Tuedsay 17th June 2014
7 miles, 4 locks
The day started with a final walk round Barnwell Country Park
with their designer bird houses
Our final visitors before we left
Then we were off after our very pleasant week in Oundle marina heading for Fotheringhay. The surprise of the day (well the first one!) was when we went to pay for our week’s moorings. We were expecting to pay £35 each, but as we breasted up we were charged just £35 for both boats!
We both made it out without incident – it is quite a turn and there was a fairly strong wind blowing
St Peter’s Oundle was never far away for a big part of this trip.
It was just a short trip today, but very pretty.
With the same issue I have noticed a lot on this river – obscured signs - good job we have a map and guide book
This one had a border collie playing Frisbee
In a garden that must be border collie (or any other variety of dog!) heaven!
The first three locks went smoothly enough and then we approached the last one for today and the second surprise – Perio lock. Nb Cleddau was paving the way when we suddenly saw them in reverse, lots of engine noise, revving and pushing out water all over the place. What was happening we wondered, but had no idea. All we could do was hold fast and wait and see. Eventually a small cruiser appeared, towing a small dinghy with the helmsman saying ‘I thought that boat was going down the by wash’. We assumed he had just come out of the lock – had we known what really had been going on our response might have been slightly more pointed. He had been moored for lunch right in the middle of the lock landing with his feet up having a nap!! Cleddau had been forced to go to the other side of the lock where Boatwif had to really scramble to gain access to the lock. All was well and we made it through to Fotheringhay. The church could be seen for some way ahead.
We initially stopped before the bridge
but access on and off the boats was not easy, so Boatwif, Monty and I were sent on foot to see what things were like the other side of the bridge. Easier said than done – three challenging styles for us humans and the only way for Monty was to be lifted over. The last one really challenged Boatwif and I – legs do not bend the way they used to. The decision was made that it was a better place to moor and it was empty, so move we did. By the time we got there one cruiser had arrived, but, thankfully, had moored very considerately at one end of the moorings. Before we had time to draw breath two other narrow boats had arrived to fill up the space.
Chris and I went for a walk with Monty into Fotheringhay where we found a telephone box with a difference – it is a defibrillator and local book swap repository.
What a great use of a defunct structure. It is just before a footpath through a crop of beans
Over a bridge then over a tributary and on to join part of the Nene Way back into the village. A stop for refreshment was called for at the local pub – the Falcon.
Note the fantastic hanging baskets. Dogs are welcome in the Tap Bar and I just loved this Beer Prayer
The toilets are across the courtyard
Wednesday 18th June
The day started slightly grey, but we headed off for a walk. Before we went I popped up to the top of the Castle Remains – well worth it for the view.
First stop would be Elton – first through huge wheat fields
That went on and on like a super highway
In just under an hour later we reached the derelict mill at Elton Lock
15 minutes later and we were in the village to find two photographers with cameras poised. What or who were they expecting? All we could see was a very large lorry trying to reverse into a drive. Upon asking one of them we discovered they were from a specialist kit car magazine reviewing a car called Enigma. This is a brand new, one off kit car with the engine and running gear from a Mazda MX-5 with a new chassis and body. As soon as the lorry completed it’s manoeuvre, sure enough a rather beautiful shiny red car came round the corner.
Elton is another chocolate box village.
Up the hill to try and find the Black Horse (recommended by a local) when this cottage name jumped out at us as Boatwif and the Captain hail from Pembroke
The owner was cutting his grass and on enquiring the reason for the name (it has more to do with Pembroke College, Cambridge, than their home town) they discovered that the owner knows the Captain’s niece!! Such a very small world.
Onwards and upwards past the village pump
One and a half hours after setting off from Fotheringhay five weary travellers made it to the pub – the hanging baskets pale into insignificance compared to those at the Falcon. However, we had arrived, Monty was allowed inside, the beer was good and we all had a decent sandwich.
An hour and a quarter later fed (service was very slow due to staff shortage, but we were glad to sit and rest) and watered we set off again past Elton Church which has a very large churchyard.
Boatwif and I nipped in to find an imposing church with some lovely stained glass windows. The information as you went in informed us it costs £100 to heat the church for each winter time service.
Into some woods
Past some poly tunnels containing raspberries – shame we did not have a spare container in our bags!
To Warmington Mill which has been beautifully restored and is now home to a Fired Earth and Aga outlet. We passed on by.
Occasionally the real world intruded
But it was mostly open country
until at last we see Fotheringhay Church in the distance
and before we knew it we were back at the boats nearly five hours after we set off. It was a lovely walk on a glorious day. We reckoned that Monty probably did 12 miles to our 5. The plan was a quick cuppa and Boatwif and I were to go to visit the church at Fotheringhay, however, I had sneezed and wheezed my way round all day (hay fever and asthma), and I am afraid that a horizontal rest won the day for me. Boatwif went, so details will be found on her blog.
To round off a fabulous day we had our first al fresco meal of the trip. Mind we did retreat inside for pud!
Today (Thursday 19 Jun) we moved onto Wansford, so the story will continue in due course.
Total stats since leaving Droitwich 133.75 miles, 174 locks