Wednesday, 6 August 2014

A cruise down river

It has been a long, hard struggle, lurching from one disaster to another, constantly working on the boats but not being able to go anywhere on them.
We decided that, having sorted the raw water out and with our new inverter and wiring set-up to try out, a cruise down river was in order.
We set off on Thursday afternoon, stopped briefly to buy some new chunky mooring pins from Cap'n Bill at Willy Watts chandlery.
A typical Nen guillotine lock, the lock landings are fairly short, tucked in, and with a very unforgiving wall in front of you! LOL!
 It is normal for the river water to be flowing over the gate, as the guillotine is left open to allow it to flow out.
This is Ringstead Lower lock and it has been converted to electrically powered. You need an Environment Agency 'abloy' key, Glenda has started wearing it on a lanyard, as it is easy to leave it behind if another boater says they'll take over the lock. Here Glenda is at the control panel. The guillotine is always left in the raised position on leaving the lock (the gates are left closed).

Thursday night at the Nine Arch Bridge moorings in Thrapston. Getting in and out can be a problem, if there are too many boats breasted up, there is no room to wind, so you have to either reverse in (preferable) or reverse out, which can be tricky as the flow will take you towards the bridge.

N.B. 'Bo The Red Box' (bothered box)

A nice spot in a dead end, one of the picnic benches has suffered from vandalism unfortunately, but there is a water point (not very many on the river)

Info on the Nine Arch Bridge and the surrounding area

A young heron visited us.
Glenda and I had a nice barbeque and then used it as a pit fire and invited the crews from N.B.s Bo The Red Box and Lady Galadriel to join us around the fire.

Our solar powered fairy lights have come on ;o) and it was a really nice chatty evening.

Glenda takes the helm, the exhaust chimney is wonky because we caught it on a branch as we negotiated the low footbridge at Islip (keep left downstream and keep right upstream)
On the way to Ashton we saw a poor little shag with a fishing hook in it's beak and with tackle hanging down on his chest.
At Wadenhoe we encountered an old ex-working boat getting into all kinds of difficulty, it was wedged under a tree with lots of people and kids on the roof. Glenda got the lock ready and opened the gate on my side, they hovered outside and asked if they could share the lock? I said yes, none of them jumped off to help, "Can we go in first?" "LOL! bugger off! You need to open the gate on your side first"
There are nice unofficial moorings in the dead-end bye-wash near Ashton, there is room to wind a 58 foot boat (longer possibly if you pick your spot)

A nice quiet place to moor with a bridge and footpath into Oundle or a 10-15 minute walk to the Chequered Skipper thatched pub in Ashton (where the World Conker Championship is held)

There's room for about 10 boats (more if you are prepared to breast up) A scythe or strimmer could be handy, as there are a lot of nettles on the bank.

A lovely wooden cruiser built locally in Peterborough in 1947
Just managed to squeeze in between the converted butty 'Dee' and the bridge (the stern was sticking out a little but there was plenty of room for others to pass)

 It had been converted by adding an outboard in place of the elum

Narrowboat 'Dee' was quite a ramshackle boat, with piles of all manner of strange things covering her, including ferrets in cages on the roof.

Glenda looking happy though the sidehatch

The mooring at Denford is handy for our local 'The Cock'
We left Denford after breakfast and a visit from Chris from the village. There was a faster flow after the thunderstorms the day before. Freyja got a little hot and blew water out of the overflow, so I've decided to fit a small header tank.
Unknown to us, the diesel return pipe snapped and for the last few miles we were pumping diesel into the bilge, found it next morning when Julian came to do the re-wire.
Managed to find one olive small enough to fit the copper pipe at Willy Watts Chandlery, I annealed the pipe and bent it into a nice gentle curve it seems to be working fine again ;o)