Monday, September 15, 2014

Where is everyone, Spooky!

We set off at 9.00am this morning, knowing we had the second low bridge at Islip to deal with. Del was hoping with all the wood now on the bow of Derwent6 it would keep it low enough to go under without taking the chimney off. We approached with care, but you could see we fitted with about a foot to spare compared to when we came down stream and we had the chimney off and only three inches to spare. It just shows how little rain we have had, we have been so lucky on here.
We went into the lock and got into our routine of holding Derwent6.
We continued through Thrapston and the nine arch bridge with no problems.
We still had a grin when we went under the A14 bridge, remembering all the times we used to look down from the road wishing we were here.

We went through Denford lock, which seems to be in the middle of nowhere, and some lazy git hadn't emptied the lock for us probably as it was one with a wheel. With aching arms we got through in the end.
Can you believe it we hadn't met a boat, and its a Sunday, that wouldn't happen on the canals. This river has so much character and it is so wide one minute and then so tight the next. 
We passed Woodford and St Mary the Virgin church, its so pretty round here its a shame the moorings are no longer in use and you can't stop.
It was on to Ringstead with its upper and lower locks and Willy Watt Marina. There is a lovely tea room here.
We still hadn't seen a boat all day and got to Irthlingborough lock. This is a deep lock and we were very cautious on going upstream. We were right, the centre rope was straining and Del only just managed to keep hold of Derwent6 with Al opening and closing the paddle keeping things under control. It took us a good fifteen minutes to get to the top and as we opened the gate a boat came along, we are not alone after all.
We moved out and looked down to see the Rushden and Diamonds mooring empty, where is everyone.
We sorted out Derwent6 with telly and then went for a walk along the towpath for another batch of Blackberries, Yummmmm
Yep more free jam was on the menu.. Al made it while Del put some more coats of paint on the barrels.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Thrapston at last

We set off early again and the sun was trying to come out through the mist at Wadenhoe.
It was a three mile twisty turn trip to the first lock at Titchmarch and we had no problems going up.
We met a nice couple waiting to go down and they told us that the moorings in Thrapston were empty.
We were hoping to stop here, as they were full when we came through on the way down. When we arrived on the sailing club moorings they were indeed empty.
We had a problem getting a tv signal, but the post they supply helped us get a good one in the end..
We had a cup of tea and then went for a walk round Thrapston town. Its a nice walk from here, past the sailing lake.
Our objective was to find a pub with BT Sports so Del could watch the football, Arsenal were playing Man City.
We went to The Kings Arms and they had a big screen in the corner, we ended up ordering some food and watched the game. Afterwards we went for a walk round the town and looked at the difficult moorings by the bridge.
We ended up in the Co-Op and picked up a few bits and pieces. We also found a great Ironmongers which sells everything and they were such nice people, very helpful..... Del wanted to buy the shop.
We walked back to Derwent6 and Del carried on with his painting while Al read her book.....

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Just couldn't pass it

We left Ashton at 9.15am and headed off towards Oundle. Al put some washing on and we cruised up to Lower Barnwell Lock.
We soon passed Oundle Cruising club and went for the low bridge here. The water levels had dropped a lot since we last went under as we had to take the chimney off on the way down.. 
There are two very low bridges on the Nene which stop you getting back on the canal system if the water rises. The other we will be trying tomorrow.
We went through the upper lock and were surprised to see a notice that this lovely restaurant had closed down, why we don't know!
We were getting low on diesel and the services on here aren't the best, so we were pleased to see coal boat n.b Bletchley to top the tank up.
We then got to Lifford bridge where a obstruction under the water made us keep well to the right, it turned out to be the wall of the bridge that had fallen in. There was so much concentration we couldn't take a photo, as we guided Derwent6 into the lock close by.
We then got to Wadenhoe Lock where the water always seem to flow fast over the gate. As you shut the guillotine the lock fills itself, easy!
We then pulled outside the pub and filled with water, its a good fast tap here, very handy as Derwent6 has a big tank. While filling Del had a quick look to see if one of our favourite moorings was free. Oh yes! we just can't pass a great mooring, so we moved along to it and pinned in.
After some lunch  Del set to work on the barrel's again this time painting the diamonds.
He also managed to finish repairing the main barrel which now looks much better..
It was then on the hunt for wood, it is that time of year when it just could be a bit cold overnight, not that we have had it yet. Del managed to find a few bits and loaded them on. We toyed with going to the pub but decided to muster something up on Derwent6 with a beer of course. The nights really seem to be closing in now....Its been a great Summer!

Friday, September 12, 2014

On to Ashton

We planned to go early again this morning, but with a thick mist on the water it wasn't worth the risk of whacking a bridge or going into trees, so we waited till the fog had lifted and we pulled the pins.
It has still been very warm for the time of year and it was a lovely calm day again.
We thought we wouldn't go too far today as we felt like chilling out and also we wanted to try a nice mooring we noticed on the way down..  Once again it was just fantastic cruising on the Nene with Herons and Kingfisher's galore. We soon got to Perio Lock with no problems.
We then got to Cotterstock lock and was surprised that someone was in it, the first boat we had met cruising for two days.
Al helped them through and we soon got through ok.
We kept going with Oundle in the distance twisting and turning till we got to Ashton Lock.
An Environment agency guy was at the lock and he helped us through and even drained the lock for us, thanks mate.
We were lucky enough to get a mooring, albeit a bit of reversing was required and Al soon got the washing line out.
Del on the other hand started painting the barrels on the roof, a job he has been trying to do since the spring but never got round to.
We didn't see the sun today as the cloud cover was too great and it never got the chance to burn through. Lets hope its back tomorrow....

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Postcard stuff

We were up bright and early and the morning was the same, bright and warm. As we untied a Virgin Balloon was going over head. As we pulled out and cruised across the lake, it was picture postcard stuff again.

We turned back onto the Nene and retraced our footsteps. The Nene was like a piece of glass and this time we were into current, it was such pleasant cruising we had to pinch ourselves.
We passed back under Milton Bridge and onto Wansford where we were just ahead of the steam train going over us but we couldn't wait for it.
It is nice to see the good old fashioned straw bale round these parts again.
We had paired up with n.b Sofia and they were getting everything ready for us in the lock and we closed the gates and drained the lock after us as you do on this river.
Del was happy as the guillotines were dry and didn't drip all over the roof like going down flow.. Talking of guillotines, we were heading for Fotheringhay where Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded. We got to Yarwell lock and as you pass the caravans you can see the attraction of this place, its so pretty and in the background you could hear the steam train chuffing and whistling its way through the trees. We pulled out of the lock and we both filled with water, as these facilities are a bit scarce on here.
Pumpout is worse as none of them seem to work and when they do you need a token which you can get in Northampton, not much help when you're 30 miles away. We passed Nassington and got to Elton, where we stopped on the way down, and it was here we split with n.b Sofia. The locks are a bit tricky going up, but the key is to take it slowly, something we are all good at. We held Derwent6 on the centre rope and then just opened one paddle as the lock fills quickly on the flowing Nene. It works for us!
We hadn't passed a boat all day, amazing in all this good weather, and such good cruising. We then arrived at Fotheringhay and the moorings were empty all under St Mary and All Saints, a stunning church on the hill with an octagon tower.
You have to pay £4.00 to moor here overnight and we just felt we wanted to see it here. We had some lunch listening to the church bells and with the sun in our faces and with full tummies ended up having a cat nap. We woke up at 5.00pm and decided to see the place. Just before we left the farmer came round for his money, so we mustered up as much shrapnel from the change pot, making his pockets heavy with five and ten p's. Made us feel better anyway!!
We then took a walk over to the Motte and Bailey castle mound which is the spot where Mary had her head removed and Richard the third was born. This is what it would have looked like!
We've got to say it is worth doing and is unbelievable you can walk in the same grounds with so much history around you.
You can still see where the buildings were and where the moat ran.
We then walked up to the Church and when we got inside music was playing, a lovely sound too. It was a local band practicing and recording their first album, the acoustics sounded brilliant in the church.
It was very interesting following the history of the village, and the church even has a secret room.
It was then time to go up to the Falcon pub for some refreshments and with the sun setting we sat in the garden.
The food here looked lovely but as we had eaten perhaps another time. On our walk back we watched the sun set over Derwent6 and the sheep looking at their reflection on the side panels on one side and the swans on the other..
It has just been a cracking day today, how lucky we are....