Monday, 18 August 2008

Summer Holidays

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On Sunday we departed Whilton Marina at 13:00ish and travelled South along the Grand Union, reaching Gayton at 18:00 where – after buying an EA key, some tea and milk we moored and went to bed early (I'd been working Saturday night you see).

On Monday we woke early and departed Gayton at 05:00, cruising 9 hours until reaching Cogenhoe. The 17 locks down to Northampton were fine except for getting a pair of shorts stuck in the propeller and needing to work on the weed-hatch watched by anglers (They were generally fine though we both hate an audience). We had a couple of beers and then walked through the very pretty village to the Royal Oak which had nice beer but the food wasn't up to the standard of The Green Dragon, another early night.

We'd been warned about Wellingborogh by a couple travelling the other way through Northampton so Tuesday at 05:00 saw us depart Cogenhoe, we reached Whiston Lock at 05:45 and White Mills Lock at 06:05 which took us 20 mins. 06:45 saw us at Earls Barton Lock which took us only 8 minutes to get through. 07:05ish saw us at Doddington Lock which again took 20 minutes. 08:05 saw us depart Wallaston Lock, 08:35 saw us reach Upper Wellingborough Lock which took 10 minutes. We stopped for provisions at Tesco's in Wellingborough at 09:10 but were off again at 09:25. We were nearly through Lower Wellingborough Lock at 09:50. At 10:05 we were under the high rail bridge near the Roman Burial Ground. 10:35 and we were through Ditchford Lock, though we had a little help getting through. At 11:00 we went under the footbridge near the gravel pit near Rushdon and we were through Higham Lock at 11:30. Half an hour later (12:00) we went through Irthlingborough Lock and we passed the weir near Little Addington at 12:27 with 12:52 seeing us through Upper Ringstead Lock and 13:20 seeing us through Lower Ringstead Lock – here we lost our single handed cruiser companion Steve, which was a shame as he was pretty cool. 13:54 saw us at the weir outside Woodford and 14:15 saw us through Woodford Lock, 14:44 saw us through Denford Lock and at 15:30 we passed the moorings by Thrapston Lagoon past Islip Lock. 16:19 saw us through Titchmarsh Lock and at 17:05 we stopped at the King's Head at Wadenhoe for a pint where Katrina did a fantastic impression of a turtle after having too fuch beer! The food was nice but the servings weren't huge I'm afraid.

We left Wadenhoe at 05:10 on Wednesday the 30th July 2008 and after navigating Wadenhoe Lock we passed Lilford Lock at 06:00, we did Upper Barnwell Lock at 06:55 and Lower Barnwell Lock at 07:20, going under the A605 at 07:30. 08:07 saw us through Ashton Lock and we went under the new road bridge outside Oundle at 08:20. 08:32 saw us pass the weir before Cotterstock and we were through Cotterstock Lock at 09:00. We were warned about Perio Lock so we took it easy and were through at 09:35 and under the Fotheringhay bridge at 09:55, which we had also been warned about. We were through Warmington Lock at 10:35 and Elton Lock at 11:15, going under the Elton road bridge at 11:25. 11:50 and we were under the Wilgar bridge outside Nassington and through Yarwell Lock at 12:15. At 13:00 we were through Wansford Lock and at 13:38 we passed under the Nene Valley Railway bridge near Wansford Station. 14:10 saw us arrive at Water Newton Lock and we were through Alwalton Lock at 15:00. 15:21 saw us pass under another rail bridge and 15:37 saw us under the Milton Ferry bridge. At 15:48 we decided to call it a day and looked for a mooring for the night so at 15:52 we were under the footbridge over the channel leading into Overton Lake where were finally moored at 16:00. After a wander around we retired early so as to get through Peterborough early the next morning...

We aimed to get an early start on Thursday but weren't quite so early as we'd hoped. Overton Lake has an island and Katrina said that we should exit the lake the way we'd entered but in my wisdom I thought it'd be nice to circle the island before leaving... unfortunately we ran aground on a sandbank so – being responsible – I took my trousers off and tried to push us off. When that didn't work Katrina joined me, when that didn't work I jumped back aboard, nearly killing myself in the process due to being slippery from the water and sliding all over the front deck (thank goodness for the footholds built into Liverpool boats!), and we managed to move off by swinging the tiller like mad hard to port and starboard whilst gunning the throttle. We managed to get off and passed Peterborough Yacht Club club house at 07:10. We got to Orton Lock at 07:15 and were through at 07:35. We passed the turning into The Boat House pub at 07:46 and were under our first rail bridge of the day at 08:01. We were under the A1139 at 08:12 and under our last rail bridge before leaving the Nene at 08:14. At 08:30 we reached Stanground Sluice. Being a new boat it had no registration number nor name on the hull and we couldn't even furnish a receipt for her so much calling to the EA followed before we were allowed through onto the Middle Levels.