Longhorns, And Whales

We were on parade pretty early this morning, ‘time and tide wait for no man’! By 9:00 am we were ready for our ascent through Salter’s Lode Lock (can you believe that), climbing up onto the Gt Ouse, which is of course at sea level.

The Lock Keeper came to speak to John, and the other boater who was moored in front of us, for a quick pep talk. Although we’d taken off the flower pots from the roof as a precaution, the Lock Keeper was a little concerned at the height of our cratch frame, and suggested the other boater went through first allowing the tide to lower the water level in the river. He invited John to observe the Lock operation and to pick up a few tips on negotiating the river.

Waiting for a boat to come down the lock. Surprisingly we’d previously met the boaters as we shared a couple of locks together on the Nene. It appeared they had a great time visiting Ely and Huntington.

By the time our turn came to go through the lock, already the water was about a foot down, therefore we didn’t have a ‘height’ problem anymore.

Lock Keeper suggested Cyan pushes against the front gate to steady her. Opening the paddle, it really let the water in with a whoosh!

Soon the gate was opened for us to leave. You can just about see the ‘tide mark’ where the water was higher for the first boat.

So this is the Great Ouse. Cyan being put into a hard right turn, and we were out onto the tidal flow.


Lock Keeper watched us turn into the flow of the Ouse from his garden. A big thumbs up as we passed him. He (joked) awards ‘marks’ for helmsman ship to those entering, and leaving Salter’s Lode Lock.

The Lock Keeper was also on the lookout for a whale! The whale was spotted entering the Ouse at Kings Lynn at 8:00 yesterday morning, and is believed to be a pilot or minke whale.

Must remember the Lock Keeper’s advice when we return. He told us to turn into the lock as soon as we reach the ‘X on the pole’. Otherwise the current will make us ‘over shoot’ the lock entrance.

As soon as we hit the deep water, Cyan ‘picked up her skirt’ to ‘battle’ the current that was against her.

It’s a short distance to travel on the tidal stretch before we go through Denver Lock. The boat in the distance coming towards us had just left Denver Lock, and was making for Salter’s Lode.

Approaching Denver Lock, the Lock Keeper waiting for us with the gate up.

In Denver lock we dropped down to join the non-tidal Great Ouse.

Looking back to where we left Denver Lock. There’s another boat preparing to go in.

Jenyns Arms at the bottom of Denver Lock.

We didn’t travel far from Denver Lock, a mooring space was vacant at the furthest end of the first mooring we came across. A perfect place for us!

It’s been a hot day, and we’re looking forward to a BBQ when the weather turns cooler this evening.

As soon as we moored we were met by a Swan family. Already Mum and Dad are teaching their young to scrounge food. If swans can’t find enough food from this huge, and clean river then something is wrong.

No sign of the whale, but we watched this English Longhorn swim towards us, before settling for a rest on a bank of river mud. The water on this hot day must have been tempting.

Just as I started to worry that ‘someone’ should be alerted, thinking the  cow/bull couldn’t get out of the river, the beast climbed nonchalantly up the steep bank.

Baby Grebe having a ride on mum’s back.

The bank where we’re moored is rather low, making the under gunnel area of Cyan quite exposed. It’s a perfect opportunity to paint the starboard side of the hull with blacking paint down to the waterline. On Sunday if there’s space for us to go to the mooring on the opposite side of the river, we’ll do the same on Cyan’s port-side. We’d rather not be moving much over the weekend, leaving the river free for weekend boaters. But then again, plans may change.

Today we’ve only travelled half a mile, and through 2 tidal locks.

Mooring, Playing Safe

Yesterday was another day we didn’t cruise, instead we stayed on our mooring by Upwell Church. We left our mooring about 9:30 this morning.

Today we hoped to get near to Salter’s Lode/Lock for our venture onto the Gt Ouse planned for around 9:30/9;45 tomorrow morning.  Being a huge football addict fan, John’s desperate to get a good WiFi, or digital TV signal where we moor today.

England expects….

It was a super day for boating, the weather was glorious with just a hint of a cheeky breeze

We had two moorings to choose from, one was relatively nearby, and was on a 40 deg bend. This mooring was really too soon for us to stop, we’d like to get nearer to the lock.

Well Creek or Mullicourt Aqueduct between the bridges

Looking to the right while on the Aqueduct, we could see the Main Drain (this is the end of the Drain’s navigation).

A beautiful English Garden, delphiniums, roses, lupins growing with a background of different trees and bushes.

At the 2nd of our choice of moorings, we decided we’d give the mooring a miss. We weren’t sure if the wooden planks would take our weight, and the last thing we needed being miles from anywhere, was an accident. We decided to take our chance at Salter’s Lode.

The pic below is of Newton’s Bridge (no 29), we believe this to be the lowest bridge on the Creek. The picture was taken seconds before the pot of flowers near the bow was (sadly) knocked off! Luckily the other plant pots just skimmed under. On our way back, we think we’ll remove the tubs to the cratch for safe keeping, if only for the sake of our nerves. In the ‘Middle Level Navigation Notes 2018’ given to us by the Lock Keeper at Stanground Lock, there’s a list of low bridges; this bridge isn’t on the list.

It wasn’t long before we were at Salter’s Lode. We just managed to squeeze, with the help of the boat in front, onto the mooring.

There’s no Digital TV signal here, but WiFi is relatively good, though it did hiccup a few times during the football match. John remains pretty up beat about England’s World Cup chances despite losing by one goal to Belgium. He says Southgate played his 2nd best players for the game as England had already passed to the next stage, saving his best players for the next round. Some battles/games you lose, so long as the ‘war’ / ‘World Cup’ is won!

We travelled just under 6 miles today.

Through Marmont Priory Lock

As we’d booked to go up Marmont Priory Lock at 1:00 pm, we weren’t too sure how long it would take us. Plus there were sanny duties to attend, and a quick trip to the shops for fruit and salad before we left March.

The plan was to start as soon as we could, with perhaps stopping along the way for breakfast. At 8:00 am we pushed off from our mooring after Rusty had been walked, and we’d showered. The sanny station was around the corner, probably a couple hundred yards away. Elsan chores, rubbish dumped, and the water tank topped up – we were very glad of the full water tank…. more later.

From the sanny station, Cyan ‘hopped’ sideways to a mooring on the other side of the river by the library. I dried my hair, and tidied up for a visit to the shops. While passing a postbox I posted Direct Debit authorisation to the ‘Great Ouse Boating Association’ [GOBA]. We’ve been advised to join (£23 per annum, plus £2 registration fee) GOBA to access their moorings along the Ouse.

Shopping was soon done, and by 10:30 am, as planned, we pushed off from our mooring; leaving March behind.

There’s not much to see on the Fens, although we marvel at the engineering

We even got ‘excited’ by the wind turbines. John had a good question, why are there no maker’s signage on the turbines?

It was 12 noon when we arrived at Marmont Lock, the lock was empty, and we could see an elderly man on the lock beckoning us to enter the lock. I thought he must be a boater that is waiting to come down. After disembarking at the lock landing to help, and climbing up the bank to the lock, I was a bit confused. Surely our slot was 1 pm, were we allowed to jump a queue? Stupidly, (thinking the man didn’t know the ‘rules’) I asked if he’d come this way before. The man laughed…. and said “I’ve been living here for 60 years, and I’m the lock keeper’s husband!” Thank goodness he saw the funny side; he’s a sweetheart with a great sense of humour. I was so scared of doing something wrong! 🙂 Got a feeling John wont let me hear the last of this.

Leaving Marmont Priory Lock

Something we didn’t realise; the Fens are lower than sea level. Though we’re on our way to join a tidal part of the River Ouse, we had to climb up Marmont Priory Lock; it appears weird!

The area from the lock, to our now mooring was very pretty, the villages appeared unspoilt and timeless.

“Wine Down”

We were told last evening by a member of a boating association in March that the bridge by the Five Bells Pub, and the Church is low, and as we sail through the bridge, it gets lower towards the other side. After a ‘comment’ exchange with Mike on NB Alchemy who passed this way a day or so before us, he reassured us that if we passed under “White Fen Bridge”, we’d get under this bridge. Cyan cautiously sailed under the bridge, and she just about managed to limbo under, though the flowers on top of Cyan brushed along the roof of the bridge, but no damage was done. At the time of writing this, I’ve just realised; I don’t think we passed under “White Fen Bridge”! 🙁

We were pleased we’d topped up Cyan’s water tank before we started our journey today, resulting in her sitting lower in the water. Otherwise we might have had to remove the plant pots from Cyan’s roof so we could get under.

The low bridge.

Our mooring’s are lovely!

We’ll be phoning Salter’s Lode Lock tomorrow for our transit onto the Ouse. Think they will want 24 hours notice, therefore we’ll be staying here tomorrow. A good look-around the village is planned.

Travelled 8 miles, and through 1 lock today.

Through The Deep, and Straight Dykes

Once again we had a day off yesterday as we’re not really in a rush.

We’ve now changed our destination, and will be turning around at Isleham Lock on the River Lark. We’ve managed to book into a marina at Isleham Lock for £20 a night, electricity included! Marinas appear to be expensive in this area, we even met a boater the other day who paid £35 a night at one marina. We have also arranged to go by train from Ely to Cambridge to avoid the £75.00 return taxi fair. Being a tourist is an expensive business!

After a bit of a shuffle around because a boat had breasted against us, we headed towards Ashline Lock. As I worked the lock I found it rather awkward, the windlass is worked using the same motion as ‘stirring a cake’. If the windlass was dropped it would be lost, and so would we!

Some of the bridges are quite low. The one in the pic below was quite deceiving; I saw the bridge approach, yet because the sun was in my eyes, I didn’t realise there was a metal girder beneath. It was John that suddenly realised I hadn’t seen the girder at the last minute, and yelled for me to duck. Seriously think this girder should have red and white stripes on it.

Whittlesley Dyke was quite boring, couldn’t see many landscape features being down below the dyke.

Leaving Whittlesey Dyke, and onto ‘Old Nene’

Twenty Foot River Junction. Not many turn in that direction with a 1.6m headroom!

“Fer lob a dob”

We had thought we’d find a ‘wild mooring spot’, but that proved impossible. Nothing for it but to continue to March.

John was getting a bit agitated as 1.00 pm was approaching fast – the England vs Panama game. He did manage to hear the first two goals on the radio, before we eventually found a 48 hour mooring on the edge of March. We frantically moored. The air turned a deep shade of blue for a while as the digital TV reception, and the wifi connection wasn’t too stable. Still, all was well in the end, thanks to the endless replays!

Edited to add today’s diary (25/06/2018)

Once again we’re having a ‘day off’ from travelling. The sun is glorious, and John’s busy polishing Cyan. At least one side of her is looking pretty smart.

Tomorrow we’ll be moving through March, and through Marmont Priory Lock, we’ve booked a 1:00 pm passage with the lock keeper.

Yesterday we travelled 10.5 miles, and through 1 lock. We’ve 34 miles, and 3 locks until our present journey’s end.

Hello Middle Levels

We left our mooring on the Embankment at Peterborough, moving a short way to use the sanny service, top up the water tank, and to dump our rubbish. We’d planned our journey to leave for Stanground Lock at 9:30 am, to arrive at our 10:30 am slot. We shouldn’t have rushed as we arrived at the lock half an hour early.

We shared a mooring in Peterborough with a boat that was moored next to us at Overton Lake. After a chat with the boater he shared a website link he’d been given (by the owner of the website) which is brilliant. The website shows where mooring, and potential moorings are, services, locks, and lots of other information. The web address is boatsatnav.co.uk/. Access to the guides/maps can be via an app on mobiles phone (sorry not a windows phone), and tablets. On a laptop or desktop you don’t need anything other than a web browser.

What does it show?
  • Lock positions
  • Junctions
  • Services – fuel, water, pump out…
  • Moorings
  • Winding holes
  • Winter & emergency stoppages
  • Shops, post offices, cash points
  • Pubs, restaurants, take aways
  • Bus and rail connections
  • Surgeries, chemists, pharmacies

And we’re adding new information all the time. Eateries for instance will soon have food hygiene ratings shown, and, because all of the data is online, it’s quick and easy to keep it up to date

It’s free, and it’s a continuous project. I understand the owner uses information given to her by other boaters. It’s a brilliant website, which is basically boaters sharing information with boaters.

When we return back this way, we’ve a plan to continue on the Nene (instead of turning right for Stanground Lock) to visit Wisbech.

UK’s own Little Venice

At Stanground Lock we had to tread water as there was a boat on the landing waiting to go through before us, which meant there was no room for us to temporary moor. We didn’t have to wait long, before Cyan was tied to the lock landing. John went to meet ‘Tina’, the very pleasant and helpful Lock Keeper, and to purchase the services key, and windlass we’ll be needing. Tina also gave John two free pamphlets (one for him and one for me) about the Middle Levels.

It wasn’t long before we were through the lock

We were impressed on our first view of the Middle Levels

The water is ever so clean

At the end of King’s Dike, we cruised through quite a narrow channel

With the sun in our eyes, Cyan turned right at a very sharp 45 deg turn, and onto Briggate River (Drain)

That was close, we just managed to squeeze round

It wasn’t long before we moored for the day at the mooring just before Ashline Lock.

Today we’ve travelled 5 miles, and through one lock.

All Set For The Middle Levels

We left the beautiful Overton Lake mooring at about 11 am.

These moorings are brilliant, but not all that great for big dogs due to the ‘Cheese Grater’ surface of the pontoons. A lady from a neighbouring boat asked us “How long has your dog been suffering from hip dysplasia?” Rusty doesn’t suffer from hip dysplasia; such was the way he was walking on the pontoon’s grating. Poor lad! If we return, we’ll reverse Cyan onto the pontoon, he’ll then have less of the grating to walk on.

Leaving Overton Lake

Sometimes modern art passes me by!

It was a lovely journey getting to Peterborough.

We moored far enough away from the town, but within an easy walk with ‘granny’s trolley’ to Asda. We’re also near to a sanny station and waterpoint.

We’ll be going through Stanground Lock tomorrow, fully provisioned, and organised. Even the weather is going to be on our side as we cruise through the ‘Middle Levels’.

Today we’ve just under 4 miles, and one lock.

Historical Water Newton

We had another day without travelling yesterday. We did try and moor by the Nene Valley Railway Station (museum) moorings, but unfortunately there was no room for us on the pontoon. As there was a strong breeze once again, and we are in no hurry, we had the idea of staying put for the day. We’re hoping that on our way back this way, there maybe a chance for us to moor at the railway station for a good look around.

Within a short distance from the station mooring, we saw what looks like a new marina in the making. ‘Sibson Marina’ is expected to be open Autum 2018 – see their website for details.

Talking of marinas, in a couple of weeks around Ely, we hope to moor in a marina for 3 nights. Looking for suitable marinas we’re struck how expensive they are in these parts; one marina we’ve found charges £20 per night.

Though the wind was still strong, the weather was glorious, and we had a lovely cruise to our first lock of the day, Water Newton Lock.

Water Newton Mill – now lovely homes

Could these gentlemen be the ‘last millers’?

At the top of the lock there’s the beautiful ‘St. Remigius Church’ which is within yards of the river bank. There’s also a notice saying ‘Moorings’ – not sure if it’s a ‘free’ mooring, or if there’s a small charge to the church. Looking at ‘The ‘Friends of the Church’ website Water Newton is crammed full of history.

In 1975 a Roman Hoard of 27 Roman silver items was discovered while a farmer ploughed a field, the hoard is now in the British Museum, with replicas of the hoard in Peterborough Museum see wiki link

Water Newton’s used to be called ‘Durobrivae’, and was a Roman fortified garrison town located where Ermine Street crossed the River Nene. More generally, it was in the territory of the Corieltauvi in a region of villas and commercial potteries. The name is a Latinisation of Celtic (or more accurately Brythonic) *Durobrīwās, meaning essentially “fort (by the) bridges” see wiki link

Water Newton Lock on the right of pic

Old photo of Water Newton Lock

Thoughts are going through my mind on what the journey will be like when we return, as these locks, particularly Water Newton Lock, the water appears to be pretty violent when filling. Must make sure the lock paddles are cranked just a bit at a time when going ‘up’ until the water equalises somewhat.

The locks are very well maintained with the grass being sharply cut.

Alwalton Lock

At Alwalton Lock we noticed two things, the first was a ‘Friends of the Nene’ mooring next to the lock which looks to be a lovely place, and maybe we’ll moor there on our return.

The other ‘thing’ we noticed was several ‘discarded’ mussel shells on the grass. A Google search brought up: this article

Britain faces a massive increase in its rat population – because they’ve discovered how to eat mussels.

The rodents are diving down to a rich new food supply and coming up trumps.

The phenomena has been discovered for the first time by Cambridge University biologist David Aldridge.

Piles of discarded mussel shells can now be found on the banks of the River Nene near March in Cambridgeshire. They remove the back third of the molluscs to get at the meat inside, which can be up to 10cm long.

‘The rat population has already exploded and will continue to explode,’ said Dr Aldridge from the University’s Zoology department.

‘They’ve tapped into a new food resource and have learned how to feed on fresh water mussels. They swim into the middle of the water, dive down and pull the mussels out.

Cruising on was very pleasant, especially with birdsong that kept us company. We’ve spotted our first grebe since leaving the Thames, and we even saw a cormorant diving and fishing for his dinner.

Milton Ferry Bridge

By 10:30 am we turned into ‘Nene Park – Overton Lake’ and what a fabulous place this is.

We were soon moored, where it was time for breakfast

Rusty’s not too happy as the pontoon has one of those grated surfaces, which must feel like he’s walking on a cheese grater. Still, he’s prepared to run the gauntlet as there’s a fabulous park for him to play.

The mooring part of the lake is run by the Environment Agency. There’s a facility for rubbish, but no Elsan services. Someone did whisper that if we offered a donation to the camp site that shares the lake, they might let us use their’s but we will give that a miss.

We’ve phoned Tina who is the Lock Keeper at Stanground Lock, she’ll help us down the lock to the ‘Middle Levels’. She’s booked us in for Friday at 10:30 am.

We should have plenty of time on Friday to travel 4.5 miles, including one lock, and stop for the Elsan and waterpoint at Peterborough Embankment, and be at Stanground lock on time, providing of course we start the day early.

This is such a treat!

Today we’ve travelled just over 4 miles, and through 2 locks.

WiFi Doing The OkieKokie – In-Out-In-Out RaRaRa!

We didn’t move again yesterday owing to high cold winds, and of course John wanted to watch ‘Le Mans 24’.

Sadly the Internet and TV reception at our Fotheringhay mooring was very poor resulting in John missing most of ‘Le Mans 24’, and Sunday’s World Cup games. I am sure he will catch up at the first opportunity! But it was frustrating and disappointing when our Internet connection kept failing.  Still, I did manage to find enough bandwidth to catch up with our blog diary.

When we left our mooring this morning, at about 11:00 am., we still had strong winds, except today the wind was much warmer, and we were soon stripped to t-shirts once again.

We didn’t bother filling our water tank from the waterpoint nearby to where we were moored in Fotheringhay, as it looked like the tap hadn’t been used for a while, though it probably wouldn’t be a problem if we let the tap run for a time. I’m a martyr (or John is) to my foibles….  We did manage to fill the water tank at the EA water point at Yarwell Lock landing. The water flow from the tap was very strong, therefore we were soon topped up. The flower pots also got a good watering, something we’d not be able to do easily at the side of the river bank. Cyan also got a quick splash from the powerful jet to rinse off dust.

Within yards of where we were moored, are the ruins of Fotheringhay Castle; we snapped them as we cruised past.

The last bit of Fotheringhay Castle standing!

It’s believed the castle stood on top of the mound, with a moat surrounding it.

Posh houses with private moorings, ‘Dallas on the Nene’

Wansford Lock being prepared

Leaving Wansford Lock

‘Wansford In England’ a very pretty village!

There’s a local tale (from the time of Charles I) about a certain person called ‘Warnabee’ who arrived in the parish fleeing from the plague. He was so scared of catching the plague that he refused to sleep in local Inns, he preferred to sleep on top of a haystack in a meadow by the river. During the night while he was asleep the river rose sharply due to a storm upstream, and the haystack floated away down the Nene. However it was stopped when it became wedged in the buttresses of the old bridge. The next morning, when he woke he asked where he was. On being told he was in Wansford, and being confused on how far he’d travelled, he replied, “What Wansford in England?” Since then it appears the name has stuck.

The local people obviously have a great sense of humour as their 13th century inn, ‘The Swan’ was renamed ‘The Haycock’ to commemorate Barnabee’s voyage.

Wansford Arch Bridge and our tub in bloom.

Dated 1796

Low electric cables across the Nene

John got really excited when he spied the WiFi mast. It’s quite near to where we’re hoping to moor. If there’s no TV signal, then TV can be picked up via the Internet. Anyone would think there’s a big footie match on tonight!

John preparing for the England vs Tunisia football match. ” Cry God for Harry and St George…Come on England”

Hope the ‘locals’ are friendly. they also came to watch the game!

We made a slight mistake with our proposed mooring. Our guidebook mentioned there were moorings before the bridge. We couldn’t find the mooring, but we did manage to moor alongside the Nene Pathway before the bridge. If only we’d had faith, and gone through the bridge, we would have come to the moorings by ‘Nene Valley Railway’ station. Not to worry, we’ll stay here tonight, and move first thing in the morning to take a look around the station.

Today we’ve travelled just over 9 miles, and through 4 locks.

A Day For Moving On And On…

The River Nene is absolutely beautiful, it’s clean, and full of all forms of life. After being ‘part’ of the ‘beauty’ we were a bit disappointed when we arrived yesterday at the Marina. Our mooring was on the left side of the jetty next to the blue boat on the right. It felt like we were in a boatyard.

The jetty was damaged, and it had bits of rope attached to it where we were to tie mooring ropes. When we booked the mooring a few days ago, we were under the impression we’d be hooked up to electrics. After mentioning this, we were told the boat on the left of us would soon to be leaving, we could moor up there, and they’d supply us with an electric lead from the office. The boat didn’t move. After staying the night, we’d made up our mind to leave.

This morning, as soon as the office was open, John asked what they would be charging us. The cost for the night was £10. John paid the money, and let them know we wouldn’t be staying. He complained the £10 was very poor value as there were no lights, no safe mooring points, no water and no electric hookup.  After a little more discussion on how/why we were disappointed, John had our £10 returned. We left them in no doubt, never to return.

We’d planned to drop down 2 locks, and moor between the A427 and the A605 bridges.

Waitrose wasn’t far from where we moored, and I was soon on my way to replenish Cyan’s galley with fresh fruit, veg and salad bits. On the way to Waitrose, through the footpath, I saw a notice for boaters, saying that moorings had to be vacated by 8:00 a.m. When I got back to the boat there was a card pinned to the ground by Cyan, with a big no. 6 written on it. It looked like we were moored on a fisherman’s competition peg. We decided to move.

Just as we were getting ready to go, there was a rap on the side of Cyan. A red faced ‘official’ was standing on the bank, but before he could say anything, I said we’re just about to move. All the ‘wind was taken out of his sail’! Think he was geared up for a bit of a confrontation. apparently we had moored at the point were the Annual Local Fishing Contest was to be held in the morning!

After dropping down a further two locks, we finally moored in a lovely spot at Fotheringhay. When you consider it’s just £5 per night to moor here, as opposed to £10 a night in the Marina, there’s just no comparison.

The scaffolding is in the process of being dismantled.  Looking forward to seeing the church in all it’s glory when we return this way.

Fotheringhay Church just had over a £1 million face lift! The weather cock, or weather falcon, was bright and shiny. The local ‘old’ Inn is called ‘The Falcon’. The falcon is the badge of the House of York, which has been connected with Fotheringhay since 1377, when Edmund de Langley, the First Duke of York, and 5th son of Edward 1, built the 2nd Castle.

The first castle was built around 1100 by Simon de St Lys, who was the husband of Maud, the great niece of William the Conqueror. For a time after, the castle was under the control of Scottish Princes.

There’s only an earth mound left now where the castle used to be, and evidence of its moat.

Fotheringhay Castle is best known for the place where Mary Queen of Scots was incarcerated and later beheaded. The castle was also the birthplace of Richard III.

It’s a beautiful spot to moor. Alongside the bank there’s a deep strip of ground, after which the field is fenced off as a pen for a flock of sheep. Unfortunately to get onto the road from this strip of ground, to access the village, there’s a style to climb over. Rusty doesn’t do styles, and he’s far to heavy to lift him over, so we’ve been a bit stuck (no gate). Still he’s had several good games with his ‘ball on a rope’ which is good exercise for him.

We’re only a few yards from a waterpoint. On Monday morning we’ll be pulling Cyan towards the waterpoint, at least as far as the hosepipe will reach, topping up the water tank before we leave.

Today we’ve travelled 7 miles and through 4 locks.

After Storm Hector

We had another day off from travelling yesterday! We caught the backlash from Storm Hector, not much rain, but hours of strong winds. Anyone out on the water would be mad to travel when the wind’s as strong as it was. Though by mid afternoon the storm had blown itself out, and we were left with quite a pleasant evening.

As we wanted to get settled in at Oundle Marina for John to watch the build up to La Mans 24 hour race, and to watch all 24 hours of the race, we thought we’d rise early to make up time. I think we were on our way again at around 8:00 am., after having a cooked breakfast and walking Rusty too.

One of the arches on Thrapston’s 9 arch medieval bridge.

We passed through the beautiful village of Thrapston, and made a note as we passed the ‘Friends of the River Nene’ mooring to stop here on our way back.

Thrapston Church (St James’ Church) in the distance. Sometimes it was on our right, and then on our left, such is the winding River Nene.

On the west wall of the 13th century St James’ Church is a tablet, depicting the ‘stars and stripes’, the crest of Sir John Washington, a former lord of the manor of Thrapston. This Washington died in 1668 but was the ancestor of the more famous Washington – George. The family crest formed the basis of the flag of the United States of America, a century later. (The River Nene – Iain Smith)

Spring babies are now getting bigger!

Barnwell Manor, used as a field hospital for US Forces during WW2. Now back in private ownership and is being restored. It looks very spooky to me.



This beautiful old Barnwell Mill sits next to Upper Barnwell Lock. We were being rather nosy at this lock, there was a police minibus with ‘Tactical Support Unit’ on the side. It looked like they were investigating a water well in the garden of the mill, as some of them had their diving gear on. John thought maybe they were on a training exercise in the nearby lake.

Barnwell Mill is a building that goes back a long way. It’s believed the mill is probably the oldest on the river. Although the present building is around 300 years old, there’s been a mill on this site since at least AD875, as it was referred to in an Anglo Saxon Chronicle.

Cyan had to do a bit of limbo dancing to get under Barnwell Mill Bridge – I expect we could get stuck on either side if the river ever got in flood.

After the bridge we were at our destination, Oundle Maria.

Today we’ve travelled 12.5 miles, and through 7 locks.