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.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Day 3 and wild cmping

Wednesday 13th

A Cockerel greeting the dawn, something to be expected in the country but after a very restless night of heavy rain, what with the melting ice slipping periodically from the roof making us jump every time it landed, we could have wished that bird further! Very bleary eyed we made ready to leave the site disconnecting the electrics and then placing waste tank hose into our container. A sudden loud expletive .. bu**er or was it 'Opps it just came away in my hand....honest Gov', and I discovered the blasted hose had split. Emptying the internal tank was going to be difficult but he managed to get what was left of the waste pipe into the container so the tank could be emptied. Finally on our way it was head off to do Jacobs ladder. But once again we were scuppered by the weather. This time fog was the problem. No chance of seeing the views from the top then! Deciding to give it a miss we headed off toward Brean and the fort instead.



Managed to pick up a new hose at a caravan and camping outlet on route toward Brean. Torrential rain nearly all the way apart from a very brief glimmer of the sun creating a vibrant rainbow. 
  


 A narrow lane took us toward Brean Down and we had a problem of a parked lorry. Enough room for cars but not for this Beast (In has named her at last) so all we could do was wait. Turns out a bungalow had part of it's roof blown away during the nights high winds and scaffolding was being installed by those in the lorry. Anyway we only had about 40 minutes to wait before they eventually moved off.
So after parking in the NT car park we climbed the steps and walked the mile to the Fort.
Brean Down's fort was built to defend the country against a possible Napoleonic invasion but the earliest signs of life on Brean Down date back to 10,000 BC. Evidence of extinct creatures such as mammoths and woolly rhinos had been uncovered here.



Lots of steps

The Beast parked by those Chalets


Not stone hugging but saving his woolly hat from being blown off.






Wild camping for the first time that night. Found a convenient layby on the coast road but because we arrived after dark, couldn't t put the van on the levelling blocks. Meant we were listing to one side, so much so that Ian spent most of the night stopping himself from falling from the bed! Another problem was no internet and no phone signal. But we did have telly so that was alright then. Pretty wild night with the wind rocking the Beast, torrential rain had water dripping from the trees. The sea was so close that we could hear a constant roar as the waves crashed onto the rocks. But would we have changed location? Not a chance  as you will see on the next post.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Note to oneself.....

....do research before venturing on a journey! So, as you may gather, things didn't quite turn out the way we wanted.  Wookey Hole was one of the main reasons for heading toward Cheddar, as was a train trip on the West Somerset Railway. Wookey Hole was closed only opening on weekends and then from the 22nd December until January!!! West Somerset railway was only open on certain dates and.....yep you've guessed it....closed until the weekend! No good for us then!!! But...not all was lost as Cheddar Gorge 'Gough's cavern' and 'Cox's cavern' were open.

So after the owner of this site scattered salt and grit on the 'Hill', and after dodging the ice falling from the branches of trees lining the route to the facilities (-6 and it was ice, not snow which was the problem here) we left site to travel the 5 miles to the gorge dodging the Soay sheep and Primitive Feral goats on route.






T'was good for us though, that more attractions were available including Jacobs ladder and the 3-mile cliff top walk. Ran out of time to do that so this is planned for tomorrow. We did see the Dream Hunters at Cox's cave (bit of a disappointment) and the Museum of Prehistory.

Coughs cavern was a balmy 11 deg with extremely high humidity. So much so that the camera all but gave up the ghost. Had to resort to tucking it under my jumper for protection. Lots of photos taken..or so I thought. Most came out as a dark blob on the screen. Thank goodness for digital! Still, I did get some, so for your delight..(or not), these were taken before all went very dark.



This is Cheddar Man  found in Gough's cave and has been dated to the Mesolithic period.

Those coins in the crack were cemented in during the Victorian period. A great way of showing if the walls move. Coins on the floor? Run like mad!!!!


Cheddar man and how he may have looked.

Cox's Cavern had this light show with a story of prehistoric man generated on the walls. All very well but the beauty of the cavern was lost in our opinion.


 Same photo, one with the lights and one taken with a flash. I know which one I prefer.


And this a close up of the back of the cavern.



And Cheddar being the home of Cheddar Cheese, the trip wouldn't be complete without seeing mature cheeses being rubbed to remove growth from the linen covers. For a whole year, they are left in the cavern before heading for the shops. Needless to say, we also headed for the shop to purchase three different flavours, Old cave aged mature, Cheddar with Port and extra, extra mature. Get the crackers Gromit!!! Yummie.


Cheddar Sword in the Millstream




Feral Goats

Monday, 11 December 2017

Day 1

Our getaway plans were very nearly scuppered and all because of the snow. 7.30pm and messages were coming via an app on Iwona's mobile phone alerting parents that some schools would be closed next morning. 30 minutes later a total of 45 schools had been closed including both of our grandsons. Colin works!!! Iwona works!!!! Who would look after the children??? Now I wonder who that delight would fall on????  We immediately offered our services and after a bit of discussion the arrangement was made for Colin to work from home so we could still go off on our travels and much appreciated it was I can tell you.

No more snow fell that night, in fact a slight thaw had started. Roads by the morning had been gritted and the snow plough cleared most of the main roads. So maybe the schools could have opened after all. Quick to dish out a fine if the kids are taken out of school without permission but who fines the teachers for failing to turn up? Food for thought me thinks!

Leaving by mid morning, it was a snowy outlook until we arrived in Somerset. The land once more turned green much to my relief. Didn't fancy getting to the campsite trying to park with ice under foot. Short lived though because nearing Wookey Hole the snow appeared once more. Getting onto the site we had a slight hill to negotiate but the site owner came out armed with sand and grit to make sure we made it without incident. Hardly anyone here and had the pick of the where we went. We choose nearest to the facilities. The views are magnificent and the sunset beautiful. The plan was to do the caves and gorge tomorrow but with temperatures set to fall to -6 I'm a bit worried that we will get out. Hey ho, the fun of winter travel. No doubt the canals will be iced over so hope you all keep warm and snug in front of the stove. Our gas/electric fire is doing a grand job and keeping it on over night is a must at present.












Sunday, 10 December 2017

White Christmas after all!

Well, it was for us, anyway, as the Family Christmas had come early this year. And to wake up to snow was so unexpected seeing as the met office reckoned the snow would fall from the Midlands northward with significant precipitations for those concerned. Here in Milton Keynes, we almost convinced ourselves we were to far South. How wrong were we!!!! Over 6" fell in a space of several hours and it's still snowing.

Not sure if we will be able to leave tomorrow for the Mendip Hills. The trouble cars are having just to get up a short hill to the main road, which I might add has NOT been gritted, is amusing, to say the least. The motorhome is untried on these sort of conditions and the question we ask ourselves is...do we want to risk leaving? All roads leading from Shenley are still covered and our plan to visit Cheddar Gorge and Caves may have to be curtailed. Shame, as campsites had been found and paid for and we were sooo looking forward to the first real outing. Oh well...it will be what it will be!




Hmmm, this is the main road

That's Kev (son in law) starting the snowman.


Well that did'nt work. Too heavy for him to lift and broke up during the fall.

Start of the new body.

All good with the help from Colin



Before the snow arrived. Xmas table









Awesome!






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