Sunday, 23 September 2012

Back Down The Nene

With the weather forecast to be a splendid sunny day today and foul rain tomorrow we aim to race home to Oundle in one go, as fast as poor Patience can travel (about 4 mph top speed before she overheats).
Dawn, autumn equinox, Irthlingborough
As predicted, after a bright and cold starry night the morning of the autumn equinox dawns clear at 7am with a touch of ground frost.
Early morning, autumn equinox, Irthlingborough
We leave early to make the most of the day. We turn in the river (only just - wouldn't want to be longer than 50 ft) and off downstream through the dappled shade and open fields on either side of the Nene. After some overcast conditions in the previous days the sun brings out the finest qualities of the river and we warm to it.
Willy Watt Lock

There are three or four boats on the river today, including one hire boat from Willy Watt marina which has some inexperienced crew. We help them out a bit before pushing ahead, through Titchmarsh Lock and, perhaps, the fleet of the Northamptonshire Royal Navy, ...
Naval vessel at Titchmarsh

... to arrive at Wadenhoe at 1pm to find the mooring at the King's Head full (not surprisingly on this fine day) so with our own sandwiches and a beer hastily made up in the galley we crack on, to arrive at Oundle by 3 pm - a really good pace, with Canal Planner estimating the 16 miles and 10 locks at 8 hours 15 minutes which we managed in 7 hours flat.
Patience at Upper Barnwell Lock

One reason for our speed, of course, is that there are so few moorings where you can pause and pop into a pub. A Great Shame!
On arrival at Oundle Marina we chat to new neighbours and learn that the marina has now been bought by new owners. The folks running the shop are delighted at the purchase and believe there will be a period of much needed investment. Sounds good to me - I hope the enthusiasm is catching.

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