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.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Hmmm...what a pong.

We have a blockage...in the waste water hose! For several days a nasty pong had been coming from the sink drain hole. This motorhome has a waste holding tank which we can empty once we find a site with a drainage point. With the pong getting worse daily, today we did just that at a site near Ashbourne. With only a trickle of liqued appearing that was when we realised the hose was blocked. Much flushing of water through the pipe as well as giving the hose a good shaking got rid of most of the waste but we still feel there is more debris to come out. For now, the air is sweeter but emptying the holding tank more often is probably the way to go.

Having decided that we would go back to FS tomorrow (the Caravan Camping and Motorhome show is on in Birmingham on Wednesday and we bought tickets to go), we decide we may as well go see the Heights of Abraham iin Matlock Bath. I was worried about parking in this popular place but we snuck into the coach park as there was not a coach to be seen, and made our way to the cable car for the ascent up Masson Hill. Ticket price for seniors were £13 each but this included everything to see at the top.

On the way up. Bottom right and the Beast all alone in the coach park
 Trust us to pick the one day when mist shrouded the views, such a shame really because exiting from Masson Cavern which had been mined for the lead (170 steps up, 80 of which was a continues flight) the views would have been a sight to behold.

This showed how the miners worked with nothing but candlelight. The chandelier was added when tourism started in the Victorian era.

Rutland Cavern was also a lead mine and this was the second of the caves to see. Of course, this one happened to be way back down the hill and the tour was about to start. With 7 minutes to go Ian and I legged it down steep slopes and even steeper steps. We made it with a minute to spare and then found out we were the only ones on the tour!

The miners had to climb this without ropes to reach the level we were on.

Miner John narrating life underground.

Bit tight!
 Most of this tour was on the level with just 6 steps up and 6 steps down. Glad about that as the old legs were still shaking after the strenuous dash down to the cave. Having missed certain points of interest on the way, gluttons for punishment that we are, we climbed back to the top for a look. Wish we hadn't because the only thing of interest was the moss covered trees and rocks and a carving of the 2012 Olympic torch.

Tonight we are back on the same site in Ashbourne as yesterday. With 10 days worth of laundry to do (the machine on FS was already full of unwashed clothes before we left) I made the most of the washing machine and dryer on site.

 And this stunning sunset appeared at about 5.30pm.


Sunday, 18 February 2018

It's only mud!

Wow, what a spectacular sunset last night over the Goyt Valley and this morning the sunrise gave a golden glow to trees behind the reservoir.

Shame the sun didn't stay for long, the mist came down and we did wonder about going back to Lyme. But no rain was forecast for today so we decided we may as well go anyway. As we were about to leave a visitor came a calling in the form of a Pheasant which didn't seem the slightest bit worried about us being so close.

We were the first motorhome in the coned off area this time and again very surprised at how full the car park was and it had only just gone 10am.  One of the Parks features is the Red Deer. We donned walking shoes and went in search. Must have walked well over a mile before realising that the path we had taken was full of dog walkers and horse riders. With lots of dogs running loose it stood to reason that the Deer would have made for cover. So we veered off the main path and headed back toward Lyme house.

By now I was feeling quite disappointed and gave up any hope of finding them. Instead, we made for The Cage, a Gothic style hunting tower built in the 18th century.

Having climbed a steep hill to reach the building, looking over to admire the view and what should we see lying in the grass in the distance? Red Deer!!

 From the moment of spying my quarry I was on a mission...get as close to them as I could. Not an easy task as the ground was more bog than dry grass and twice I missed my footing and ended up on my knees. Ian as sure-footed as he is looked on in bemusement but I was determined to get to those Deer and I wasn't going to let a bit of muddy water stop me. So finally, very muddy and with wet socks...(you may remember my waterproof boots were not waterproof) I managed to get within 10 feet. Sorry folks but loads of piccies

I loved this.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

It sometimes pays to have a large vehicle

Ah now...about them noisy neighbours last night. Well, they were as good as gold and hardly a baaaa amongst them. But in the cattle shed, not 10 meters from us, was this cow that kept up a mooing throughout the night. Now, country sounds I love and sleep really isn't a problem because of it...usually...but this beast sounded distressed and I wondered if her calf had been taken from her. Farmers do that for our benefit, we like our milk products. The removed calves, instead of suckling on mum for 9 months, are fed on a substitute instead. This is all speculation I might add as we never got to see the farmer to ask.

Anyway, this morning was grey, cold, misty and rain was in the air. Ian emptied loo and got rid of rubbish and found the drinking water tap by the bins. A bit too far for the hose to reach so The Beast had to be turned around first. Then we discovered that this was the slowest filling tap we had encountered so far as 20 minutes went by before the tank was full. So we never left the farm until nearly 11 am. Our destination today was the NT Lyme Park and House in Lyme. This took us past a well known part of the canal..well known for us that is...and I wonder if anyone else recognised it..

 The rain and grey conditions cleared by the time we arrived but because it was gone midday, the car park was almost full. This was one time when we were glad of having the Motorhome because a coned off area had been set aside for the larger vehicle. The cones were removed by the attendants and we were waved in...how good was that! And another bonus. Instead of paying for the car park (£12) and the entry to the house and gardens (£11) as NT members it was all free. There are loads of great walks around the estate but we didn't have time to do any of them, Heres hoping the weather stays okay for tomorrow as we may well go back.

Coned area just for us

The back of the house

And the front


Crocus in flower

Tonights  wild camping spot overlooking Goyt Valley


Friday, 16 February 2018

The Damned Village

We listened to the call of Owls during the night and the wind whistling through the trees. Love this wild camping, it's almost as if you're the only ones on the planet completely free from any stress. The temperature dropped to -3 overnight and we decided to switch the gas fire off. Was that wise I hear you ask? The gas was running low and with the fridge and freezer depending on it, the last thing we wanted to do was change the cylinder at some silly hour of the morning. But with our sleeping bags designed for -10 degrees the cold was kept at bay.

Awoke to a beautiful sunrise with snow still surrounding us. After breakfast and, as we were so close to Mam Tor, decided to go climb the hill. Only 517 m (1,696 ft) to the top and looked to be relatively easy. We hadn't reckoned on the snow and ice along the first part of the route. It was lethal! Thankfully this disappeared after about 1/4 mile and then it was the wind we had to contend with. On our backs on the way up (nice 'cos it gave us a helping hand), it was purgatory the way down. Soooo cold with that wind chill and how those Olympians cope over in PyeongChang is beyond me!

Having warmed up with coffee on our return we headed for Eyam Village to see Eyam Hall and Museum. Found somewhere to park and Ian went on the web to see when the Hall opened. Well, would you believe it was closed! Not just for today but NT had handed the Hall back to the owner in December last year. We had the 2017 NT book so was completely ignorant of that fact. So the title of my post 'The Damned Village' could have meant how annoyed we were. But no.... The Damned Village is exactly what it was in 1665-6. Deciding to go and explore the place we found a row of Cottages with small boards telling how the occupants and neighbours had all perished when the plaque entered the village. To read all about how the survivors saved the neighbouring villages in Derbyshire click here It's a fascinating read. We then walked up to the museum and guess what!!!! That was also shut only reopening for the half term break next week!!! We got back to 'The Beast' a little disappointed but also felt we came away a little more knowledgeable about our British history.

Eyam Hall now closed.
The stricken cottages

The Celtic Cross
As we need to empty the loo and get water we found a small camping site on a farm.in Pilsbury. Electrics was also on site so laptops and camera batteries can now be charged. We also have some very noisy neighbours. Not that we mind as how often does one have sheep grazing around ones motorhome!

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