Monday, 24 June 2013

From Oundle through Ashton to Fotheringay

I really needed to get away for a break so, knowing that "boating is the fastest way to slow down" and despite some ominous weather warnings, we headed off, through rain showers, to Oundle to start a trip down stream.
Up river they say there is weed, while downstream there are several good pubs and eating places plus tranquil water - so we head off in overcast conditions, mooring up for lunch at Ashton Lock whence a 15 minute walk takes us to the surprisingly quaint and quiet estate village of Ashton with its attractive pub The Chequered Skipper. The village was rebuilt by the Rothschild family; the Chequered Skipper is an attractive butterfly now extinct in England, though Elton was one of the last places in England where it could be found. A picture of the butterfly is on wikipedia .
We had a very good lunch at The Skipper and recommend it.
Back to the boat, through Cotterstock and Perio locks to Fotheringay where we moor directly below the church.
This is a spot well worth the £4 mooring fee. and that's not something you'll often hear from me!
Exploration leads to the Castle mound and a small memorial to Mary Queen of Scots as this is where she was executed.

This view is looking downstream, taken from the mound, which is all that remains of the castle, except for a stump of masonry (here at the bottom right) where Mary's execution is commemorated.
"In memory of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, beheaded in the Great Hall of Fotheringay Castle, 8th February 1586/7"
It is difficult to visualise the castle as it was but there are several pictures which attempt it, plus a model in the church.

More about Fotheringay Castle on wikipedia.
We eat at the award winning (and deservedly so) Falcon at Fotheringay. It has good bar snacks as well as a fine restaurant and a tap room, excellent service from charming young waitresses and bar staff and with wi-fi too it's just a fine place to whittle our lives away after a hard day's boating.

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