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 purchase 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 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”