Monday 21 May 2018


Today's Navigation - River Nene

Another glorious and hot sunny day. Sunscreen needed for the third day now - almost a record, especially in May.

However, when we awoke there was quite a bit of mist lying above the water but it cleared well before we set off.

Irthlingborough Lock was only a few minutes away.

The moorings provided by The Friends of the River Nene are often quite remote - on other navigations one might well call some of these 'rough moorings' and some are rather shallow with indeterminate edges, but they are all very welcome along here as otherwise there are few and far between. (In case anyone is wondering, we signed up for a year's membership before we left home!)

Menage a trois? There'll be trouble ahead . . . Perhaps this is why they are behind schedule on the nest building front.

Upper Ringstead Lock brought a shock to the system. This was the first on this trip which still has the manual operation, requiring many thousands (well it felt like it) of turns of the large wheel both to lower and later raise the bottom gate.

Bridges from the former Peterborough and Northampton Railway cross the river several times today.

We spotted another kite soaring over the trees today - alas we are neither expert wildlife photographers nor do we use anything more than a point-and-shoot camera whilst on the move. But at least we did mange one shot with the bird in the frame! When were in this area eight years ago we were more than a little surprised to see a kite near Oundle Marina. They were at that time still almost wiped out in this country. A major project in the Chilterns to re-introduce them has been very successful as we saw two years ago. It seems that they are finding their place again quite well.

Woodford Church - one of many in the villages that stand just a little back from the edge of the river - has an odd combination of architectures. We presume that the chancel (the part to the right of the picture) is older than the main nave and tower. One of the 'new' style windows was also inserted into the older section. somehow it just looks uncomfortable. When we came by last time the chancel roof was undergoing extensive repair.

The river never stops twisting one way and the other - on some sharp bends large trees do their best to completely obscure the view forward and we have to navigate in the hope that nothing is coming. This time there was! Although it looks as if a collision either happened or is imminent, in fact both steerers managed to avoid contact but we both had to extract ourselves from the reeds - harder for the work boat and pusher tug. Christine established that they were one their way to the next lock for its annual safety examination.

Staff from the Environment Agency (no contractors here it seems!) were cutting the grass - shame that someone had just painted the white edges to the lock! However, they stopped whilst we passed through and one of them kindly operated the manual wheel for Christine. She tried to book him for the return trip but it seems that they may have moved on to the next lock by then - they warned us that it was a bit overgrown as they have not managed to cut that this year.

At Denford Lock we lowered the guillotine door and let go of the wheel only to find that the gate started to lift again. Fortunately we managed to stop it before we had lost too much of our effort but re-lowering it seemed even harder the second time! We then remembered that in our blog from 2010 exactly the same experience befell us but then it lifted itself even more! Sadly when it was time to open it for real it proved very unwilling to lend a hand.

The long road viaduct that carries the A14 across the river valley marked our arrival into Thrapston where we hoped to find a mooring for lunch and then a trip to the shops for a newspaper.

Although there was a short cruiser moored there, enough room remained, just, for us as well. Getting into this little backwater is rather tricky as it is a sharp turn right in front of the old Islip road bridge. During lunch we also filled up with water.

Lunch over we locked up and walked to the town centre. It seems a quite place but there is a range of small shops including two small supermarkets. We found what we needed in the Co-Op.

On our way back we called into the parish church where a toddler group was just finishing but we were invited to look around. As it happened, the Rector was also there and Christine quickly found that he was ready to chat. He had once lived on a narrowboat in Sheffield whilst a student and had fond memories. Alas, marriage put and end to that and a mortgage  replaced it! He was originally trained to be an architect before his ministerial training. He has been here for two years and seems to be enjoying the town - together with a couple of nearby villages.

According to Robin Peel's site about all the churches in Peterborough diocese, when the church was re-built in the mid 19C, north and south galleries were added to join the older west gallery. Whilst these were well used in Victorian times it seems that they were a mixed blessing.

As we walked back to the boat we saw the Plaza (a former cinema) which has now been converted to a community centre.

We have just started the season for may and damsel flies - occasionally they will sit on the roof of the boat, tempting us to takeout the camera only to fly off just as we point at them. This time we just about managed to catch one.

Our final lock of the day was at Titchmarsh, alongside a former mill and where there is a small marina.

Just as we were pulling away below the lock we realised that there was a 48 hour EA mooring just our length that looked very easy to moor to. Whilst we had planned to look at an isolated Friends mooring about half a mile further on, this was good good an opportunity to miss!

10.1 Miles - 7 Locks

No comments:

Post a Comment