Saturday, 13 September 2008

Day Forty-Three - Gone!

Northhampton - Whiston Lock

8 miles, 8 locks

Grand Union (Northampton Arm), River Nene

And, so, after 5 days languishing in Northampton, we are finally on the move, and earlier than expected! At about 11, a chap on a passing boat informed us that his daughter was on the river at Titchmarsh Lock, beyond Doddington and that it was open. So we decided to chance it and see how far we'd get.

After provisioning at Morrisons, we set off, waving goodbye to the friendly bunch of teenage fishermen we'd seen many times over the days we'd been moored up. It was great to finally pass through Lock 17, which had been all that stood between us and the waters of the Nene and which we'd walked past innumerable times. Once onto the Nene, singly, we breasted up in Beckets Park Lock, and then stopped to top up and empty the tanks. Soon we were on the move properly. We were overtaken by several boats, which had been moored on the waterfront before the lock, perhaps inspired by our decision to move!

James and I got our first taste of Nene locks - they're geared such that although they're easy to wind, it takes many revolutions to open and shut the paddles. But it was a glorious day and nothing could dampen our spirits as we pressed on through more locks. We'd have liked to get to Wellingborough, but have decided, at about 7 to stop on a lock landing stage - there are precious few moorings on the Nene, and it gives us an extra incentive to get moving tomorrow morning! We're also in the middle of nowhere, which is good for security.

So, the final leg of the journey has begun, in a few days we'll (hopefully) pass through Stanground and onto the Middle Level. Already the landscape is becoming more familiar - the wide open vistas and huge skies of the Fenlands are drawing near.

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