Venturing Out Onto The Nene

We spent the night moored at the top of Cotton End Lock no 17. We were the only boat around, and if I’m honest, I didn’t feel too comfortable. There’s no doubt we’re both feeling a little stressed after yesterday’s drama. I slept rather well, but I’m afraid John kept playing ‘the drama’ over in his head through the night. He should feel proud that he successfully recovered the situation.

After Rusty had his walk with the yeast aroma from the Carlsberg brewery permeating the air, we pushed off and dropped down the lock very carefully, being well aware how a ‘situation’ can happen very fast.

After dropping down the lock, we turned left onto the River Nene

Now we’re on the river, all river equipment appears huge

Passing through our first Nene River bridge

Like most who sail through these parts, we stopped off to visit Morrisons for fresh fruit and veg.

Very near to the mooring above; we slipped into Northampton Marina to purchase a lock key (£10). While he was chatting to the friendly staff, John was offered several pieces of advice including leaving the lock gates open when exiting locks.

Northampton Lock, our first lock on the Nene. All was very quickly sussed on its use.  

Didn’t take John long to complain about the amount of ‘paddle winding’ he had to do 😉

The river opened up, and the weather even made up its mind what it wanted to do, and brightened up

Father ducks from what I’ve seen, don’t normally make good fathers, full credit this father duck.  

We finally moored by the entrance of ‘Western Barrage Flood Gate’, just before Western Favell Lock.

This is a fantastic spot, backing onto to a huge flood plain, which is carefully maintained. Rusty thinks he’s in heaven.

Tomorrow we plan to stay moored here, possibly moving up when the boat in front leaves in the morning, we’ll then put out our chairs and ‘chill out’! Weather willing of course.

Today we’ve travelled 3.5 miles, and through 4 locks.

8 thoughts on “Venturing Out Onto The Nene

  1. If he’s complaining about the number of turns now just wait until the handful of guillotine gates with a wheel to turn. They seem to take for ever.
    Angela complained her thumb hurt when she had to press and hold the button on the powered gates for ages!

    • Ha ha… yes he is complaining about the number of turns 🙂 We’ve been warned about the ‘wheel turn’ locks, I believe the trick is to keep the momentum of the turn going, stopping and turning makes it harder. PS Hope Angela’s thumb was soon better; I’ll prepare myself for the moaning… unless I get ‘demoted’ to locking duties 🙂

  2. We have just returned home for a short break after completing the Nene and enjoyed it very much – better than many long river navigations and for the most part is without the high banks that dominate others. You can see our blog at Of course, mooring and services are the issues around which cruising plans have to be organised – obsessively. Always try to have a Plan B as most of the EA moorings are either 1 or at best 2 narrowboat sizes. One of the locks, I forget which, has the annoying characteristic that when you have raised the gate with the dreaded Wheel, as soon as you let go of the wheel the gate starts quickly to descend again. Just try for a polite response when you realise this having walked to the other end of the lock! The one good mooring is Peterborough, in terms of length available. But you will be woken by the sounds from the building site opposite – not on Sunday however. Do visit the Cathedral.

    • Thank you Mike, yes I have been following your journey, and it’s good to re-read with the experience of doing that bit of the journey so I can relate to what you what you’ve written. Thanks for the tip off about the lock gate starting to close when you let go of the wheel. Know what you mean about having a ‘plan B’. We’re not moving today, so I’ll spend a bit of time pulling various bits of information together. Good tip about the building site. Regards, Jen

  3. Two things about the manual wheels for raising the guillotine gates:
    1) Find a stubby screwdriver or similar and insert into the hole near the rim of the wheel where the original handle was fixed and you have your own handle to rotate the wheel;
    2)You should always lock the wheel when the gate is in the raised position. Just push the bolt back (you can remove the Abloy key).

    Also forgot to mention previously The Great Ouse Boating Association (GOBA) – see

    NB Samsara

  4. John and Jen…just had a catch up with you, have had a guest for a month. Fabulous pictures of the last part of the Thames then back to Braunston. Were the ‘guys’ scarecrows? One had a CD hanging from it. And the wooden pole thing, could it have been for a teepee? Maybe for some sort of summer camp.

    What an adventure you are having. Hope the weather stays good.

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