Beheading. 7th May

Peartree FOTRN to Fotheringhay Castle

Mick showing everyone a view going down in a lock

The Geraghty zoom was joined today from the helm. Camera facing forwards much of the time as we just seemed to be silhouettes. The family accompanied us through Wadenhoe Lock, the moorings by the pub chocka block, maybe our return here shouldn’t coincide with a weekend.

The day has been full of church views. St Michael and All Angels Church at Wadenhoe, St John the Baptist at Achurch, St Andrews at Cotterstock, St Mary and All Saints at Fotheringhay, I’m guaranteed to have missed some!

We’ve had paddle boarders, red kites overhead, locks and more locks.

Heading into Oundle

At Oundle we remembered the day NB Lillyanne had her out of water survey done. We’d come down to meet the surveyor and hear his verdict first hand. She needed blacking, the lights inside sorting along with keeping her well aired to help with condensation. As we left we pulled in at the layby alongside Upper Barnwell Lock and called ABNB to confirm our offer, if I remember rightly a couple of grand off the asking price to pay for the works needed. As we sat there Merve and Elaine came past in Lillyanne so we could confirm the sale with them too. It was the furthest they’d been on her and had really enjoyed the cruise.

A very fine mill

Upper Barnwell Lock has a very fine mill alongside. I think eight years ago it had been a restaurant, today its a kitchen and bathroom show room. Then a very low bridge at 7ft 10″, we’d been warned about it, but fitted through only having to dip our heads.

Lower Barwell Lock has recently had new sensors added to the slackers (paddle gear). I could just see them and as we wound down the slackers a little arm was pushed out of the way, connecting a circuit to allow us to operate the guillotine gate.

We got a glimpse of Cotterstock Hall before the lock and there are some seriously posh houses at Tansor. One of those would do nicely with a mooring.

Does anyone know what these signs are please?

The long straight on the river meant rowers. A chap informed us there were a few boats out on the river and just to ‘BIP’ our horn as we approached, which we did.

Our handy buoy

Many of the lock landings have an overhang, which means Oleanna’s cabin sides are at risk of being scraped. Mick has been deploying our big red buoy just where it’s needed at the stern to keep her a safe distance away. So far the cabin side at the bow has only been in danger once.

Fishing lake behind the trees

Alongside Perio Lock there is a large lake, one of many we’ve passed, where numerous fishermen were set up for a weekends fishing. They waved at us as we waved back, everyone happy not to be in the way of each other.

Setting the lock

Perio Lock was the last for today, another wheel operated lock. The counter weight at this lock has been set incredibly well, at one point whilst raising the guillotine it wanted to raise all by itself! A bit more manual effort was needed to get it right to the top and locked off, but it was nearly a joy to work.

It was built to have its photo taken

The very fine St Marys and All Saints church stands high above the surroundings, immaculte in the sunshine. Fotheringhay was to be our mooring for today, white posts marking where you can moor on a farmers field.

Plenty of of boats have bumped and scraped their way through here

The first stretch has a very high bank and we didn’t fancy it. Through Fotheringhay Bridge which if you are wide is the lowest bridge on the river. Downstream more moorings stretched out. We looked for a lower bank, this was possible but very close to some campers, so we decided to reverse back to join another narrowboat below the castle. The plank was brought out to make getting on and off that bit easier for humans, the four legged crew of course had no problem, well the amount of humans about was a problem at first.

Let’s play Spot the Tilly!

Fotheringhay Castle was the birth place of Richard III on October 2nd 1452. It is also the place where Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots was beheaded. A plaque alongside a large piece of castle rubble gives the date of her demise as 8th February 1586/7, I wonder why the two years?

Only a hair cut today

Time to give Mick a hair cut, I did my best and refrained from there being a second beheading in the castle grounds, although I can’t say the same for Tilly! With fewer people about she had the castle mound all to herself, well maybe a rabbit or two too.

Surveying her kingdom!

She and I had a walk to the very top, a very good view with a breeze. From here I could plot my route down via as many rabbit holes as possible. Storm clouds gathered, the following rain storm didn’t deter Tilly from checking just about every hole she could get inside! Thankfully no large friends were brought home.

7 locks, 11.66 miles, 2 very low bridges, 6/7/12 churches, 1 buoy earning it’s keep, 0 castle keep, grade 3, 0 beheadings, 1 friend, 17 rabbit holes, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.

4 thoughts on “Beheading. 7th May

  1. Tim Bridge

    The two years are because at that time, the year changed on March 25th (Lady Day). So Mary was executed in Feb 1586 by the reckoning of the day, but in 1587 by the way we count the years today. One side effect of this is that it is possible to look in a church register and find the burial in January of a child born in June the same year!

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