Sunday, 29 June 2008

Return to market Harborough

10 Locks, 9 Miles and 1 swing bridge. Now Moored at Market Harborough.

The plan for the day was an 8am start as it would only take us about 45 minutes to reach the top of the Foxton flight. This went according to plan and along the way we dumped the remainder of the possibly contaminated water we had picked up at Watford and Stowehill. The problem was that upon arrival at the water points at the top of the flight we found 2 Canaltime boats moored up with all their curtains drawn.We pulled in front and behind these boats and as we went past them, in very clear loud voices let these people know that it was time to get up and MOVE. Luckily our hoses reached our boats but of course we were actually on the lock moorings which caused queuing
boats to wait back around the bend. Once we were all tanked up again with clean fresh water we booked in with the lockie and we entered the top lock around 10.50am.Since we last visited Foxton there has been a lot of work done in the shape of a Bronze horse and boy statue, many informative plaques for the hoards of visiting tourists and a new seating area at the top lock made from timber and bricks from the London canal area.
All in all it is very impressive. 45 minutes later and clear of the locks we then had to deal with the new pedestrian swing bridge across the beginning of the Market Harborough arm. On our last visit the bridge was in place but had not been commissioned as the surrounding area had not been completed. The next swing bridge is still padlocked open after being hit by a vehicle some time ago. The repairs were supposed to have been completed by this week but at this stage they still haven't been started.
One of several bronze plaques with canal history.
Bronze statue of a working horse and boat boy.

As it is a different season of the year to our last visit the scenery along the Arm was just as interesting as our first visit.
As we had suspected moorings at the public 48 hour moorings were at a premium being a fine week-end and there was just one slot available so Kalimera went into the basin proper and moored on the Canaltime pontoons at £5 a night.Later we wandered into town before the shops shut for a few bits and pieces and I wandered off the the End Peg fishing tackle shop for some wire traces, carp hooks and spinners. The proprietor asked if I was likely to be on the Leeds and Liverpool canal in about 3 weeks to which I replied no. It transpires there is a National championship competition being held there on the (don't quote me on this) second or third Saturday in July and there will be 540, yes, 540 anglers so BE WARNED.
They don't want too many boats on the move that day. Any queries contact the End Peg website.
This one is deep. Watch out for the water!
HELP! Who pinched the canal?
We will now spend the rest of the week-end here and carry on moving North on Monday.
1254 locks, 1819 miles, 43 Tunnels, 42 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Welford Revisited

2 Locks, 8 Miles, 1 tunnel. Now moored between bridges 50 & 51 Leicester Line.

Welford Canal Basin

Some of the crew on both boats were rudely awoken at about 5am by a passing boat with an old fashioned engine which was apparently quite noisy. As for me I slept like a baby through the whole thing. However it made for an early departure with the idea of calling into Welford at the end of the Welford Arm as the crew on Kalimera had never been there.

Gypsy Rover moored for lunch at Welford

Except for the odd patch which may have been cleared by fishermen the towpath was seriously overgrown and in need of some TLC. We reached Welford by mid morning which allowed us all time to wander around and take in the sight's. After lunch we set off back down the Welford Arm with some ominous looking black clouds gathering on the horizon. We hoped that we were moving in the opposite direction to the clouds but that was not to be. After we had passed through the Husband Bosworth tunnel we came up behind a very slow boat and it started to rain so at the first opportunity we pulled in and moored up for the day about 2 ½ miles short of the Foxton flight.

Interesting wood sculpture in an old tree trunk in Welford.

Click on the photos for a closer look at the fox, squirrel, woodpecker and the owl.

At one stage we lost sight of Kalimera who following behind us today. After we had moored up Derek told us that the Canaltime boat that we had passed as we exited the tunnel had entered the tunnel and in trying to get past him had jammed both boats together in a narrow section of the tunnel. Needless to say Derek was not a happy chappie but luckily no serious damage was done.

1244 locks, 1814 miles, 43 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 27 June 2008

Tesco's delivery

0 Locks, 8 ½ Miles. Now moored above bridge 37 Grand Union Leicester Line.

Today was going to be a wait and see day. First off was the Tesco delivery scheduled between 10am and noon. We had given them our phone number in case they had trouble finding us but the reception here in Crick is absolute rubbish so we just had to keep a watchful eye open for the truck. By 11am Dot had gone up onto the road bridge which was a wise move as she spotted him coming out of the marina where they apparently do quite a few deliveries. The driver had gone in there by mistake. After getting the goodies stowed away it was time for lunch.

Early this afternoon I came out onto the stern deck to find a fisherman had set himself up just behind the boat and was fishing the patch I have fished for the last 2 nights. I had baited up the patch with good results, several Roach and Bream in the 2lb - 3lb bracket, but all this poor guy could catch was tiddlers many of which hadn't been hooked but just hanging onto the maggot bait. He did manage a small Perch, possibly 1lb in weight but that was all. I must admit I did have a quiet chuckle to myself over his demise.

The second wait and see problem was the owner from Leather Lounge in Nuneaton who was going to replace the faulty base for one of the recliner chairs we bought back in March. He said that he would be over some time around 3pm so I walked up onto the bridge to await his arrival. It worked out quite well as he spotted me as he drove across the bridge. Once the bases had been swapped we were free to move.

Cracks Hill just north of Crick

After a quick chat with Derek and Christina and we set off to see how far we could go in a couple of hours as it was still a fine afternoon at this stage. At around 6pm we tried several times to moor up but the banks were so shallow we had no show of mooring so just kept going. Just after our first attempt to moor it started to drizzle with rain so we had several more attempts at mooring without success. Eventually we found this spot where there are already 4 boats moored so we thought that we might also be successful, and indeed we were. It was just as well because since we got here the rain has been getting steadily worse and it is now really heavy.

Damage to a bridge on the Leicester Line together with unkempt towpaths
shows the level of maintenance that is being shelved through lack of funds.

1242 locks, 1806 miles, 42 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Are there any Kiwi's left in New Zealand??

Still moored at Crick.

This morning was an early start to enable us to catch the 7.53am bus to Rugby from the village. We had a 15 minute walk to the bus stop so we left the boat at 7.30am to ensure we were at the stop in plenty of time. While waiting for the bus a large 6 axle articulated truck (lorry) stopped alongside us and the driver who no speaka da english wanted directions to the local abattoir. Sorry pal we're only tourists around here.

We had to pay for the bus into Rugby, £5.20,  as it was outside the permitted times to use our bus passes but you win some, you lose some. Once in Rugby our first job was to walk down to Clifton Cruisers to pick up our mail. Paul must have seen us coming as he met us at the door with mail in hand, thanks Paul very much appreciated. While chatting he told us that he was having a good season with only 1 small boat available at present.

Rather than walk back up the hill which is a long drag to town we caught another bus where we were permitted to use our bus passes. As the bus picked up more passengers en route it became clear that this was what I cheekily called the benefit bus because not 1 passenger paid the driver, merely showed their pensioner bus passes as they entered and the bus finished up over half full.

Next stop was the doctors surgery for our six monthly check up and renewal of prescriptions. Another clear bill of health and it was off to the Mall to get our prescriptions from Boots while Dot had a much needed hair cut. After all this gallivanting town we were in need of some sustenance so it was off to BB's for lunch.

Back on the boat we were having a much needed cuppa when there was knock on the boat and we answered to find Graeme and Louise Pullar from N/b Faith. It turns out that they too are what they call "Kiwi's on the Cut" They spend 7 months of the year on their boat and 5 months back in NZ. Nice if you can do it.  During our chat they were commenting on the amount of Kiwi's they have met on the cut to which we added our list of NZ contacts and we were beginning to wonder if there are any Kiwi's left back in NZ because there seems to be a hell of a lot over here just on the cut, let alone land based. I hope the last Kiwi to leave remembers to turn the light's off. Hee hee, chuckle.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Congestion on the Watford flight.

7 Locks 5 Miles 1 Tunnel. Now moored at Crick.

When we set off this morning there had already been a couple of boats go through early but we thought that they would be well clear of the Watford flight by the time we reached it. Wrong! We arrived at the bottom of the flight behind one other boat who was in no hurry to ascend the flight so that put us at the head of the queue. As I went off to find the lock keeper there were 2 boats in the process of ascending the flight and 1 descending on hold in the pound below the top lock. I booked in with the lock keeper and she said that she would come down and see us after she had worked out the movements as she had 2 more waiting at the top.

One of the ascending boats was unsure of what to do and was dithering around causing undue delay. Eventually the lock keeper arrived and called us up the first 2 locks because she needed to let water down into the bottom pound which leaks. At this stage I think she got herself a bit confused because she let us and Kalimera go up the main flight while still having 1 boat on hold in the top pound. Still, she is the boss and what she says goes. The lady on the top boat came down and complained about the undue hold up as she was told that only 3 boats would come up, not 4 which held them up even longer. By the time we cleared the flight there were 3 boats waiting at the top and we were told that there were 4 at the bottom so madam lock keeper was going to be a very busy lady.

The trip through Crick tunnel was slow due to a hire boat in front of us but the tunnel wasn't too bad as far as water seepage from above was concerned. We are now moored close to the new marina extensions that recently opened and are handy to the road for a Tesco delivery on Thursday morning.

It was noted that the towpaths were badly overgrown and don't appear to have been touched since contractors cut the grass at the beginning of Spring. It was only the stretch through Weedon where somebody had taken the trouble to trim the grass back.

1242 locks, 1797½ miles, 42 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Deltic's and Idiot's

7 locks, 12 Miles Now moored at Norton Junction/Leicester line.

We were under way by 8 am this morning as we had a long haul ahead of us. As we passed Nether Heyford we could see several caravans and tents in the corner of a farmer's paddock. As we got closer we could see people to-ing and fro-ing with shovels and wheelbarrows and it turned out to be an archeological dig as we could see what appeared to be building foundations.

Anyone know what it is all about?

At Weedon we pulled in for water which took quite a long time as the pressure wasn't that good. Along the way we met up with more Kiwi boat's, Tane Mahuta which we have seen several times before but minus the crew, Kotare and Kiwi spelt KI_WI. Christina on Kalimera commented that the UK was being taken over by the Kiwi's. Who better to invade this place.

Kotare (NZ) Maori word for Kingfisher

Tane Mahuta (NZ) Maori word for "Lord of the Forest" (Tane Mahuta)
is a huge Kauri Tree in Waipoua Forest in Northland New Zealand

As we approached the Buckby flight we came parallel with the Motorway or at least I thought it was except I saw a Deltic diesel loco, possible D9000 or D9009 travelling North at a good speed. I had to do a double take to see that it was actually on the back of a low loader transporter. I was beginning to think that the Government had finally seen the light and was scrapping motorways in favour of railways. We can but dream.

We stopped at Whilton marina for a few bits and pieces and had lunch before launching ourselves at the Buckby flight.

Another burn out narrowboat on the Grand Union Canal. Awaiting removal by BW perhaps? Hope no one was hurt, havent heard anything concerning it.

Unfortunately 4 other boats had the same idea so we had to wait third in the queue. We only had the pleasure of 2 separate boats heading south so 5 out of the 7 locks were set against us. As we worked up the 6th lock we were aware of the police surveillance helicopter circling a boat in the pound ahead of us. This boat was a privately owned boat crewed by about 8 teenagers of equal sexes and they were doing everything that was against safe boating practices. Two youth's were hanging off the side of the hull with their legs somewhere in the vicinity of the propeller while it was engaged in gear and moving. In general they were just being absolute idiots. It gave us cold shivers up our spines to think that either of these youths could be seriously hurt or even killed.

Once through the lock we passed this boat as it pulled in to moor up and the youngsters spoke to us and appeared quite oblivious to the danger that they may have put themselves in. We virtually jumped the queue to get into the last lock ahead of these guys but we just wanted to put a safety margin between us and them. At the top lock some BW staff were in the workmen's shed so we informed them of what had taken place and they took it upon themselves to go and talk some sense into these youngsters.

Once clear of the lock we had to go through the junction onto the Leicester line before we could find a mooring for the night.

1235 locks, 1792½ miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Back on the Cut

23 Locks 13 Miles. Now moored close to Gayton Junction, Grand Union Canal.

Yesterday was a very uneventful day as we covered 10 locks in 12 miles from the Rushton & Diamond sports centre to Cogenhoe. This put us in a good position to clear Northampton without having to stop there. We had so many unfavourable reports about staying in Northampton that the general consensus was to avoid the place.

This morning we set off at 7am in drizzly rain with the intention of perhaps stopping somewhere out of town part way up the Northampton flight. The main thing was to get off the river Nene as there is a lot of rain forecast for this week-end and we had no desire to be trapped on a flooded river again. So much for Summer!

Back on the Grand Union Northampton flight we soon got a rhythm flowing and with the help of a couple of boats coming down the flight we soon cleared the top lock. Even wearing water proof clothing I still finished up just as wet inside as out due to getting up a good sweat running backwards and forwards between the locks to speed up our passage. Dot on the other hand was decidedly dry wearing her new wet weather gear purchased at the East of England Show in Peterborough. Must keep a look out for another jacket for me. In fact we made good time and were moored up at Alvechurch boats for diesel and a gas tank by 1.30pm.

We took on 137 litres of diesel at 96p per litre and a new gas tank but Derek on Kalimera got the biggest shock when he took on 178 litre's when his tank supposedly only holds 180 litres, a bit too close for comfort but I suspect his tank may actually hold a wee bit more than stated. It could have been a case of hitching a tow.

Due to the noisy motorway close by we opted to move on even though Christina and I were both physically exhausted after doing the 13 locks up the flight. Once we turned onto the main line at Gayton Junction it was like driving out of a country lane straight onto the motorway. The first 2 bridges created traffic jams with boats in the opposite direction causing up to 4 boats to stop to allow them right of way.

Just as a foot note to our time out on the Fens, the Nene and the Great Ouse we thoroughly enjoyed the scenery, the history and the little villages un-spoilt by time. It also amazed us as to the total under utilisation of these waterways by boaters. We travelled such great distances and yet saw so few other boats on the move. There were plenty of boats tucked up in marina's but few went anywhere. The Environmental Agency are to be congratulated for the superb mooring sites that were built to accommodate the boats for last years IWA festival at St Ives and are now available for posterity.

Good News! Bedford and Milton Keynes Trust secure some funding through a lottery's grant. Must be good, at least we'll know where its going! Once built this might encourage more boaters to use these lovely waterways.

1228 locks, 1780½ miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 20 June 2008

Blustery conditions.

6 Locks 8 Miles Now moored at Rushton and Diamond Sport Centre,Irthlingborough.

If it hadn't been for the wind, today would have been a beautiful day for cruising but the blustery wind made locking manoeuvres tricky. Entering the lock's under power to be able to maintain a straight line and having to use the ropes to reach the pontoons upon leaving the lock's to wait for the crew made life difficult to say the least.

Stanwick Lakes Assault Course in Irthlingborough alongside the River Nene

Except for one other boat and just a handful of fishermen today we had the river to ourselves. We made good time and upon reaching Irthlingborough lock we found EA staff carrying out some maintenance and lock clearing. They had fished out 2 bicycles which presumably had fouled the gates.

A photo of beautiful thatched cottages in Elton taken a couple of days ago

1195 locks, 1755½ miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Swan Rescue

5 Locks, 12 miles now moored at Islip 48hr moorings

With the weather forecast showing doom and gloom for this afternoon we opted for an early start to hopefully beat the onset of wind and rain. We said farewell to Bill and Pam on N/b 'Pickle' but everybody else appeared to still be in slumberland so we just had to make do and send them text messages after we had left.

When we reached the first lock we found we had a problem in the form of a swan cygnet in the lock with the rest of the family above the lock. It appeared to have been swept over the top of the lock gate which is like a weir with water pouring over it and of course it couldn't get back. We stayed at the back of the lock leaving the cygnet in front of us but it panicked and nearly drowned under the flow of water coming over the gates. The next thing I saw was a half drowned cygnet trying to swim down between the lock wall and the boat. I managed to push the boat away from the wall so that it could get past without getting squashed but then it shot out of the lock before Dot had had a chance to fully lower the guillotine gate. It was now well and truly separated from it's parents and as such wouldn't stand much chance of survival on its own, what to do now?

Once the lock had filled we pulled the boats out of the lock and Dot lured the rest of the swan family into the lock with food. We shut the gates behind them and we could see the parents were not too keen on this but once we started to drain the lock there was no way back and they seemed to settle down and accept what was happening. As soon as Dot had opened the guillotine gate high enough the swans rapidly left the lock but the funny thing was that the isolated cygnet seemed oblivious to the fact that the rest of the family had now joined him and he just carried on as if nothing was wrong. Eventually he did spot the others and rapidly swam back to rejoin them. Now I think there is a message there somewhere for children, don't play around locks, they are dangerous.

After this little bit of animal rescue the rest of the cruise was pretty mundane except for the wind which was getting stronger by the minute. The rain never got worse than light showers but the wind was making locking manoeuvres difficult so by the time we reached our present location it was just about lunchtime so we decided to call it a day and moor up for the night.

Ilford Hall, Home of
Baron Ilford aristocrat and member of Parliament , on the banks of the River Nene close to Wadenhoe

1189 locks, 1747½ miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Re-union at Ashton lock.

5 Locks, 7 ½ miles now moored at Ashton Lock

Today's cruise was going to be an easy day so there was no great hurry to get started. There were plenty of fishermen out again today but the river is plenty wide enough so they caused no problems. We made Ashton lock in time for lunch and there were plenty of moorings available.

Fotheringhay Church

During the course of the afternoon we were joined by Pam and Bill of N/b 'Pickles' who we had met at Ferry Meadows, next to arrive was N/b 'Densie' with Mike and Denise who we had travelled with last year down the Grand Union to London. Mike and Denise went for a walk into Oundle so Dot joined them. While they were away Dick and Jane on Nb 'The Chequered Flag' arrived, we have met these good folk several times at Weedon and they were very helpful with information about our visit to the Nene, Fens and Ouse. In fact the whole evening has been one big re-union.

1184 locks, 1735 ½ miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Where have all the fishes gone???

5 Locks, 12 ½ miles now moored at Elton

Our mooring at Ferry Meadows last night

Today has been a day of hold ups and hindrances. We set off at 8.15 thinking that we would be moored up by lunchtime, huh fat chance. The first lock we reached was being used by a couple that had only had their boat 3 months and this was their first experience at locking. They slowed us down a bit but not as bad as the next hold up.

It was the Environmental Agencies fishery research team doing a fish survey on a 200 yard stretch of river. They had 4 nets stretched out across the river, 1 at each end of the section of river and 2 that they dragged down the river to catch what ever was in this stretch of water. Needless to say we had to hove too until they had finished which took about an hour. I went and had a look to see what they had caught as each net was pulled in and it was very disappointing. The first net had a Pike of about 7 - 8 lb, a Tench of about 2lb and a Perch of less than 1/2lb and about 30 sprats mainly roach. The second net was even worse with only 30 - 40 sprats. Not exactly encouraging for the fisherman. Once underway again we encountered a never ending line of fisherman who I felt like telling that they were wasting their time after what we had just seen. We did see one guy land a reasonable sized Carp but that was all.

At Yarwell lock we planned to fill the water tanks as there is a water point above the lock. This was where hold up No3 arose. We were just about to exit the lock when 2 narrowboats arrived from the opposite direction and they went straight onto the water point, damn! We then had to wait in the lock for nearly 30 minutes until they had finished. This time wasn't lost as we had our lunch while waiting. After some discussion it was decided to swap over with a 1 out, 1 in manoeuvre which was the simplest way of doing things as there is not much space between the lock, weir and water point.

Wansford Station on the Nene Valley railway now has a new mooring
(for your info Sue it is now open)

Beautiful Water Eaton Lock cottage

We finally reached our overnight mooring 2 hours later than expected but it had been a busy sort of day.

1179 locks, 1728 miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Monday, 16 June 2008

Fishing season opens.

1 Lock, 4 miles now moored at Overton Lake, Ferry Meadows

After a bit of last minute shopping and an early lunch we left Peterborough for the last time, any returns here will have to be by bus or train. We only had a short trip to undertake so there was no hurry. Along the way we found fisherman staking their claims to their favourite fishing spots and getting ready for 3pm and the first cast of the season.

As we exited the only lock, 2 narrowboats approached in the opposite direction so we were able to leave the lock open for them. It was strange coming off the river and motoring across a man made lake. We found the moorings were floating pontoons and there was only one available so Kalimera went in first and we have breasted up against them. Since then 2 boats have left and we did find another single mooring further round the lake but we decided just to stay put for the night.

We have been for a walk around the lake which is 1 of 3 lakes here.They all are used for different activities such as sailing and boating, fishing and mooring facilities. There is a vast expanse of parkland with a kiddies playground, walkways. hire boats, 2 restaurants and a miniature train ride which is about half a mile end to end. Being a fine Sunday this was doing a roaring trade. There is plenty of open spaces for ball games and even kite flying.

When the lakes were being quarried for roading material the site of an old Roman settlement was uncovered and this has been saved and documented.

1174 locks, 1715½ miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

East of England show.

Still moored at Peterborough

Saturday was going to be a busy day for us. We started off by walking to the bus station where we caught the open top bus to the show grounds at Alwalton for the East of England agricultural show. The bus itself was a rarity being an old Routemaster of approx; 30 years of age. As we boarded the bus the first people we saw were Sue and Vic on N/b No Problem, along with Ann and Chas plus 3 dogs, they had caught the train to Peterborough and then the bus. The bus trip only took about 20 minutes dropping us at the main gate of the show.

Once in the gate it was a case of where to look first. As it turned out the Royal Artillery Motorcycle stunt team were just about to start the first performance of the day so that's where we started . As well as precision and formation riding they also performed a 13 man pyramid on 5 motorbikes and then 3 riders took turns to jump over cars starting with 1 and finishing with 4.

Next came the Shire horse's beautifully adorned with immaculate Brewer's dray's and the like in tow. Magnificent animals doing what they do best. This was followed by ponies and traps of various sizes.

While heading off towards the giant steaming traction engines, road roller and fair ground engines we found the vintage car section with 70 to 80 cars of all makes and models on show. A 1950 Ford Anglia even had the original car dealers advertising inside it on display. The new price for the car in those days was £297 but the average weekly wage in those days might have only been £15. As well as the full size traction engines there were a couple of working miniatures perhaps about 1/4 scale correct right down to the smallest detail. Two machines were busy running a saw mill and a hay bailing machine. The saw mill really made the traction engine strain as the saw bit into the log's being fed onto it. There was also traditional fair ground caravans from the steam era and a beautifully restored fairground organ belting out some fantastic music. Made the hair on the back of my neck curl.

As well as all this was the most important part of the show as far as rural folk were concerned, that was all the latest tractors and machinery. For the city folk there was the display of all the vintage tractors and machinery showing how things used to be down and how primitive early agricultural machinery used to be.

Among the exhibitors caravans and motor homes we found 2 ex military trucks of WWII vintage. Upon closer examination we found that they too had been converted into motor homes and one was adorned with rally plaques going back nearly 40 years.

Of course there was the live stock where farmers could check out potential new breeding stock and city folk to get up close and personal with sheep, pigs cattle, horses and alpaca's. It has been found that running a couple of the latter beastie's in a flock of lambing sheep reduces the number of lambs lost to predators such as foxes.

There were so many trade stands that we didn't have a hope of getting to them all and we had to catch the 3.30 bus back to town as we were going out to dinner with my cousin and family. All in all a brilliant day out.

1173 locks, 1711½ miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Back in Peterborough.

1 Lock, 6 miles now moored at Peterborough

As today was market day in Whittlesey the girls went to see what was on offer but were back on board very quickly as the market only consisted of 5 stalls. We had read that this market was of no great consequence due to its proximity to Peterborough.

Even though we were not booked to go through Stanground lock until 2pm we set off just after 11am which gave us plenty of time.The weather was slightly better than yesterday but there was a chilly wind blowing. It was an uneventful cruise and we reached Stanground lock just after 12.30. Madam lock keeper was already on hand and she was quite happy for us to go straight through. We learnt that she had taken over the job from her father who had done the job for 55 years and at 77 years of age he was still on hand helping his daughter. It also transpired that she had lots of cousins living in New Zealand. Their parents had emigrated to NZ but once the children were old enough Mum and Dad returned to Peterborough because Dad missed the football (soccer). Obviously not a Rugby man.

We have a busy week-end ahead of us with the Saturday market first on the list, followed by a visit to the East of England Show ( copy cat Sue) and then going out to dinner with my cousin Pam and family. Sunday we will move up to Ferry Meadows to see what the moorings are like up there. It's just as well we are settled in for the night as it is now pouring with rain, I hope this doesn't create more flooding and disrupt our plans again!

1173 locks, 1711½ miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 13 June 2008

What happened to Summer?

1 Lock, 11 miles now moored at Manor Leisure Centre, Whittlesey

When we pulled out of March the weather was fine but cooler than it has been for the last few days. Once out of town we could see the forecasted rain clouds amassing on the horizon which became more threatening as the day wore on. We pushed on hoping that we would be moored up before the rain arrived but that was not to be. We managed about 8 miles before the first light rain arrived but on its tail was a real filthy dirty black cloud that we could see was giving the land in its path a good drenching. We were unable to outrun this cloud so by the time we reached the 20 foot drain we were getting a good down pour. Luckily this didn't last too long and we made Whittlesey in the dry.

The Butter Cross formerly the Market Cross in Whittlesey

The moorings at the leisure centre are only big enough for 2 boats and there was already 1 boat in residence so we have had to breast up. It has narrowed the channel but there is still room for a wide beam to pass.

The old fire station with the council offices between the two doors

All along the way over the last 2 days we have seen where fisherman have been down to the river clearing their favourite fishing holes in readiness for Monday's opening of the new fishing season. Some have even put up sign's stating "No Mooring, site for fishing only 16th June". I was very tempted to stop and amend the signs or even hide them but I was told to behave myself.

Tomorrow is market day here so the girls will wander across the leisure centre grounds before we leave for our booking through Stanground Lock at 2pm.

1172 locks, 1705½ miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006