Our next adventure

In 2008, we bought our first narrowboat. Lucky Duck was 48ft long, and we enjoyed four and a half years living afloat on it, learning about the world of the inland waterways, their history and the boats which were built for them. You can read the archive of our adventures here. Then, we got the historic narrow boat bug and so it was that in February 2013, we bought Willow, a 1935 ex-Severn and Canal Carrying Co. motor with a sound hull but a fit-out in need of completion. We’ve come a long way but there’s still a lot to do!

Amy & James (& ship’s cats Lyra and Thea)

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A’s First Voyage: Day 14

Rickmansworth – Iver

We shared the first few locks with Janet & Steve then said a fond farewell as they were only going to Denham.

Then it was on through Uxbridge and turn onto the Slough Arm at Cowley Peachey. Almost 2 weeks to the hour after we set off, we arrived at our new mooring (well for 6 months anyway!)

We are 6 from the far end which means a long walk to the car and the service block but easy access to Langley station for James’s commute!

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A’s First Voyage: Day 13

King’s Langley – Rickmansworth

A shorter day as we wanted to catch up with friends in Ricky.

We continued to share with our new friends Janet and Steve on Freedom No.1 through Cassiobury and into Ricky itself.

Once tied up we wandered over to the newly developed Chess Basin moorings to have a look. We have a mooring at Iver for 6 months but need to use that time to sort out where next, we don’t fancy continuously cruising!

Chess Basin is lovely but too far out of our budget unfortunately so the search continues.

We had a great evening catching up with friends who are moored in the area and ended up having a bit of a late night (11pm is late for us now!)

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A’s First Voyage: Day 12

Cowroast – Kings Langley

We shared locks all day with a lovely couple on Freedom No.1. They were heading for a prebooked mooring and were keen to get underway as soon as CRT came out and unlocked the gates.

I helped out through Berko with BoatBaby fast asleep by the time we were at Gas Two locks. Sadly the enforced early stop the previous day meant we missed out on a drink at the Rising Sun!

We had another enforced stop above Hemel with CRT finishing some works. It turns out we were some of the first boats through after an extended winter stoppage.

We took on some diesel at Winkwell and I stayed inside with A most of the afternoon as the weather was a bit grim and he was a bit grizzly. James and the guys on Freedom made great progress though.

We tied up just inside the M25. Really feels like we are in London now!

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A’s First Voyage: Day 11

Horton – Cowroast

We did the first few locks ourselves with me and BoatBaby on the bank, then at the bottom of Maffers (Marsworth) we stoppes to fill the tank and empty the bins & Elsan.

As we had hoped, while we did this another boat came by and we shared the flight with them. We made good progress and were soon on the summit pound. The flight was looking lovely as all the Spring blossom was coming out.

At Cowroast we met another boat to share with, the other having stopped, and planned to go all the way into Berko but CRT were doing an unplanned stoppage at Dudswell so we had to stop early. A good chance to catch up with some boat jobs and washing! And to have an early tea and relax.

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A’s First Voyage Day 10

Fenny Stratford – Horton

After the glorious sunshine of the last few days it was a shock to have rain and hail today.

BoatBaby and I spent most of the day snuggled up inside, helping with the locks where we could. With the rain cover on and lots of layers A was warm and dry even if we weren’t.

After the obligatory shopping stop at Leighton Buzzard, we continued south towards the summit but stopped above Horton Lock when we saw a raincloud catching up with us again!

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A’s First Voyage: Day 9

Stoke Bruerne – Fenny Stratford

We had a slow descent of the Stoke Bruerne flight behind a hire boat. Normally we would go ahead and help but BoatBaby decided he was hungry after 2 locks so I was stuck inside.

James and A at the helm

Then we chugged around Milton Keynes to Fenny Stratford where we met up with some old friends, Helen and Will, who live nearby with their little boy. We had a delicious dinner cooked by Will before retiring back to the boat well past our bedtime!

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A’s First Voyage: Day 8

Braunston – Stoke Bruerne

We were very lucky to have lots of lock helpers in the form of Maffi, Simon, Ann, and Adam from Briar Rose. Thank you everyonea

They helped us up Braunston then drove round to help with Buckby, so we were on our way again from the bottom of the Buckby flight by lunchtime.

We continued round the long pound to Stoke Bruerne and ordered takeaway from the Spice of Bruerne just before we went in the tunnel so that when we got out the other side it was ready! Very good it was too.

Forgot to take any pictures but thankfully Adam did! https://nbbriarrose.blogspot.com/2019/03/birthday-locks.html

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A’s First Voyage: Day 7

Brinklow – Braunston

Today felt like summer, it was definitely a hat and sunglasses and plenty of water sort of day to be outside.

We stopped behind a familiar boat when we tied up for provisions in Rugby, the Milly M, Maffi’s boat. He wasn’t in but we arranged to meet up later.

No queues at Hillmorton which was surprising, and then we were in Braunston, in time to pop in to the Chandlers. Our friends Mikey and Katie of Victoria and Mercury were also there by coincidence so it was nice to catch up with them.

Also in Braunston were Simon and Ann of Melaleuca, and we were pleased to catch up with them too. In the evening we went to the Admiral Nelson with them and Maffi which was very pleasant. Good food and beer. A was fast asleep when we arrived until the bar skittles woke him! But he was good as gold through dinner then fell asleep in the buggy on the way home. Getting him over the ladder bridge was interesting – James and Simon carried the buggy over between them.

The clocks go forward tonight, I wonder if A has got the message?

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A’s First Voyage: Day 6

Atherstone – Brinklow

We started the day working up the rest of the Atherstone flight in the morning sun. The daffodils are out and spring was in the air. A fell asleep in the buggy just as we reached the top lock so I carried on along the towpath with him to give him a nap.

Then on along the Coventry, past the famously eccentric Charity Dock with its gang of oddly attired mannequins, reaching Sutton Stop mid afternoon.

We tied up at Brinklow, then it was time for bath and bed for BoatBaby. We bath him in our huge Belfast sink which is like a swimming pool for him!

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A’s First Voyage: Day 5

Hopwas – Atherstone

A glorious day for boating! We had arranged to pop in to Glascote Basin, run by our friend Sarah so once up the two locks (BoatBaby in sling), we turned in there. We hadn’t visited since Sarah took over so it was fun to have a look around and a catch up while the laundry was going. James also sorted out the new bilge pump and cleaned the diesel filters while we were stopped.

Then it was off along the canal to Atherstone, where we hoped to make it to the top. On the way we passed another Sarah on nb Enceladus, crewed by Lesley. Alas I couldnt wave because I’d just got A to sleep and didn’t dare move!

Pre BoatBaby we would have definitely carried on to Atherstone top but after 6 locks there is a long pound and he started grizzling so we tied up early.

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