Sunday, 19 August 2012

Oundle to Wadenhoe

At last! A day that is warm and sunny, both John and I are free, and Patience is safely berthed at Oundle Marina. So, after all that strong stream advice, lousy weather and all, we set out for a jaunt a little way upstream to the pretty village of Wadenhoe, accompanied by wife Sarah and friend Angus.
The trip takes us out of the tight entrance to the marina (especially tight approaching from upstream) and quickly on to Upper Barnwell Lock where the Oundle Mill, now a restaurant, looks very fine though gives the impression of being rather exclusive. It describes itself as "a chic retreat", which isn't quite our thing, though Patience is happy to act as moving wallpaper for the chic retreaters.
Then there is a relaxing and very attractive stretch of river with varied views of fields, woodland, distant churches ... all very English on this wonderful sunny day.
Next to Lilford Lock, close to the Nene Way and popular with canoeists who hire from further upstream and wisely move their craft by portage rather than the lock, tempting as it may be. We don't want to crush a flimsy canoe with a 14 ton narrow boat as the water surges through.
Then through Wadenhoe lock and to the moorings immediately nearby at the bottom of the gardens of The King's Head.
So popular is it today, being the best weekend day for months, that the world and his wife are out enjoying the day. With kind and helpful advice from nb Dorcas Lane we manage to moor up alongside and are later joined by a hire boat, making it a triple sandwich.
Lunch is from the Paddock menu, served in the garden followed by a short walk uphill to the attractive church.
then we extricate ourselves from the triple sandwich and, thanking nb Dorcas Lane, we decide we will certainly return to the Kings Head. There's ample turning space outside the Kings Head and the lock is just yards away so you can choose your time to enter.
Return journey much the same (in fact many of the pics above were taken on the return), again attractive, warm, pleasant and the best of easy boating.All three locks at Upper Barnwell, Lilford and Wadenhoe are electrically operated guillotines plus the normal wound vee gates, so this is a bit easier than, say, Perio or Warmington where there is a fly wheel needing manual turning to raise the guillotine.
Incidentally more useful detail about locks on the Nene is provided at Sue's Blog.
Boating on The Nene is fun. At last!

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