. Well, two were passed with ease but the third was still to be overtaken.  Ian always slows right down when horses are present, but in the distance, I spied headlights. OMG. I'm afraid I panicked and shouted at Ian to speed up. That oncoming car jammed on his anchors and a good job too because we had to stay out until MB's back end was well clear of the horse. Phew... talk about a hairy moment! It was definitely something I would not want to repeat!



This morning we set off for Conniston. A news artical a while ago mentioned Donald Campbells Bluebird had been restored after being submerged in the depths of Conniston Water. For those that don't remember

Bluebird K7 crashed on Lake Coniston in Cumbria in 1967 killing Campbell as he attempted to break his own water speed record and reach 300mph.

The wreckage was salvaged from the bottom of the lake by Smith and his team in 2001. He subsequently undertook to restore the machine which had been donated to the Ruskin Museum by Gina Campbell, Donald’s daughter. It returned to the water in 2018. Excerpt taken from Motorsport Magazine

The journey took us back along the A65 and in the distance we spied one of those horse drawn wagons coming toward us. I was beginning to wonder if these were holiday wagons although I can't find out anything about them.

Thank you to Hard up Hester who commented and told me the wagon was called a Vardo

 We seemed to be on the road for a long time, in fact, we reached Conniston after nearly two hours of driving. Parking was a nightmare, couldn't find a space anywhere and ended up at a carpark a good walk away from the Ruskin Museum. Up a steep hill, walking down was bad and the walk up had me stopping several times to catch my breath. I am so out of condition! Anyway, we paid £10 each to go in, and to say we were disappointed was an understatement. I think we had visions of seeing a film on the speed record being broken and of the crash but really there was nothing like that at all. A picture show so high it made our neck ache and even the other artifacts in the museum weren't really to our taste. It was a long way to go for a 30-minute visit, but I must stress this was our opinion and others would most probably find it rewarding.


We had a plan for tonight's stop, had been there before at Threkald, and was looking forward to staying. Right by a stream, it was ever so peaceful. And yet another disappointment when we arrived. A No Overnight stopping sign greeted us. Blast....now what! We continued along the lane, turned off to what we thought was the way to get back onto a main road, and realised too late it was a dead end. Well, we were committed so hoped to find a turning space at the end. As it turned out we found the ideal spot to pull over and turn MB about a mile further along. So good was it we decided to pull in and stay. 

So far only a few cars have passed by, several cyclists, and plenty of walkers so we hope for a quiet night.

Tomorrow we will be visiting with our good friends Chris and Sue so probably no blog post. After that, we start to head North.


Hard up Hester said...

The gypsy caravan is called a Vardo.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Thank you for the information.

Narrowboat Stanley said...

I'm guessing the wagons are on their way back from Appleby Horse Fair.

Eve Chick said...

The caravans may have been to Appleby horse fair, I think it finished at the end of last week.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Thank you nb Stanley and Eva, that would explain it.

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