Early Boaters get the Moorings

We left our mooring at the very early time of 8:00 am. The weather forecast predicted it was going to get windy in the afternoon, so we thought we’d beat the weather.

Friends of the River Nene – Ditchford Moorings

There’s been a bridge at Ditchford since 1292. Ditchford was once popular with local people who used to come here to swim and fish. The area was known as ‘Ditchford on Sea”.

We took advantage of the 48 hour mooring, and didn’t move yesterday. While we were travelling on Monday; a horse-fly (or something similar) took a bite out of my elbow. Its venom made my arm painfully swell up, and the Piriton taken for relief made my head more woozy than normal! I just didn’t feel like moving, let alone go through any locks. Today, another one bit my other arm, but I was ready this time with sting relief, which appears to have worked without having to take a Piriton tablet.

John did the first lock, Ditchford Lock, while I took Cyan in. It was a little difficult as the boards along the lock landing was just the right height to catch Cyan’s gunnel, causing a bit of a predicament. A few quick kicks to push Cyan off the boards did the trick.

It was a pleasant cruise to the next lock, and it was noticeable the water wasn’t nearly as clear. Along this stretch of water is a sewage works which was discharging water into the river. I’m sure the water going into the river from the sewage works was up to standard. Though I suspect the cloudy water, and the sewage works had more than a coincidence connecting them.

At the next lock, Higham Lock, it was my turn to do the lock. Higham Lock has gates both ends.

I also worked Irthlingborough Lock which was electronic.

Irthlingborough is said to be derived from ‘Yirtlingaburg’ (the fortified place of a ploughman). The town dates from AD780. Below is one of the town’s bridges, it’s a 14th century stone bridge, and carved into its stonework are the ‘crossed keys’ of Peterborough Abbey. Perhaps the monks from that abbey arranged for its building?

The centre arch of this old bridge has been widened, obviously to let boats through. On the sides of 10 arches are grooves made by rope marks, over centuries, by old bargemen.

The 2nd bridge over the Nene at Irthlingborough is a more modern viaduct built in 1936 which carries the A6.

We caught up with another boat at our forth lock, Upper Ringstead Lock. The boaters were having a problem with the ‘wheel’ that lifted the guillotine gates up and down. This type of lock mechanism was new to us too, but eventually we managed to suss it out. We were invited to share the lock with them.

At Lower Ringstead Lock we caught up again with the boat from the previous lock. The boat was on the lock landing, where there’s only room for one boat, but John managed to nudge Cyan’s bow far enough onto the lock landing for me to jump out to help set the lock.

Huge Charolais bull enjoying the sunshine surrounded by his harem, and young calves.

We’re  moored up at 2pm, very peacefully on a Friends of the Nene mooring at Woodford. The fish swimming in the clear water were a joy to watch. We hope to continue our journey tomorrow, stopping at Thrapston; but if the wind turns up as predicted, we might not be moving.

Today we’ve travelled 6.5 miles and through 5 locks.

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