Eagle-eyed readers will have assumed we left Gayton for Northampton on Friday. Unfortunately our best laid plans went astray and we had to spend Saturday driving to Reddich to pick up some wheels for our Austin Seven. As a result we missed the glorious weather and ended up going down the Northampton Arm under threatening skies and eventually heavy rain on Saturday.
Gayton Marina's Crane

Sandling Wharf, Blisworth Arm

The day started well but we knew rain was due. We passed Gayton Marina where their crane was in position to lift out boats for blacking and Phil Lizius was in his garden as we passed by his home. At the Top Lock a narrow boat was moored up in the winding hole (!) and the crew were enjoying their breakfast and the glorious views. A fibreglass cruiser was across the cut having outboard troubles. We     passed both of them and started the seventeen locks down to Northampton, but the two other boats quickly followed us. We made steady progress but it was soon clear that the fibreglass cruiser just behind us was being crewed by an eager lock operator. At one point, around the seventh lock, I suggested that the eager crew member might close the gates for me as it speed up the process for all of us. I was somewhat taken aback by his flat refusal on the grounds that he was being paid by the skipper of the cruiser. It turned out that he often helps crews down the Northampton Arm for a fee. We continued without his help although by the time we reached Lock 12 he did manage to close a gate for us because he had "squared it with the skipper".

Miscanthus growing near a Northampton Arm by-wash

Passing under a lift bridge Northampton Arm

Passing under the M1 Lock 12

We eventually stopped for coffee and toast around Lock 13 and the heavens opened. It was at Lock 13 that I slipped getting off the boat and lost a windlass but I happily avoided going in. It continued to be damp all the way to Northampton. Where we entered the new, well new to us, Northampton Marina that is operated by the Environment Agency. It is certainly well appointed with laundry, showers, pump out etc. For £10 we moored overnight on their handy and safe visitor moorings. The marina has key-fob entry and so is particularly secure and being close to the centre of town it is very convenient.
Northampton Lift Testing Tower

Carlsberg Brewery
Heron on the River Nene, Northampton

South Bridge Northampton

That night we went into town and sampled the delights of the excellent Spanish Tapas restaurant called Les Olives. We had a brilliant meal with the highlight being the shared rice pudding sprinkled with nutmeg. We can thoroughly recommend the restaurant if you are in Northampton. It may look unprepossessing being opposite the bus station and close to some less than attractive shops, but this family run business is a cracker.