Do Bricks Smell Like Chips? 17th May

The Boat House to Dog In A Doublet Visitor Moorings

Tilly wasn’t too pleased at the doors staying shut this morning. We’d had enough of sitting in one place or a while, Peterborough has served us well but it’s time to move on.

One coming in to take our spot

We said goodbye to NB Mushy P and just as we were rolling up our covers to set off a narrowboat arrived into the basin obviously looking for a mooring. With not enough room for them to pull in behind us they did a big loop whilst we finished off preparing to leave and then slotted straight in after us, the landing not having had time to cool off.

The Embankment

First the services for water, rubbish and to empty the yellow water tank. Whilst Mick did the chores I walked up to Asda for some fresh shopping, there’s a cake that needs baking this week and options for a barbeque needed purchasing should we find a suitable mooring on a day with suitable weather.

Save The Embankment

Since we were here last week someone has painted onto the service block. It turns out that the Embankment area is set for redevelopment. I’ve not had chance to read through the whole of the Masterplan which will set out to enhance the south facing river side with new park land, a cultural quarter, a university campus and possibly a stadium. It’s a 70 acre site so lots of prime land.

Did we share locks with NB Eleanor a couple of years ago?

Once lunch was out of the way we pushed off making note of the less kept moorings after Frank Perkins Parkway Bridge, plenty of boats that have been here for quite some time, but space should the depth be sufficient for our return trip.

Right towards the Great Ouse, left/straight on to The Wash

At Peterborough Junction the navigation splits. To the right is the Back River leading to Stanground Lock and the Middle Level. From there 100 miles of navigation head off mostly in straight lines, flood protection along with a navigable connection between the River Nene and the Great Ouse. A separate licence is required for the Middle Level, I strongly suspect I’ll have things to say about that in future posts.

Straight on the River Nene takes on a different character heading onwards in a wide straight channel towards tidal waters, The Wash. As we’d come all the way down the river it wouldn’t be right to miss out this section and reach the end of the non tidal river. It reminded us somewhat of the Aire and Calder Navigation, lots of sky, the occasional slight bend but the possibility to see for a mile or so straight ahead.

Ducks, cows, a horse, a few moored boats, the smell of chips in the air! Hang on chips?! Where was that coming from, we were still quite some distance from the Dog in a Doublet Pub, like a couple of miles away. On the sky line three tall brick chimneys soared up into the sky, smoke or steam streamed out from a couple of them.

Chip chimneys?

These are the chimneys from the brickworks. Peterborough was famous for it’s bricks, most villages had their own small clay pits. Fletton Bricks are possibly the greenest bricks to be made as the clay has a high inbuilt fuel content which means the clay ignites itself and burns to a high temperature meaning there is no need for the use of coal.

But could bricks really smell like chips?

No is the answer, on the map McCains can be seen, a much more likely candidate for the aroma!

Maybe we could try here?

We were looking for a possible place to moor on the north bank. However the bank was a forest of nettles for most of the way, but then a boat length seemed to be clearer shortly before a curvy bridge. We’d like to visit Flag Fen without having to walk several miles to get there, so this may be a possible place to stop. The archaeological site is only open Wednesday to Sunday, we’d considered visiting it tomorrow but that would set back our schedule by a day, so it’s another place to visit on our way back.

The lock is there in the distance

With the last bend of the channel we could see Dog in a Doublet lock straight ahead, some 1.8 miles away.

The Dog in a Doublet pontoon

We eventually pulled up on the pontoon shortly before the lock a road running right alongside. This road to us had seemed like it would have the occasional car or tractor on it, but oh no, it is busy with lots of fast cars and the occasional slow tractor!

The lock

We walked up to have a look at the lock, taking our lives in our hands walking along the very narrow edge of the road. But the lock was locked of to the public. The windows of the buildings boarded up, but the gardens quite well tended. By the lock green islands sat just above the top gates.

Downstream, not much to see

We had a look at the tidal side of the lock, nothing much to report other than a river really, not quite high tide. Along the road there is the pub Dog in a Doublet, they are renowned for their good food, but we’d be having some of that back on board instead.

The pub and only a few cars at the junction

0 locks, 6.22 miles, 1 left, 1 straight on, 1 full water tank, 1 empty yellow water tank, 1 clean pooh box, 1 locked off lock, 1 nontidal river ticked off, 1 lock booked, 1 lock not answering the phone, 1 possible mooring, 1 mardy cat, 0 shore leave, 3 chats, 5:30 traffic jam.