Saturday, 11 August 2012

Thorpe Meadows to Elton

Up betimes and the river is blanketed in mist. Two swans drift out from the cloud and glide upstream.
Breakfast over, we set off at 8.45 amid warm sunshine. Another good day lies ahead.
The broad Nene is lined with greenery; on paths alongside I glimpse dog walkers and cyclists who smile and wave. There are no other boats under way, only slow herons, splashing gannets and swallows that skim the calm surface of the water. This is tranquil and blissful.
Through Orton Lock, past the jolly huts and fancy cruisers of the Peterborough Yacht Club, like a 1930's Butlins, and under the triple arches of Milton Ferry Bridge. There's not a cloud in the sky. Then it's Alwalton lock and Water Newton, which is chocolate-box pretty and even had artists with easels painting the scene.

Shortly afterwards we pause for lunch at Wansford Station, home to the Nene Valley Railway and Thomas the Tank Engine.
Duncan poses with Thomas

On past Pat Buckle's boatyard, where Patience was born, through Wansford and Yarwell locks to Elton, where there are rough unmarked moorings just upstream of the lock. Why don't they advertise them better? They should take every opportunity to promote The Black Horse or The Crown, or Loch Fyne, but there isn't even a sign saying mooring is possible. FYI The Crown is nearest: from the moorings take the track to the village and bear left to the village green. For the others walk up Middle Street and turn right at the end of the road.
For us, The Crown provides a tasty meal and a good variety of beers before we stroll back for a brief taste of the Olympics and a well earned night's sleep. That was 7.5 hours for 15 miles and 6 locks, a tranquil journey through the best of English countryside on a calm, gentle and meandering river. The sun has shone as rarely before in this wettest of summers and we are happy with our lot.

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