Irthlingborough (ex Rushden & Diamonds)

We left White Mills this morning in glorious weather and it continued all day. The first two locks were both being operated by boats going upstream so it wasn't until we reached Woolaston Lock that we got out a windlass. (because the downstream gates are electrically operated). Luckily we then met another boat (NB Critical Point) and shared locks with them through Wellingborough. 

Doddington Lock 
(with water flowing over the top gates)

A misguided (?) swan feeder at Wellingborough

Negotiating the Irchester Railway Viaducts

We paused for lunch at a Friends Of  The River Nene (FOTRN) mooring by Ditchford Bridge.

Broken FORTN Sign

There were numerous horses roaming around the site so they may have been responsible for the damage. There were a few mares with young foals who looked adorable. After a late lunch we went through the radial-gated Ditchford Lock. 

After the tortuous turns around Ditchford the long straight alongside the A45 was quite a change. I am always wary of Higham Ferrers bridge because it is tight and has a skewed approach. It was just as well that we were prepared because a boat going upstream suddenly approached obliquely without a lookout. Despite sounding my horn and having priority going downstream I just had to stop and go astern. Luckily the current was light and we managed to reverse upstream and negotiate the central navigation arch on our second approach. 

Higham Ferrers Bridge

We moored up at the "Rushden & Diamonds" moorings that overlook Stanwick Lakes. Last time were moored here there wasn't much bird life evident but today there was plenty. I think the star turn was a cuckoo that flew in, rested on a hawthorn and then continued on its journey. I got a really good look at it through binoculars. The evening was warm enough for us to eat our dinner on the bank. A glorious day's boating.

Unexpected Inflation!

Have you ever wondered what a lifejacket looks like when it's inflated - then now you know!

Inflated 150N lifejacket

Yesterday our daughter Lucy visited from Teddington so we took out Albert onto the River Nene with her three girls, aged three to nine, and our grandson Hugh aged six. We decided a lock-free cruise would do so we pootled up to Whiston Lock, turned around and then moored up just outside White Mills Marina where the kids explored the meadow and watched a boat go through the lock. Whilst on rivers we wear lifejackets and insist on children wearing them. Our youngest Nancy decided that she needed attention from her mummy so a tug on the red handle hanging down from mummy's lifejacket looked very suitable. It certainly got Lucy's attention - after the initial shock she was in hysterics!   

The handy instructions on the label inside helped me to deflate it. Now we just need a new CO2 cylinder to re-arm it.

Moored up and using the plank

A Windy Trip

We arranged some time ago to go boating last Saturday with the Kinnings, our friends from Wolverhampton. They are more used to boating on the Shropshire Union so a trip on the River Nene was a bit of a novelty for them. Unlike over Easter, the weather was not at record breaking temperatures - it was in fact 15 degrees C cooler. Not only that, the wind, officially classed as moderate, was from the North which made navigation somewhat "interesting".

At White Mills Lock

Our plan was to go downstream two locks and moor at the Friends of the River Nene moorings at Hardwater Mill and then return to the marina. I must admit that around 11:00 AM I wondered if it was a good plan with the wind blowing across our mooring making even leaving our berth a bit of a struggle. However, the judicious use of plenty of power got us away from the mooring and some difficult  maneuvering at the marina entrance got us safely into White Mills Lock where we trained up the day's crew on how to use River Nene electric locks.

Passing under the guillotine gate at White Mills

The wind remained strong for most of the morning. A couple of rain showers came over, one complete with hail hitting me in the face, it actually hurt! Winding at Hardwater Mill was not too bad, since it was wind assisted, and we managed to moor up (on pins) for a late lunch on the FTRN moorings. Despite it being a Bank Holiday weekend, the visitor moorings were unoccupied for most of the time, although another boat arrived just before we left for our return trip. A bit different from over Easter when we found six boats moored up there.

Moored up at Hardwater Mill  with swans overhead and a chop on the water

The wind on the return journey became lighter, although rain was never far away. Getting into White Mills marina was a lot easier than leaving and by the time we were negotiating getting onto the mooring the wind had dropped considerably.

Earls Barton Lock

Last rain shower over White Mills Lock* 

Moving onto our berth

All in all, it was a great day out with good company. All the photos in this post, except the one marked*, are courtesy of Mike Kinnings.