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Tour 2004

Index

22 - March to Harefield. Middle Level - Old Course of the River Nene, Whittlesey Dyke and Kings Dyke. River Nene. Northampton Arm and Grand Union Canal.

Saturday 12th June 2004

We shoved off at 07:50 and soon raised Peterborough Boat Centre (In Stanground Water), to check they had diesel. March (08:40). At Ashline Lock we passed The Chapman's in NB Frogmoore II, returning to their "home" port of Bill Fen Marina at Ramsey. We had pre booked Mr Rootham at Stanground Lock to let us out, but as usual we were later that anticipated. He dismissed false tales of his retirement! 
Out of Middle Level at 13:10 and within ten minutes we were at Peterborough Boat Centre getting diesel. There was a rushed ASDA stop in Peterborough, seeing as we had an 20:15 booking for a meal at the Falcon pub bistro at Fotheringhay. 
After a thrash up the Nene we introduced ourselves to the new guillotine gate "Spinning wheel" on the non electrified gates........the jury is still out on this novel "safe" method of raising the gates, Neil thought that two strong blokes could yank the old windlass type up quicker, but the wheel was probably quicker to get the gate down. 
After reasonable progress we were moored up just before the Fotheringhay Castle mound at 20:00. Neil got a bit irascible, managed to delay our meal booking by 15 minutes and had a shower. Meal was EXCEEDINGLY GOOD!!!....round 30 quid a head, but this including all drinks, water and three courses. 
We had not yet got caught for the 50% increased farmers mooring charges (3), so at 10:25 we shoved off, with the idea of getting through Perio Lock and spending the rest of the night on the lock landing, seeing as we were going off early the next day. Above Perio Lock at 11:05, refreshed after our blow out meal.

Sunday 13th June 2004

06:05 start, the usual TNC motor along the River Nene to get home, one day we may take it slowly to see this pretty river in more detail. The river free until Lifford, where we spotted a narrowboat leaving. We shared Wadenhoe Lock with NB Tisours from Titchmarsh Cruising Club, but lost them after this as they were just going back to Titchmarsh. We overtook a slow narrowboat above Cogenhoe, that pulled off from the Kings Head moorings, so above Titchmarsh Lock were were on our own. 
We shared Irthlingborough Lock with a small GRP cruiser, but they stopped on the visitor moorings. Next was the first of the modified, over-engineered, all pointy gate EA "swimming pools" - Higham Lock.............with a few lone swimmers in attendance. NO security on the paddle gear, so anyone could wind up the paddle bars by hand. 
The two Wellingborough Locks were "pointy gatified", the Lower was infested by balance beam licking horses and the top by friendly, spiffified lads. They were were no problem and actually did the gates for us. Wellingborough Lower had some experimental EA, totally encased rack paddle gear, that was rather faster than the slow oil encased worm type. 
At Doddington Lock - 17:05 we met up with NB Mary Jane (Sold off the Middle Level, owner moving up to Ventnor Farm Marina. Short cruiser deck, 2-cylinder Kelvin in engine room) We filled in the lock "Visitor Book" and were amused to hear of the tale kept quiet by John Chapman - he had to turn round to pick up his left behind Abloy Key!!! We were with NB Mary Jane until Cogenhoe Lock, where we both moored up on the field moorings (19:05) above the lock. 
That evening we had some simple fare to eat, seeing as it was too hot to eat. After that we went up the hill to the Royal Oak pub. Linda came out to meet us for a drink, seeing as we were nearing home. 

Monday 14th June 2004

Start at 06:40, no one about. Northampton at 09:10. Peter Wright had to go home for the afternoon / evening, so left just above the narrow Northampton Flight bottom Lock. Gayton Junction at 12:30. We caught up a terribly slow Canalcraft hire boat just after Blisworth (like out of gear for a lot of the time) and had a painful 45 minute passage through Blisworth Tunnel. They were going on down Stoke, so we stopped at 14:00......!!! 
That afternoon we were clocked by passing newsgroupy Chris and wife on NB Lincoln, so he stopped for a chat. They were taking their venerable SR2 powered NB up to York, on Trent tideway / Ouse.

Tuesday 15th June 2004

Brilliant sunny morning, left Stoke Bruerne Visitor Moorings at 06:45. By the time we had prepared Stoke top lock and entered another narrowboat came bowling up. After waiting we found that he was not going down due to "engine trouble". Neil grumpy, with head ache, so breathed a sigh of relief. So into top of Stoke at 07:00. Good run down, seeing as the hire boat full of teenagers, that came up late the night before had left up most of the top paddles! 
Out of the bottom at 07:45 and straight onto the water point for our final fill up. The pulling of paddles on stoke bottom meant a quick get away at 08:20. Between 10:45 and 11:15 we had A stop in Wolverton, in the shade, just past Bridge No 71, for a Tesco shop and to wait for Peter Wright's return. 
Below Stoke Hammond Lock we were clocked by the Jones's on NB "Keeping Up with the Jones's" A quick chat unmasked another TNC "groupie" who has been inspired to travel that "little bit further" after reading TNC Trip Reports. Spotted by James Griffin as we passed Wyvern Shipping Co and a quick salty narrowboating talk followed. TNC sad to report that we did NOT find "Ocean Princess" anchor, lost near the Lynn Channel!
Spotted the burnt out Narrowboat on the Leighton moorings, where the vagrant that broke in had died. Finally moored up for the night above Grove Lock 17:40). We met John Chapman in The Grove" pub where TNC crew were commandeered for "Ocean Princess" boat movements.

Wednesday 16th June 2004

Warm but overcast morning, so got off to a good start at 06:45. Still no one about and did not share any locks all the way up to Tring Summit (11:20). Peter Wright jumped ship in Tring Cutting, handy for Tring Station and ride back home. Cowroast at 12:20. 
A NB pulled off above Berko and shared a few locks down. Finally gave up for the night at 15:00 on The Old Mill moorings, meeting Debbie and Simon for a drink that evening. An earlyish start saw us back at Harefield the next evening.


Below Ashline Lock NB Earnest meets up with NB Frogmoore II again. John and Neil have a short natter. Whittlesey Dyke - Middle Level.


Higham Lock with bottom guillotine replaced by pointy gates. River Nene.


Higham Lock. River Nene.


Higham Lock. River Nene.


Higham Lock. River Nene.


Lower Irthlingborough Lock. Another with new pointy bottom gates. River Nene.


Lower Irthlingborough Lock. River Nene.


Lower Irthlingborough Lock. Encased rack paddle gear. River Nene.


Lower Irthlingborough Lock. River Nene.


Upper Irthlingborough Lock - another modified with pointy bottom gates. River Nene.


Rather large crayfish spotted in Kings Langley Lock. Grand Union Canal.

The Tour has finished.


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