Monday, 21 August 2017

4 - 8 August Up the Nene: Peterborough to Oundle Cruising Club moorings

Friday 4 August back to Ferry Meadows
Walking from the boat, through Peterborough Riverside Park past the facilities, then across the road to the beautiful rose garden, we found ourselves entering the Cathedral precincts from the rear, past the old monks refectory and what remains of the cloisters, around the Cathedral and out under the arch into the market place, with its beflowered central market building, which looks very French to us: A lovely way to enter Peterborough city centre. We gave up trying to buy a new oil filter in Peterborough – too far to walk, too long to wait for a bus. After shopping at Asda, we decided to cruise back to Ferry Meadows, as it was a nice afternoon. Chatted to fellow boaters at Orton Lock on the way. Only one cruiser at the lovely Overton Lake pontoon moorings. Fajitas for tea, but bad tv reception, so Liana read and John watched more Game of Thrones dvd episodes.

Saturday 5 August Ferry Meadows to near Wansford Station
A lovely morning saw us watching the Park Run, with hundreds of participants, beginning within yards of our mooring. We caught the 1035 Nene Valley Railway steam train (£13 each) and visited Orton Mere, Peterborough and Yarwell Halt, for the line follows the river, of course! We had time to look at rolling stock at Wansford and Peterborough, and could have gone to and fro several times, but decided to set off on Annie in the sunshine.  Alwalton Lock moorings were full, but it was no hardship to retrace our steps past meadows and weirs to the lovely stone mill and houses at  Water Newton, where we found the wigwams complete and a wedding reception in full swing by lock and church. Nearing Sibson, we passed the Mick George Marina project, still a hole in the ground, before passing the full mooring pontoon by the bridge below Wansford Nene Valley Railway station. We were lucky enough to see the steam train from Annie as we reached Wansford. John spotted a good mooring on pasture just below the bridge, on the opposite side, so we used pins and settled in, enjoying the evening sunshine.

Sunday 6 August up river to Fotheringhay Castle (11 miles, 4 locks)
Sunshine again! After checking oil, John set off while Liana did jobs inside. The Nene makes wide wooded looping turns here, past Stibbington, making the journey to Wansford village bosky and relaxing. While you might try mooring under the A1 bridge, there is no real public mooring here, despite one being shown on the Imray guide. The ancient stone bridge, presumably once for the Great North Road, maybe, spans the river near scenic stone houses with lovely riverside gardens. Reaching Yarwell Lock, the kind owners of NB Wandering Whimbrel reopened the guillotine gate and we had a good chat with them both. Leaving them to get water, we passed the abuttments for a railway bridge, one of two that the NVR conductor told us yesterday they could have bought for £1 but needed to spend £30000 on them, so declined. They were dismantled, which seems a shame, as one bequest could have paid for that and left the possibility of extending the line further up the valley. We viewed parachutists jumping from biplanes near Yarwell, while the sunny day and idyllic scenery met us as we journeyed through Elton Lock and Warmington Lock, the first unpowered lock we had met. We took a while to figure out the EA key and lockable bolt mechanism for the big wheel you have to turn to operate the guillotine gate. Reaching Fotheringhay, we saw castle mound and huge church behind, mooring where friends Chris and Elaine Turner had been last night: We must have just missed them. Within minutes, the farmer's wife arrived for their £5 fee, but she told us the church was open for visitors, so we went after climbing the castle mound: The motte and bailey is all that remains, as the castle stone was sold to build a pub, the Talbot, in Oundle ….. how are the mighty humbled! The church is well worth a visit, with lots of history explained inside. After chatting with friendly boaters and walkers, the clouds arrived as evening came.

Monday 7 August Fotheringhay to Oundle

Tuesday 8 August (3 miles, 2 locks)
Absolute torrential rain clattered on the roof overnight and through the morning, until it stopped and allowed us to travel around a loop of the Nene to moor using posts at Oundle Cruising Club, arranged by telephone earlier, next to Oundle Marina (shop and diesel closed tuesdays), a mile away as the crow flies!

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