Thursday, 24 April 2008

Caravans and swan's.

10 locks, 9 miles, Now moored at Cogenhoe on the River Nene

We knew that we were in for a long day today to get through Northampton. The morning started with light rain which cleared up by late morning. The first port of call was just above Northampton town lock on the Nene (pronounced Nen by the locals) for Morrisons supermarket which was only a 5 minute walk away. Once the shopping was safely stowed aboard it was time to try our hand at these Nene locks. Once through the town lock we called in at Becket park to fill the water tanks and use the free pump out facilities.

Northampton 010

Northampton 016

The first couple of locks were strange looking as the gate only extends up to water level and the rest is just open framework which gives the appearance of being able to pass right through the lock gates. Of course the best was yet to come in the shape of the guillotine locks which are something unique to the Environmental Agencies. The top gates are standard gates with the bottom gate being an electrically operated guillotine gate which has to be left open. It just means that going towards Peterborough the locks are empty and against us but they are quick to fill.

Prior to Billing Aquadrome marina there is a huge camping ground which caters for permanent vans as well as normal towable caravans and motorhome's in an area that we both considered to be the biggest motorcamp we have ever seen. From what we could see there were 3 facility blocks in just the casual camping area alone. In the permanent van area contractors were busy expanding the site to take, at a guess, up to another 100 vans.

At one point along the river we spotted some swan's on the river but as we turned a bend in the river we spied a farmers crop paddock literally full of swan's eating and decimating the farmers crop. At a rough count I counted 45 swan's in an area not much bigger than a rugby football pitch.

We finally reached our destination for the day at the open field moorings at Cogenhoe just above the Cogenhoe lock. Early in the evening a hot air balloon was spotted somewhere off towards Northampton.

1093 locks, 1408½ miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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