Saturday, 28 July 2018

Stanwick Lakes Mooring

Today's Navigation - River Nene

We were promised by the forecasters that the weather today would be different - it was! It was much less hot but that was largely down to a strong wind that made steering much more complicated for everyone. On the few occasions we were out of the wind and the sun was uninterrupted by fleeting clouds, the heat could still be felt but that was very much the exception today.

We set off early again, partly on the experience of the past couple of days avoiding the strongest hours of heat, but also because we wanted to make good progress today. The overnight mooring, all to ourselves, was a really great place to stop.

When the sky was blue it was very blue but for most of the morning, fluffy clouds passed overhead at high speed.

Water was coming from somewhere as we entered Lower Barnwell Lock, the first of today. We took care to keep well away!

We called in at Oundle Marina - we had been in two minds whether to bother with filling the fuel tank at this stage (it was just under half) or leave it until the end of this trip when we end up in a marina. However, we were very pleased that we did as the service was 'five star' - very pleasant and helpful, they even suggested that will fill with water and disposed of rubbish, they also had a free elsan point as well. Their chandlery was reasonably well stocked and Christine was able to replace the windlass that we lost yesterday in one of the locks. (The lightweight ones that we prefer to use do have the disadvantage that they are not magnetic and so once in the water, that is usually the end of windlass)

Another fine mill building stands alongside Upper Barnwell Lock. We realised that we had picked up something on the pop as we came out of the marina so whilst in the lock we visited the weed hatch. Except that on this occasion it was a piece of ladies clothing which was firmly wrapped around. Eventually we managed to clear it away in several pieces.

We saw rather a lot of different river users today - at least this group of river swimmers were well marked with the proper swimming buoys.

After passing a rowing club we met this coxed eight as well as a coxless four.

Since we came down the river back in May we have heard a suggestion that this installation to generate power for the river flow has hit problems - certainly there is a substantial, now marked, sandbank below it which does not seem as if it would be there normally. In addition there is a lot of bank erosion at the lower level. It was not working today or when we passed through before.

Some of the FOTRN (Friends of the River Nene) moorings look idyllic places to stop - this one at Pear Tree Farm is on the junction where a brook enters and has a good bank and plenty of room for BBQs.

At Thrapston, we stopped very briefly at the small EA mooring tucked behind the old bridge. We might have stopped at the FOTRN mooring just below the bridge but we could see no way to walk round to the bridge and the shops in town. We only stayed here for around ten minutes whilst Mike walked to a nearby shop for today's newspaper. Most of the space was taken up by a full length narrow boat.

There are just so many churches in each of the tiny villages that are close to the river. This one is at Denford but at times half a dozen can been not far distant from each other. Not many are easily accessible by boat as there is a general lack of nearby moorings.

Just below Woodford Church we could see final preparations for an evening event - it seemed to be in the church grounds - after weeks of unremitting sunshine, the organisers will no doubt be a bit miffed that the sky by now had turned rather dark and rain was clearly threatening to arrive any moment.

We saw quite a few kites soaring around, hunting for food - or perhaps it was just the one that followed us for several hours? Not impossible as the river meanders around and quite often we found ourselves not far  from a place we were next to some time back! They are not easy to photo when steering the boat - at least this one made it into the frame.

We had picked out Little Addington for its morning service tomorrow, not too far from the river to walk and conveniently listed as 9.15. So, when we reached the Little Addington FOTRN mooring we attempted to come alongside. As the photo shows, it really is still 'work in progress' - although Christine did just manage to leap onto the bank it was impossible to get both ends near enough and still be able to use the gangplank to get to and fro. After about ten minutes we had to give up thew attempt and move on. At least there was another mooring a short distance ahead at Stanwick Lakes which might just be closer to the church.

At first it seemed as if it was little better but we quickly established that we could moor close enough for what we needed. Furthermore, the storm clouds were beginning to gather more urgently. We had just a few drops of rain earlier in the day but not long after we had moored there was a real downpour - repeated again a little later.

At this stage it was with a mixture of disappointment and frustration that we found, tucked away on an unlikely part of the parish website, a notice that there will not be a service at Little Addlington tomorrow. Why is it that so many churches think that doing something different of the nth Sunday in the Month is a good idea - no-one else even knows which Sunday it is in the month - let alone a fifth Sunday . . .  May be we will have to come with Plan B. Come back for tomorrow's blog to see if we found one.

17.3 Miles - 10 Locks

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