It has rained most of today, the river levels are up and Yarwell Lock has been closed by the Environment Agency (EA). Passing boaters have told us that Peterborough moorings/services are under a foot of water....
An April showers may come your way...,, and they certainly have, I just hope that those 'roses in May' put in an appearance as claimed...
In the morning, Graham, Jill, Me and the four dogs travelled by car to the village of Alwalton, just a few miles south along the A1. We parked the car up and walked back along the river to Wansford Station and the moored boats.
The river levels are up though navigation is still open and after lunch just as we approached the end of our 48hr stay on the moorings at Wansford Station we slipped away in sunshine heading just a little downstream to moorings at Alwalton. We slipped away in sunshine, sunglasses on but before we had travelled a couple of hundred yards the wind started gusting and the rain clouds gathered.
Looking downstream from Alwalton lock on our morning visit to the village to 'dump' the car.
The mill stream leading to Castor Mill
An impromptu paddle -- as usual!
Baxter leads Graham over a bridge on our morning walk back to the boats
Sunshine and water meadows and happy romping dogs
Water coming over the lock gates at Water Newton lock
Passing the pollarded willows on the river banks, darkened skies and sunlight foliage
Heading downstream and fighting a strong wind
Destination reached, moored up on the by water at Alwalton lock
This should make a 'soothing' sound to sleep by..
Two boats, snug as a bug
Once we were safely moored up Jill phoned the Cuckoo Inn in Alwalton village to see if they were 'dog friendly' - they're not - so we took the boys across the lock into the water meadow for another 20 minute romp before leaving them on their respective boats and taking ourselves into the village and a welcome pint of Doombar.
Castor windmill framed by willows with a backdrop of dramatically darkened sky
Yesterday morning there was a quick phone call from the Yarwood crew to the MR crew
'How do you feel about staying here today?' it went.. and the answer came 'Too right!'..
We were being lashed by rain and river looked like it should have a beach for the waves to crash on to. This weather front was forecast to stay all day and as we were on a perfectly good and secure mooring we stayed.
I spent the morning reading my latest book and browsing through some blogs I rarely read; one such blog made my teeth grind a bit and left me awestruck at some people's ready capacity for scoffing at others... but there you go, there will always be arrogant know-it-all's with too much confidence in their own worth and opinions but I don't have to read their pronouncements ...
In the afternoon Joe went into Oundle with Jill and Graham and I took the dogs out when the rain took a tea break, going out along the Nene Valley Railway line towards Water Newton and returning along the river path.
Walking along the permissive path by the goods waggons
Returning back along the river path
Yarwood and MR sharing a mooring for one..
Yarwood from the steps leading to the railway bridge over the river
After our four day sojourn at Fotheringhay we pulled pins late morning. Joe had wanted to do the first oil change on Yarwood's main engine at 100 hours and we were just about to reach that point..
Oil changed, Jill went off to deposit their car somewhere en route and I set off twenty minutes ahead of the boats to walk the dogs along the Nene Way to our first two locks.
As I arrived at the first of the locks, Warmington, another narrowboat was approaching also going downstream. This not being a motorised lock meant that if the lock was going to be ready for 'my' boats I would have to set to and set it for the approaching boat.
I wound down the guillotine gate, the approaching boat sat back and watched.
I opened the gate paddles to fill the lock, the approaching boat sat back and watched
With the lock almost full, they moored on the lock landing and I 'encouraged' a crew member to join me. By the time we had got them into the lock Yarwood and Matilda Rose had arrived.
One boat out, I prepped the lock again and once MR and Yarwood were in safely in I left Jill to finish the lock while I set off across country towards Elton and our next lock.
Elton lock done, the dogs and I stepped on to Yarwood's tug deck and had a lift to Yarwell Mill lock and an appointment with a water tap!
Following MR downstream from Elton lock
Breasted up on the water point and filling both boats water tanks
The water point at Yarwell Mill lock is on the lock landing so we breasted up and filled up before prepping the lock and moving off again.. There is a large caravan site here and a number of boats, mainly narrowboats, moored hereabouts.
I stayed on board after Yarwell, we only had one more lock, that of Wansford, before slipping under the Great North Road (A1) and heading into Cambridgeshire and our mooring for the night.
Under the beautiful stone bridge at Wansford
Heading south again behind MR
Anglian Water's pumping station at Wansford, current extracting large amounts of water from the R. Nene and pumping it to the reservoir at Rutland Water.
Approaching the Nene Valley Railway signal box and station at Wansford (a heritage steam railway) where there is a 48hr mooring.
Moored up securely on the pontoon. A bit short for two narrowboats but we have managed..
Room with a view...from the front deck yesterday evening..
Well our weekend visitors have left us, going off back to Colchester just after lunch today. Joe and I then set about cutting up the remaining logs that had been lying on the deck, stowing everything away and getting Yarwood tidied up a bit. Chores done, I then took Floyd and Fletcher out for their second walk ahead of the promised rain which has now arrived.
Yesterday we had set out on a circular walk, Abby, Wardy, Joe and I and the dogs, heading across the fields and water meadows to the Warminster lock and skirting the Warminster Water Mill.
The meandering River Nene from the Motte at Fotheringhay
Our moorings from the bridge
Warminster Mill, now a shop for Fired Earth and Aga
From Warminster we walked the public footpaths to the village of Elton where we slipped into the local inn, The Crown, dogs very welcome, and had a pint or two. As we left to complete our circuit to Fotheringhay the heavens opened but by the time we had got back to the boat we were best part dry again. A meal was hurriedly prepped and thrown into the oven before we all settled down to watch the Bahrain Grand Prix which was a bit of a damp Squibb after the Chinese outing! The evening was rounded off with a visit to The Falcon, and a gentle stroll back to the boat/B&B by torchlight - no street lighting hereabouts...
Some places are just so lovely and Fotheringhay must rate as one of our favourite moorings. Two years ago when we first headed out this way we stayed at Fotheringhay for 16 days! The moorings are private and owned by the local farmer who charges £4 a night to moor but the views are stunning, the walking excellent and the Caravan Club CL site just up the hill on the same farmer's land has a sanitation point and recycling facilities. We are only staying for four nights this time - providing the water levels behave themselves - before moving off slowly towards Peterborough where we plan to be for next weekend.
St. Mary and All Saints Fotheringhay from across the river
Yesterday was a day for visitors. We had our friend Gloria come out from Market Deeping to see us, bringing her friend Irene. Yarwood was inspected and then I subjected our visitors to a lunch of stuffed portabello mushrooms shortly after which they left... ?
A hour later Joe's daughter Abby, and partner Wardy, arrived from Colchester. They have booked into the Castle Farm B&B (the Farmer's sister's establishment) for the weekend. Yesterday evening was spent catching up, eating and drinking and watching the F1 qualifying. Today we are going off walking together but back in time for the Grand Prix...if it goes ahead?
Dave, the Environment Agency man, called on us at Lilford lock yesterday morning to see if all was well, share a cuppa - I did make him his own cuppa by the way - and advise us that the water levels were still up and headroom under Barnwell Bridge was still too low for Nb. Matilda Rose to get through. The plan, as such, was to wait until lunchtime and for Dave to check the water levels again and give us a call. At one o'clock he called to say what the levels were and we abandoned any thoughts of moving, with Joe and I settled down with books and Graham and Jill heading off to find a pub.
An hour later Graham calls to say he is at Barnwell bridge and believes he can get under it, did we want to move?
'Too bloody right' we says..
Like a rat up a drainpipe we sprang into action, Joe prepping Yarwood and me prepping the lock. By half two we were on our way.
Joining MR in the Lilford Lock
We were aiming to get to the moorings at Fotheringhay, below the castle mound if possible. This was a journey of about nine miles and six locks. I travelled on the front deck which allowed me ease of access whatever side the lock landings were, Jill took their car and went on ahead to set whatever locks she could get to readiness for our arrival. We arrived at Fotheringhay at about six o'clock, got through the bridge without mishap and on to our moorings of choice. We had just finished securing the boats when the farmer arrived with his infamous Tate and Lyle syrup can to collect his mooring fees.
Yarwood and MR securely moored for the next four nights at Fotheringhay
The consensus was that a pint was needed after our dash down the river so we grabbed the dogs and headed of to join Jill at The Falcon.
The magnificent church at Fotheringhay.
Following two thirsty men and two hungry dogs to..
Does anybody know where we can get a hinged exhaust stack for a narrowboat? We can get a short (titch) pipe and medium pipe and a 30" exhaust pipe/stack but we cannot find a supplier of tall hinged stacks...
Chris Smith, chimney maker extroadinaire, doesn't do them and cannot help us so here'e hoping someone in blogland knows a man that knows a man that can!
We set off yesterday morning and as soon as we had got the two boats into Wadenhoe lock and the guillotine was raised to empty the lock, the heavens opened again. Jill was left (her turn) with her finger pressed to the 'up' button and the rest of her body being lashed by wind and rain; meanwhile I was making tea in the bowels of Yarwood and watching the weather conditions from somewhere altogether more pleasant...
As soon as the tea was made and we were again underway the rain had stopped and the sun was peeping through but as we arrived at the next lock behind Nb. Matilda Rose we found they had tied up. Calls to the Environment Agency (EA) about the river conditions soon confirmed the decision to abandon our attempt to get to Fotheringhay. We breasted up safely on the lock landing up stream of Lilford lock and soon the river Inspector arrived to tell us that they may issue a 'strong stream' warning later and we had done the right thing. We were told to give him a call at 10am today to check the status of the river and whether it would be sensible to proceed.
Breasted up on the lock landing
The view from front hatch of Lilford lock and 'cottage'
It's raining it's pouring...as indeed it was yesterday but yesterday we sat it out and stayed snug in the boat...
Until lunchtime when we ventured to the Kings Head for lunch. I had home made/cut chips with eggs, three eggs because I eschewed the normal ham accompaniment, and it just hit the spot! Joe tucked into fancy sausages and fancy mash.
Today however we are going to be moving despite the wet stuff as we need to get to Fotheringhay for the weekend. I will post tonight of our journey through wind and rain....and wind and rain and hailstones of course...
Yesterday Joe and Graham toddled off by 11.30am to take Graham and Jill's car to Oundle. The Nb. Matilda Rose crew have recently had to buy a car again because they need ready and speedy access to elderly parents; hence car moving duties.
A couple of hours later Jill and I and the Mutts went off on another of our circular off-line walks. We were out for four and a half hours and only got caught towards the end of the trek by a shower of hailstones, the rest of the afternoon was sunny, breezy and absolutely lovely.
The view from the top of Church Hill Wadenhoe as we set off. The object in the foreground is a sundial inscribed, and presumably paid for by, the churches of the neighbouring villages.
Wild garlic growing under the canopy of deciduous trees in company with bluebells
Jill gathering a supply of wild garlic (we both gathered a supply) to be used as an accompaniment to tonight's evening meal.
We spent over an hour tramping through woodland before skirting the wood and diverting into Sudborough village for a look around and then onwards across country to Lowick.
Sudborough parish church in the heart of the village, small but perfectly formed...
Lowick church on the edge of the village, grand and impressive...
At the end of four and a half hours walking a welcome pint of Pedigree in the Kings Head Wadenhoe and a chance for Baxter to rest his chin on the accomodating Floyd..