Boatwif Blog

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Up – and down – to Denver

           By 9am on Saturday morning the tide had come in. Come in from where? From the Wash.  Look downstream and somewhere further down is King’s Lynn and beyond that the sea.          Behind where Cleddau and Tentatrice were moored was another structure, the Old      Bedford Sluice and the tide was racing in through it up the tidal Old Bedford River.          Boat checked and ready.           Crew checked, life-jacketed and ready.           At about 9.30 along came the lock keeper on his...

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At and below sea level

 Wednesday          Stanground Lock is about a mile from Peterborough’s Embankment along the Stanground Back River. . Boaters need to book passage through this lock which lowers boats down to sea level. The lock keeper (like her father before her) adores her job and lives in a delightful house beside her lock. On locking through boat names and numbers are recorded, and in exchange a Middle Level Navigation Notes booklet and some fenland tourist information is handed to the boater.          It...

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Peterborough – it’s all in the timing…

          On Sunday morning it was an early departure from the pontoons in Ferry Meadows: across the lake, along the channel and a gentle turn out onto the Nene, heading for Peterborough.  At the Yacht Club a long row of cruisers were tied in front of an equally long row of wooden cabins. After Overton Lock came the canoe slalom and then it was a smooth broad cruise towards the city centre. Visit the city by car and there is...

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Fotheringhay – Wansford – Ferry Meadows

            Departure on Thursday morning was delayed when the Tentatrice Boat Dog decided he wanted to stay – for him it seemed far better to chase rabbits up and down the castle mound at Fotheringhay than to endure further deck duty!            First lock was Warmington Lock. Across the field at Warmington Mill the affluent in these parts come for their Fired Earth fix or to dream of an Aga installation.           Already the Nene Valley had seemed to change its...

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River Nene: onwards to Fotheringhay, slowly…

            Oundle to Fotheringhay is a mere 4 road miles but about 7 miles by river.             It was a slow departure from Oundle (on Tuesday) with time for one last wander past the town sign (note the long ago date of its market charter) and up into the pretty stone-built town.  Oundle sports a Waitrose and a Co-op on the outskirts, a Tesco Express by the market place, two charity shops (Age Concern and Oxfam, as in 2010) and just one...

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Tied up in Oundle

         The boat’s been having a holiday – no clocking up the miles, no banging about in locks, no sharp reverses to avoid bridges, boats or weirs, a whole week when the only cruising has been across the marina to the tap and back!           So what have the Cleddau and Tentatrice crews been up to? They’ve patronised the laundry block (£1 and 20p coins to buy time in the washing machines and tumble driers) and  after weeks afloat there is...

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The River Nene: Thrapston – Oundle

          The Middle Nene Sailing Club moorings just downstream from Thrapston (Sunday night’s mooring) have tall poles to tie up to, providing a safe berth in the case of high or fast running waters.           Local walkers, many with dogs, make the sailing lake a destination of choice. The club advertises itself as a family friendly place and just outside the Sailing Club grounds is Thrapston’s skate park and BMX track. The little town, a short walk away, was quiet...

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The Three Musketeers and the infamous bridge

(The River Nene: Irthlingborough to Thrapston)      On Sunday morning the Captain did a recce around the site behind the moorings at Irthlingborough. “There’s an event going on,” he reported. “They’ll never get in.”       However, guided by the Captain’s advice, the Three Musketeers talked their way past the car boot sale stewards and duly arrived beside Cleddau. Gifts they brought – fresh fruit from a local market, saffron and a decorated vase from Kashmir.       The boat crews and the...

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River Nene: Northampton – Irthlingborough

          “Plans are merely formalised wish lists” had been the conclusion drawn a few days ago. This watery venture (Macclesfield Canal to Bedford / Droitwich Spa to Bedford) had always been subject to weather, wind, water (enough/ too little/ too much), tides and healthy engines. Cleddau has had some electrical hiccups; on Friday morning it was Tentatrice’s turn for a mechanical hiccup….          During an unscheduled delay what does one do but go on a local walkabout? Northampton, it appears, now...

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Downhill to the River Nene

            A bit of observation from the towpath during Wednesday’s rain day at Blisworth suggested that boats would be able to turn round by Blisworth Tunnel Boats – a time benefit to both Cleddau and Tentatrice if return trips through the Blisworth Tunnel could be avoided. Overnight an email from Les Biggs reinforced the point: there’s a winding hole there, he said. Thanks, Les.           Crew members made odd forays out during the rains, Boatwif as ever with a camera in...