Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jannock does the Nene – Day 13

Red sky at night …. is possibly a load of old twaddle!  Another red sky as we walked back from Little Houghton last night, another grey, cold and damp morning – Ahh high summer.

I reversed elegantly from our overnight mooring and fell in behind nb Toad of Toad Hall. We had been warned when we met Brian this week  that they were en-route between the Middle Levels and the Canal system. They were a pleasure to share with all the way today. We pulled onto the service point at Midsummer Meadows today hoping for a pumpout, but despite everyone's efforts no effluent was going anywhere. The pump appeared to be working OK and investigation beneath the Carlsberg mass keggery man-hole cover above the sani-station showed that the drains were blocked because the man-hole was full up to the brim. We phoned Northampton council, as instructed on the signage, to let them know but they’d obviously all popped to the loo!

We went past the Carlsberg mass keggery to possibly the best smell in the world, spent hops and malt. It reminded us of our school days in Alton, Hants when there were three breweries active in one town.

The lock 14 Yeti We were pleased that nb Toad of Toad Hall went first up the Northampton Arm as they were 3 crewed and back-set all of the locks for us which made our passage that little bit easier.  At lock 14 we had to drag a ‘Yeti’ out of the way before we could open the gate.  nb Melaleuca warned us yesterday of low levels between locks 7 and 5 – Thanks.   Luckily, even though they appeared lower than when we came down, we had no problem as we don’t draw much which is why the wind blows us around so often.

Up to Gayton we went as we are going home one day earlier than planned. Due to the Aquadrive gaiter surrendering during our trip, Graham had ordered the repair kit on the internet and we need to fix it. Whilst I cleared up and made dinner, he went down in the engine hole and removed it in order to carry out the repair in the comfort of his shed tomorrow. He hopes to refit it to Jannock later tomorrow while I do the best part of two weeks washing.

To sum up – a busy two weeks, friends old and new well met, beautiful countryside, lovely villages and towns visited, disappointing weather – but then we didn’t get really wet as we stayed inside during the deluge at Elton. Wind burn rather than sun burn ;^)

Tree of the trip – Lime, the scent was gorgeous and reminded me of my mum.

Bird of the trip – the Terns were a real pleasure to watch, and a bit of a novelty.

Animal of the week – Matt’s kitten Mooshie who has had a car accident while we’ve been away and has had to have the top of his femur removed. Get well soon Puss!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Jannock does the Nene – Day 12

After a very peaceful night pegged to the bank just before Wollaston lock we set off at about 10 am. As we rose in the lock another upstream boat arrived and so we agreed to wait for them at the next lock. We had seen this couple aboard their anonymous boat at Aston lock last Saturday. At Doddington lock we settled inside the empty lock and waited for them to catch up with us. As we waited a down-stream boat arrived to pass through but the crew agreed to wait on the lock landing for our potential partners to arrive. This boat was an ex-Viking afloat boat on it’s way to Willy Watt marina for blacking  and I had a long chat with it’s owner about the stern fender as it was similar to the Black Prince style fitted to Jannock. Our partners arrived and we worked through the lock together. As we were leaving another up-stream boat arrived to share with the boat that had waited and so it all worked out OK in the end.

Graham moving the weed At Whiston lock there were lots of large weed clumps floating about in the entrance to the chamber and they prevented Jannock from entering alongside the other boat. I had to man-handle them out of the lock using the long shaft before we could get  in alongside the other boat. We took it in turns to stay and turn each lock as we passed through except for the two locks where we met boats going the other way – which definitely makes life easier.

We bade farewell to our partners at Weston Favell lock, just after the Northampton Boat and Shed club,  as they were N B & S C continuing on to Morrisons in Northampton whilst we moored up opposite the Washlands again for the night. I used the nice pontoon mooring here to allow me to remove the middle bedroom window and re-install it in order to fix the leak we discovered during the heavy rain last Saturday. I’ll do the two on the other side of the boat later on this week.

This evening we walked across the Washlands to the village of Little Houghton, explored the village and finished off with a very nice pint in the Four Pears (NOT Red Lion as stated in the Imray guide) which appears to be an up-market gastro-pub, so up market that even the local vicar looked under dressed.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jannock does the Nene – Day 11

Last night we spent a very enjoyable evening with Terry and Olympic duathaleteChristine aboard nb Grace catching up on the three years since we last met. They left the Denford mooring at 9:30 this morning and we set off in the other direction at 10:00.

Near Woodford we passed this Olympic athlete in training for the “Duathalon”. He had just completed the “Trudging with a heavy load” course and was about to start the fishing coarse!

After Upper Ringstead lock Brenda went inside for a bath whilst I remained at the tiller, passing time watching all of the fish in the perfectly clear water in this stretch. I spotted a couple of reasonable size pike within a couple of hundred metres of each heron2other.

A flight of seven powered gliders flew overhead in something that loosely resembled a formation, obviously Air Cadet aircraft being dispersed to RAF stations ready for the impending Summer Camp season.

At Irthingborough lock it started to rain heavily and so once through, we tied up on the Rushton and Diamonds visitor mooring for lunch. The rain passed and so we continued on to Wellingborough where we stopped for water and a quick trip to Tesco.

Back on board, and still solvent, we continued up through Upper Wellingborough lock and then moored for the night against a bank just before Wollaston lock.


P.S. Hello Simon from nb Melaleuca, sorry I was late posting tonight. Had to wash up first ;^(

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jannock does the Nene – Day 10

The volume of rainwater coming downstream means that we are now experiencing the ‘windlass free lock’. The lower guillotine gates do not require one and the amount of water spilling over the top gates means that there is no point winding up the paddles as the lock fills quite quickly without doing so.

As we approached Thrapston we found the big E.A. weedcutter  descending Islip lock. The crew were trying to move it downstream below Islip Mill footbridge, which is the lowest on this part of the navigation, before the levels rose too much. The driver reckoned he might have about 1-2 cm to spare Low WeedcutterHigh Weedcutter

despite the funky  rising cab it is fitted with. Their technique to get it under the bridge was to shift all of the harvested weed on the conveyor forwards towards the cutters which made the front of the craft dip into the water. They then lowered the control cab to it’s lowest position and as they inched under the bridge they used the conveyor to move the weed load towards the rear at the same time as accelerating to dip the stern. They just got through. as we left Islip lock we were warned that the river levels are increasing and to be careful.

The truth about Rushton and Diamonds – straight from the E.A. The water and power to the services at R&D were cut off when the football club went into liquidation. The E.A. have not been able to get anyone to restore them and latterly have been refused access to the facilities. The E.A. is trying hard to be able to re-instate electricity, water and management of the facilities.

Islip bridge and waterpoint Lunch stop was the Woolpack in Islip in the company of nb Harnser’s crew, Brian and Diana, who turned up on cue as the coffee and cake was ready for us and the E.A. man. Two more cups please! A pleasant lunch was had by all. And then Brian exited the awkward mooring and went through the bridge in one go with much aplomb.

After that we set off for Denford moorings for another rendezvous. Kettle magic again – just as the tea had brewed the Rigdens pulled into the moorings behind us on nb Grace.

nb Melaleuca hoved into view a good few minutes after we’d heard his Lister engine. Honestly there is no pleasing some people. He asked if we were the Jannocks who blogged,  we agreed we were. “You’re going the wrong way then” he replied. – Readers, please keep up to date! we write this rubbish, the least you could do is read it on time ;^)  Joking apart, “Hi there Melaleuca crew, we may see you later as we’re now heading in the same direction”


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jannock does the Nene – Day 9

Graham’s grooming tips :- never perform your Sunday morning ablutions so vigorously that you get cramp in your neck and it gets stuck under your armpit!

At 08:30 I awoke enough to realise that Graham had gone on a goose rescue mission. A canada goose had got in a right pickle with cramp or some such. It was floating down the mill cut with it’s head stuck behind it’s wing and was fading fast. Nothing Graham or the fisherman on the opposite bank did allowed them to catch it and help. Eventually, just as it looked as if it’s goose was cooked, one last flap and kerfuffle saw the head pop out from under the wing. Goose paddled slowly off with a visible crick in it’s neck, now able to stay the right way up, breathe and feed. Phew!Rose and Crown, Oundle

Name that bird - please? Last night it was delightful to hear, at 05:30 this morning I wanted to shoot the bl@@dy thing. It sings from the treetops, loud short bursts of song, each repeated two or three times, each different and melodious. A warbler of some description? Unfortunately our Birds of Britain book doesn’t do audio snippets.

We strolled into Oundle and had elevenses (whilst sheltering from the rain) in a very nice coffee shop. It’s a very pretty town with most necessities. There is a decent Co-op as you enter or leave using the Ashton path. As we walked through the fields we were in danger of joining a ‘trudging team of the third age’. Later as we travelled up river we witnessed the extended sport, a duathalon of trudging (inc. hauling heavy trolleys and bags) and fishing. Surely a good bet for 2012?

Titchmarsh Mill The sunshine and showers turned to windy and heavy showers so I found it convenient to keep popping inside to wash and rinse the laundry whilst Graham remained doggedly at the tiller. We moored for the night on the 48 hour moorings below Titchmarsh lock in a howling gale and watched the water pour over the top gates of the lock. Telecommunications with Mr Holt of this parish informed us that the river was high enough further upstream to prevent narrowboats going under some bridges without damage, so an early stop gives a chance for the water levels to subside as long as it doesn’t rain more.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Jannock does the Nene – Day 8

The Crown Inn at Elton proved to be an excellent pub last night, Elton Mill go past the mill from the moorings, across the meadow and into the village. It’s down Duck Street to the left.

the view out the window this morning This morning we awoke to mizzle and breakfasted as the rain increased. By normal setting off time we chose to listen to classic FMs best, read Terry Pratchett, start and immediately get wrong an epic-strength cross stitch and check out the window leaks that became apparent during the downpour. Graham got cabin fever despite the activity and chose to prepare lunch – another historic meal; we are using up ye olde shippes provisions at a goodly rate. We also haven’t died of new fangled best before dates yet either. To ward off scurvy we opened Iris’ wonderful nutty and fruity cake, especially provisioned for the voyage.

We upped pegs and set off at 13:30 hours, our meteorology report having been phoned in by one Mr Holt, currently of this parish, who informed us that it had just stopped raining in Northampton. We met a group of very be-draggled young canoeists. They looked no more cheerful than the all England wet-weather under 18s trudging team who passed by whilst we were moored up after obviously camping out last night. That Duke of Edinburgh has got a lot to answer for.

nb Gower nb Gower was leaving Elton as we did so we asked if they were happy to lock share. They said that they’d be winding before Warmington lock so we went on through only to have them turn up at the lock landing when we were halfway through because they’d changed their minds. When we arrived at Perio lock we sat and waited for them to arrive and shared. As we arrived at Cotterstock lock, a couple of cruisers crewed by some 20 somethings, beers in hand, were about to descend. We were about to pull onto the lcok landing but were pleased when they left the lock in our favour. In we went, they were even prepared to wait for Gower to arrive. We’ll admit we had to examine our predjudices. After waiting with no sign they decided to start the locking process but then Gower rounded the bend and so they raised the gate again and Gower slipped in beside us. Thanks, much appreciated.

After passing through Ashton lock solo as Gower moored up in the meadow near Oundle, we pulled into the mill stream and moored for the night in the same location as last Tuesday. Our second favourite mooring of the trip and luckily not restricted to 24 hours like our favourite.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Jannock does the Nene – Day 7

Out of the seven boats moored on the 24 hour moorings in IMGP3205 Overton lake last night we were the last to leave. I took the opportunity of having a full length pontoon to polish Jannock’s paintwork. I then pushed her over to the next vacant pontoon and did the other side as well. Once I had finished then we set off and rejoined the river, turning up stream.

At Alwalton lock we brought Jannock in and two cruisers arrived on the lock landing. One was too wide but the other did not want to join us either. Just then another narrowboat (nb Tane Mahita) arrived and was waved past the cruisers to share with us. They were obviously disappointed not to over take the pair of us before Water Newton lock as they had to follow us through that one and did not even come up to the lockside until after we had left.  The next section was a lot longer and they were determined to overtake us so they despatched the fastest cruiser, with a single crew member on board, as soon as the lock gates opened and he overtook us just after Wansford Station. The other cruiser with the rest of both crews on board came steaming past just after Pat Buckles yard. We found the pair of them waiting at Wansford lock whilst yet another narrowboat was working through.

IMGP3222Brenda spotted her first Kingfisher of the year at Wansford today and also her Amarylis, which she bought with us from home, has opened two lovely flowers.

We moored for the night just above Elton lock where we have had to use our gangplank between the back seat and the bank. Brenda is grateful to the ‘Beale Park Woodpecker’ as we have had to pin the plank to the bankside to stop it slipping off.

Right, off to explore the pubs of Elton.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jannock does the Nene – Day 6

River Canal Rescue saves the day – Last night I found that the gaiter Grease Guard fitted around the Aquadrive universal joint had split and that it had sprayed the engine compartment with Molybendum grease. I cleaned up the best I could and then I fabricated a ‘grease guard’ from out of date RCR brochures which was the only source of stiff card I had and some parcel tape. This did the job of preventing it re-covering the engine bay whilst we continued to Peterborough.

We left Wansford station at 10 am and shared the next two locks with nb Great Escape but arrived at the 3rd lock to find another boat had just entered and so we bade farewell to Gt. Escape and shared with the new partner instead.

Alwalton Mill We continued on into Peterborough where we turned round and moored at the services on the Town Quay. I filled the watertank and did a pumpout before we moved to moor on the embankment and go shopping. If you need the rubbish disposal point here it is around the back of the building with the pumpout switch fitted on the wall. You’ll need an EA key to get at the bins and the door is not signed.

Brenda was not impressed with Peterborough market but the mains shopping streets have all the things we needed. Visit the cathedral and the old city square and shops before going on to Asda where we did our main food shop. There is also a Majestic wine warehouse at the rear through the car park.

At 4pm we left Peterborough and set off upstream to find a more peaceful mooring. We popped into Thorpe meadows for a look-see but decided we would not moor there for the night as the smell of chips from the Boathouse pub adjacent to the mooring was too much to bear. We passed up through Orton lock again and went into Overton lake where we have breasted up next Public garden in P'boroto nb Bill Badger. Nb Great Escape failed to escape as we have them on the other side of us.

Oh dear. Brenda purchased ‘oven bake’ Spam fritters at Asda which  has really made my evening. They were so good I was grinning like a Cheshire cat for quite a while. After a fritterful dinner we took a walk around the lakes at Ferry Meadows park. It was lovely to see so many families out enjoying it at 7:30 on a Thursday evening. There were three groups of Guides, Brownies and Scouts having their ‘end of term’ parties, much laughter. As the evening drew to a close we wondered if it was a sunset we could see or the Brownies BBQs getting a little out of control.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Jannock does the Nene – Day 5

Wildlife of the day – The Fotheringhay green woodpeckers.  We’ve seen more today than in a year at home and we have some nesting there!

Weather – Bah humbug Grey with a chilly wind causing more hassle.

As we left Ashton cut a boat had just arrived at the lock landing; goody a share.Cotterstock Hall Wrong! I prepped the lock whilst Graham reversed Jannock out of the mooring. Older chap took his boat into the lock, younger chap helped me. His dad (on the boat) said he was a squaddie on leave. I was impressed with his battle fitness as he took no time at all to raise a paddle. Both boats were in and Graham went down to raise the guillotine gate. Deja vous as the tiller thumped me again as the rudder was forced over by the water rushing in through the still open paddle. Squaddie had managed about 1/4 open whilst impressing me and then carried on opening it when it was time to close them again. Orders were barked, he can at least take orders. At the next lock I got Jannock in, despite the wind, but older chap got in a real pickle and ended up across the river with a tendency towards the direction from whence he had come. That was the point he decided he was giving up and returning. Squaddie was having a muddlesome time throwing me knitting thinly described as rope but he eventually made their boat safe, pointing back up-stream, so that older Fotheringhay Church chap could walk the dogs. His dogs were attached to frayed poly rope and out of control. The rope got wrapped around Graham’s leg at one point and he has rope burn now. It seems that older chap has spent three years fitting out his boat and it went into the water for the first time this morning. It seems he took none of that time to actually try boating and acquire some skill. I decided that the Army is a safer place this week, because a certain squaddie is on leave.

Later we caught up with nb Great Escape and spent the rest of the day and the locks with them. TheirNene Valley Railway experience was very handy in the increasing wind. Moorings being few and far between, unless you are happy to pay £4 at Fotheringhay – no wonder Mary Queen of Scots lost her head – we found one boats length free at  Warnsford Station pontoon and so moored up two abreast just in time for the gents to get excited about seeing the last train of the day puff past.

There have been many lovely churches to see from the river over the last couple of days.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jannock does the Nene – Day 4

You know your are rural when the spray-can graffiti on derelict walls goes thus “ UHT, use it when you like, it’s still milk”

Today we moved from the Nene (pronounced Nen) to the Nene (pronounced Neen) without needing our passports or having to pass through immigration!Middle Nene Cruising Club

We set off from our delightfully rural mooring, on the offside just  downstream from the Middle Nene Sailing Club, at 10am. As we approached Titchmarsh lock (and the Middle Nene Cruising Club) we passed nb Lexa’s empty mooring as Bernard and Sandy are off Waddenhoe church and sundial doing the Thames. At Waddenhoe we stopped on the Kings Head moorings  and explored the village, including the church and the dovecot, before having an excellent lunch back in the pub. Beers were Norfolk Wherry and Cocky Blonde – result! The food was very good as well.

Down through Waddenhoe lock and the head wind was getting up making outer garments essential. We saw two cock pheasants having a stand-off in the field alongside the river. Unfortunately the fight was over before we managed to get a photo. At Upper Barnwell lock, Brenda held Jannock on the lock landing whilst I set the lock. When ready, as soon as she loosed off the wind took Jannock’s bows straight across the river and all her attempts to counter it failed. The stern rammed into the bank and the tiller shot round and tried to knock her off of the back of the boat. With sheer effort she managed to stop it and then I was able to heave the bows back into wind to allow her to enter the lock. She was fair shook up by the experience and now has painful shoulder and ribs as a reminder of how close she came to being knocked into the river. A local boater waiting to ascend the lock told Brenda that this lock is an “accident black spot” in windy weather with many boats ending up across the stream. He said the locals didn’t pass through if the wind was up.

We called in to Oundle marina to see if they stocked Engine stop cablespeacocks at Ashton but they didn’t so we untied and continued on. We finally moored for the night in Ashton cut and walked up to the village for a look around. Nigel on nb Goosander said that the path to the village was blocked by a fallen tree last Thursday but it has been removed now, in fact we are moored in the exact spot that it fell – anyone want any free logs?

The Chequered Skipper in Ashton has 3 real ales on and offers two  meal courses for £10 Monday to Thursday (lunch & evening) and Friday lunchtime. Having eaten in the Kings Head at lunchtime we were tempted but resisted. The food being served looked good and we might try to stop for a meal on the return journey. The wonderful ambience of the village, built in 1900 by the Rothschild family, is enhanced by the number of Peacocks (& hens) strutting around.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Jannock does the Nene – Day 3

All these wildfowl nature reserves are a bad influence on Graham. He was up with the lark today; he’d prepped breakfast, tidied away weeks of his “stuff” and finished washing the heronroof before I surfaced. To make matters worse he worked out how to secure the new washing line so that gravity is no longer a problem. I wouldn’t mind but I’m not even the ‘owl’ to his ‘lark’.  The heron in the picture here was just over the bank from our mooring.

We coasted into the Rushden and Diamonds FC moorings to find that the services are still closed as the football club has gone into administration. No, I don’t understand that either. The Doc Martins factory shop is also closed – manufacture moved to China. Onto the lock when Graham’s phone rang.  He was listening intently and looking negative. I assumed problems at home and cut the engine so that he could hear better. When it was time to re-start – no go! I went through the drill, No go! Much to my astonishment the engine stop button broke off in my hand. We pulled Jannock from the lock using the rope and lock wall chain and Graham went into the engine bay. The earth wire to the starter solenoid had broken, the problem and I’d just made it so that we could neither stop nor start now. Good thing Graham is an engineer because he held the earth wire to chassis and the engine started.

Oh, the phone call? The Environment Agency were letting us know that the dead fish were due to the weed cutting de-oxygenating water with already low oxygen levels. “One of those things, sadly” We were thanked for our call, the only one about the incident, the officer wondered how many people had seen the situation and done nothing. At Upper Ringstead lock the pollution plot thickened. Graham asked some E.A. weedcutters, taking lunch, if they knew of a chandlery and explained how our stop knob broke. They were most upset at weedcutters being implicated in the Piscicide as they routinely check Oxygen levels before cutting and knew that the small cutter at Whiston Lock to be less of a problem than their huge one. He demonstrated that the Oxygen levels could cope and asked us for our Incident number in order to check out the situation. He suspected sewage pollutants.

dukeduchess We stopped at Thrapston for water and provisions, a useful little town with most things you might need including a vet. Post Office on the river side of town, large Co-op and chippy at top end. Banks etc. are there to. We had to reverse into the Thrapston mooring in order to breast up to a boat already there. Frank and Sheila made us welcome alongside and put up with Graham fixing the starting and stopping mechanisms whilst the water tank filled. When I returned from the shops the beers had been broken out.

At Islip lock a rather tatty cruiser approached as we entered. We waited for them to come in and had to wave them alongside. Their refusal to share was based upon the advice given when they picked up this, their first boat. Never share with a narrowboat, they will crush you. We put them right, they joined Jannock and lived to tell the tale.

We moored for the night at another nature reserve which gave us the view shown below from our outside dining area (the fold down cratch table)

dining blogger









Sunday, July 10, 2011

Jannock does the Nene – Day 2

Sunday 10th July – Washlands to Ditchford

Last nights mooring was so peaceful that we felt no need to hurry away. We ate our Krispies watching the waterfowl go about their business. Our first guillotine lock was not as troublesome as expected, Brenda nenelock found she could counteract the forward surge as the gate started opening with a little blip of reverse so we gave up using ropes to check our forward movement. At Billing Lock I had to politely insist that some fisherdads and kids remove themselves from the lock landing as we were about to occupy it. There were two teens fishing in the lock who also ceased whilst we passed through. Although there was much huffing and tutting from fisherdads as they packed up so Brenda was waiting for the rude comments to start as she was raring to point out the large E.A. sign their chairs were in front of. The one that said, and even had a cartoon of, “No Fishing”. Those dads’ll wonder why their kids grow up with no respect for authority. As we left the lock we were amused to see a little cruiser approach from below to hold up the teens ‘in-lock’ fishing for another 10 minutes or so. We were even more amused when said cruiser completely trashed their keep-net which they had secured to the lower lock landing. Well they should have complied with E.A. instructions to Ho Ho.

After we’d passed through Cogenhoe lock we noticed a couple of dead pike floating in the weed, and then a few little roach and then literally hundreds of dead fish floating in the river as we approached Whiston lock. We reported this to the E.A. emergency line who rang back and were sending someone out immediately. The dead fish stopped as suddenly as they started. Pollution or de-oxygenation?

It was great to see so many out training for Olympic trudging today; hot weather training. We were joined for the last few locks by another narrowboat who kept having to dive down their weedhatch. Jannock has coped well with no visits down there today. At Upper Wellingborough lock, next to the prison, we came across three families picnicking and fishing in the side stream. imposingbridgeWine, cider and eats had all been supplied by Mr. Tesco, a five minute walk away.

We moored for the night on the left bank after the imposing viaduct , but before the water sports lake. This lake is shown in the wrong place in the Imray guide I purchased yesterday which does not seem very hot on accuracy of cartography. Once the British Olympic banana-boat screaming team had finished their days training it became another quiet spot with only the wildfowl and the occasional dog walker for company.


Jannock does the Nene – Day 1

Gayton to Northampton Washlands

We made it to Jannock by 10:30 in spite of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone which meant a long diversion. Once everything was loaded and I’d topped up the diesel tank, Brenda set off solo to move the boat to Gayton Junction whilst I drove the Car to John and Angela’s  house at Gayton yard where I had been offered car parking for two weeks. When Jannock arrived Brenda performed a perfect manoeuvre onto the waterpoint right outside the Cheeseborough residence, where we then had a cup of tea in a lovely sunny garden whilst waiting for the water tank to fill.

Having said our farewells we moved down to the marina to under the M1purchase an Environment Agency key and a couple of Imray guides as our favourite, Nicholsons, don’t cover this river.  Whilst waiting for the office to re-open after lunch we took the opportunity to have our lunch as well before setting off down the seventeen narrow locks of the Northampton Arm to join the Nene. Most of the locks on this flight seem to leak water badly from the bottom gates so even though we met a couple of boats coming up the flight I still had to fill every lock bar two in order to descend. Just after Hardingstone lock we had a grass snake, who was swimming across the canal, decide to try and climb onto Jannock’s rear fender. Not being able to reach, it continued towards the offside bank instead. Jannock’s prop was increasingly impeded by weed. Eventually oldgrainstore we had to stop and I pulled a load of weed, some rope and plastic bags off. Progress was slow until we got onto the River Nene proper although we did enjoy the novelty of being able to see the fish swimming in the clear water around the boat and the ability to tell the fisherpersons where to cast for hopeful fishing. In the distance we could see the Express lift tower, previously used for elevator testing and now a Grade 2 listed building.

Once onto the river Nene we picked up speed again. As you enter Northampton you pass this lovely old grain store which has been converted into domestic accommodation now. We continued on through Northampton hoping to find a peaceful mooring for the night.

We finally moored on a pontoon 48 hour mooring, tucked in behind a little island, at Weston Favell. A hasty supper was taken before we went off and circumnavigated the Northampton Washlands flood defences. It’s about a 4km walk during which we invented the Olympic sport of ‘Trudging’. We realise that all school children used to be trained for this sport, but were told it was a ‘nature ramble’. When required the Washlands will hold about 500 million gallons of flood water preventing it from backing up and flooding the surrounding areas. Just beyond our overnight mooring spot is the ‘Northampton Boat and Shed club’ – just go and see! The evening ended with a wonderful firework display across the washlands at about 10:30 – unfortunately only Brenda saw it as I was fast asleep.

Stating the ‘bleedin obvious’ sign day!



     The Yellow sign on the small door states

  “This is a small space”