Boatwif Blog

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Meteorological Spring

March 1st is the first day of meteorological spring, . For the Welsh-born boaters it was a day for flags. Remember Wales; remember St David. Despite it being merely meteorological spring (March 1st) rather than astronomical spring (March 20th) this St David’s Day was declared the day for a mid-morning picnic, with home made Welsh cakes, tea and coffee as refreshments. There was something rather Welsh about the damp in the air and puddles underfoot… But the catkins hinted of...

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Measuring via KitKat

Back in 2018 there had been a July road trip from Bedfordshire to Cheshire with the Cal Guys as passengers. “Remember how Grampy always had KitKats in the car?” Cal Guy mentioned in a FaceTime conversation before he and his sister flew to the UK for Christmas 2022. Perhaps KitKats aren’t available in his neck of the (Southern Californian) woods, but he remembers clearly the shape, the packaging and the taste of these simple little chocolate bars. A supply of...

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Season of treats and unexpected gifts

Since returning to land-living (three months ago now) some new and unexpected treats have come our way. The 2022 cruising season is remembered for those blazing day-time temperatures and hot nights, for the many river swimmers and paddle boarders, for the threat of low water levels, for the frustration of lock stoppages – and for the Captain’s increasing difficulty in moving around the boat. So this is a picture of an early Christmas present for the Captain – a new...

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Planes and views and thrills…

‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ wrote Keats, presumably with October in mind. For the Cleddau crew this October has developed into a ‘Season of trips and lunches in fresh air…’ First there was an outing to Shuttleworth for a trundle around the exhibits – aircraft, cars, buses, tractors and motorbikes – along with the Godmanchester Friends and US Don. The Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden Aerodrome in Bedfordshire  Old Warden Aerodrome, Old Warden in Bedfordshire, is a wonderful museum, where aircraft and...

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Destination Crick

Gayton Junction to Crick Marina: 17½ miles, 14 locks When transferring from a lock-heavy stretch of narrow canal to a lock-free broad canal a boater might expect swifter travel times. But, as far as the Grand Union goes, “it ain’t necessarily so…”  There are many moored up boats, some looking as if they’ve not moved in a while (!) and others that are passing through, possibly between Birmingham to the north and London in the south. The Grand Union is...

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To Northampton… and beyond

White Mills Marina to Gayton Junction: 13 miles, 25 locks Many boaters have spoken highly about White Mills Marina – and two nights moored there were no disappointment. This marina is less than ten years old and facilities are all of a high standard. There’s a café where the Captain couldn’t resist sampling his second only cooked breakfast of the cruise (Boatwif’s breakfast)  – and good it was too. Boaters can book use of the washing machine and dryer, pontoons...

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 Onwards and upwards

                 Oundle Marina – Thrapston – Irthlingborough – Doddington – White Mills:                                                           27 miles, 18 locks During the extended stay at Oundle Marina retaining a car there had been a good decision: day trips, supermarkets, an overnight trip home to check mail and the state...

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Meanwhile… (03)

Oundle Marina: 0 miles, 0 locks To summarise – the crew of nb Cleddau left Bedford on 28th July, heading for Crick Marina, a distance of some 170 miles. The trip has involved 57½ miles along the Great Ouse to Denver Sluice, then a transfer via a short stretch of tidal water to the Middle Levels to reach Peterborough (29½ miles) and the River Nene. All was going well until, 39½ miles up the Nene, a chance remark on 14th...

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Meanwhile…(2)

Back to Oundle Marina on Saturday – the news was good, the closure notice on Irthlingborough Lock (16½ miles and 9 locks ahead) having been rescinded. Stick to the plan, let other boats get ahead, avoid the weekend, set off on Monday – that was the decision. To reduce the complication of taxi, train and car travel between marina and home the Captain asked to leave a vehicle at Oundle Marina. Then, once the river route was open, Cleddau would...

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Meanwhile…

Thrapston – Oundle 8¼ miles, 4 locks With progress through Irthlingborough Lock impossible until Saturday 27th August at the earliest what was to be done? Cleddau had managed to turn round at Stanwick Lakes to head back downstream, through both the Ringstead and the Woodford locks. Under the Nine Arches Bridge – and on to Islip Lock where the guillotine gate squeaks and groans as it rises. Would there be a mooring space beside the Middle Nene Sailing Club? Yes,...