Sunday, 15 August 2010

Day Twenty-Four: Homeward Bound

Stowe Hill Wharf - Washlands Flood Moorings

GU Canal, Northampton Arm, River Nene

15 miles, 20 locks

Today we left the canals. Our last wide locks were yesterday on the Buckby flight and our last narrow locks the Rothersthorpe flight down into Northampton.

After a couple of hours cruising we reached Gayton Junction where the Northampton Arm descends into the city. It is the link to the Nene, the Fens and home. We were at once sad but relieved to be on the home straight.

The flight itself took four hours. There were several boats descending the flight ahead of us, so each lock but one was against us. However, the sun was shining and we shared the steering and lock working between us. The couple on the boat ahead were friendly and we helped each other our by closing the necessary gates for each other. The water in the arm was remarkably clear: when the locks were empty you could see the bottom! I guess this was because so many boats descending flushed the water through.

The most remarkable incident encountered on the flight was the man out with his four ferrets in a bicycle basket. He was a little odd but friendly and the ferrets were very cute! He took them out of the basket and they were all harnessed up and linked together on strings so they couldn't run away.

Eventually we reached the bottom where the last narrow lock opens onto the River Nene. We are now moored just three locks outside the city in a pleasant spot on the Washlands flood mooring. This area is a nature reserve but when it floods, serves as a collection area for vast lakes of water. It has automatic barrage sluices at either end to prevent navigation in floods. The couple who we followed down the flight and who are now moored against us, were once moored here when the gates closed, and trapped until the floods went down!

We went for a walk after dinner, as it was such a nice evening, and took the photo at the top, looking back at the lakes. Tomorrow we begin our assault on the Nene. It won't be as hardcore as the last time though!

(The internet dongle's currently on the blink so until that's sorted all blogs are from my phone so can only have one picture, at the top)

1 comment: