Monday, 21 August 2017

30 July - 3 August River Nene cruise with Carson and the boys unfinished

Sunday 30 July March to Whittlesey with Carson, George and Josh

After our family celebrations, Sarah and Liana cooked breakfast for fourteen in Leicester (thank you!). Then we took Carson, George and Josh to March. John cleaned up oil in the engine compartment while others shopped, before we set off for Whittlesey. The water was so clear you could see the many fishes and the bottom easily in the afternoon sun. Carson and Josh took turns steering while we chatted.

Josh and George liked walking along the gunwhales

Carson and John both had a go at steering Annie

Josh steering
George operating Ashline Lock on the Middle Levels
George, Carson and John relaxing as we moored at Whittlesey above Ashline Lock by the Sports Centre

Monday 31 July Whittlesey through Stansground Lock to Ferry Meadows
Carson got up early and had a shower in the sports centre! Once we had had a leisurely breakfast, we set off through Whittlesey, which had narrows and a sharp bend or two, then into the country for two or three miles to Stansground Lock.
narrows at Whittlesey

the water was clear so you could see lots of fish in the sun

beautiful morning on the Middle Level
Stansground Lock is where you rise from the Middle Levels (no license but ML key needed, available from lock keeper) onto the River Nene (EA license and key required). The lady lock keeper informed us we should have booked passage, but helped us through anyway. Apparently she is the third generation to work the lock. This lock protects the Middle Levels from inundation by the Nene.
Waiting to go through Stansground Lock and onto the River Nene. Carson, Josh and George on boat, Liana walking to lock
 Once on the Nene, we crossed the river and emptied loo holding tanks while filling up with water and discarding rubbish at the EA services in the park above the steps on the Riverside. Leaving exploration of the city until another day, we pushed on through the Town Bridge, past the grain barge restaurant boat to moorings outside ASDA, while Carson and Liana went with George to stock up with food and drink. Passers by admired Annie and fed the wildfowl.
Annie moored  at the services, Peterborough Riverside

Moored outside ASDA. There is a gate through the railings!

feeding the swans at Peterborough
We cruised under low railway bridges near the Nene Valley Railway station and past the sculpture park, through surprisingly rural wooded scenery to Orton Lock and weir, close to Orton Mere NVR station. Lots of folk were watching the boats in the lock, which had an electric guillotine bottom sluice gate. Like the services, you needed an EA key to operate it.

Reaching Ferry Meadows park, where we had once caravanned, we turned down the connecting channel and moored on the pretty Overton Lake, with its island, cormorants and other wild fowl. The visitors centre close by provided a nice coffee! Loads of visitors walked, jogged and cycled around.
Liana and Annie moored at Overton Lake, Ferry Meadows

Tuesday 1 August Ferry Meadows to Yarwell Lock
This sunny morning was perfect for playing pitch & putt golf nearby, close to the NVR station. All four men had a go, while Liana had a coffee at the visitors centre and tidied, before joining them for the last couple of holes. Carson was not having his best game, while John was, surprisingly, more consistent! Certain others seemed to have problems with counting shots!
wildfowl on Overton Lake island

Avoiding canoeists as we enter the Overton Lake channel onto the Nene

Milton Ferry Bridge

After playing with a "bomb" Josh had bought ( a cross between a small American football and a dart), we set off in the sun for Wansford, but the mooring by the NVR station was full, so we carried on. John and Carson steered and chatted, while Josh, George and Liana played Monopoly Deal. Liana and Carson did the locks.
Approaching Water Newton Lock

Bright sunshine below Yarwell Lock
In the end, as there was nowhere to moor, and it was 7pm and dinner ready, we ascended Yarwell Lock and had to moor on the lock landing. The two moorings at the mill (£10/night) there were taken, too! We could water up, anyway.
The evening was spent playing "The Game", Settlers of Catan, followed by Prediction Whist, until we had to stop at midnight!

Wednesday 2 August back to Ferry Meadows
John got up early and prepared the lock, as we were moored on the lock landing. However, we saw no one. Carson and the boys decided they didn't want to go on the Nene Valley Railway, a short walk away, as they would be on the train all day tomorrow, so we set off down river together.
new private marina at Ship End Pits stone quarry

boat near Wansford

NVR steam train at Wansford Station, with EA mooring below
Carson and John ate their breakfast as they shared the steering, while Carson and Liana operated the locks. The boys were having a leisurely breakfast and then chilling, playing computer games.
Annie at Water Newton Lock moorings

We passed our friends Chris and Elaine Turner on NB Jophina II at Alwalton Lock, so had a chance to catch up.
Chris Turner and Liana at Alwalton Lock

Elaine Turner on Jophina II

Jophina II and Annie breasted up
Canoeists near Milton \Ferry \bridge

Mooring at Overton Lake, Ferry Meadows, we had a Costa and Carson bought the boys another “bomb” (like a cross between a small american football and a dart), but it didn't last and they had to get a third! Liana and the boys played Monopoly Deal  before tea. After tea, we played Settlers of Catan, which  the boys seem to be enjoying, and Josh just missed winning, pipped at the post by his father! Bed at 1030 as Josh was very tired after his late night.

Thursday 3 August Farewell to Carson and the boys at Peterborough
Up early so we could take Carson, George and Josh the three miles and one lock to Peterborough, to catch the 1015 train back to Edinburgh. George used our trolley as we walked ½ mile to the station from the mooring by Asda. The station was very busy, so we left them and found a Costa to use wifi, to catch up on emails and John's blog. Later we visited the lovely Cathedral and viewed an exhibition of 14 huge needlework pictures depicting the story of Revelations – very effective. After a lunch at Macdonalds, we headed back to the boat, moored on the riverside near the facilities and chilled,

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