Have The Rules Changed? 27th August

Fotheringhay Castle to Oundle Marina

Such a pretty boat

Another earlyish morning with the hope of avoiding people out to enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend, not that we have a problem with them, it’s just easier to avoid them if they’re not already in the water and still at home.

The wide beam not the first to leave their mark on the bridge

We got to see how much paint the wide beam had left on the bridge yesterday, just another gouge in the 1722 structure. Last chance for a photo of the church before we turned our back on Fotheringhay.

Goodbye Fotheringhay

We’d noted a narrowboat moored up facing the opposite direction to us, could this mean the next lock would be set in our favour? Yes! I was grateful as it was our next manual wheel operated lock and all I’d have to do was lower the guillotine gate once. Having enough hands to lock the wheel once finished is something I’ll need to master as there’s a lock some way ahead that is very hard to do by one person.

Tansor and Cotterstock both look like places to have a good wander around, even if they are only small. On the list for next time, suspect we’ll need to catch a bus or have a lengthy walk from Oundle.

Shopping mooring for Oundle

Now the river works it’s way southwards around the east side of Oundle, under several bridges to Ashton Lock. Ahead we could see the buoys that mark shallow water below the lock, a right hand bend immediately below it. The bow of a boat appeared, Mick slammed on the breaks and then reversed back to give them room to manoeuvre. Would we be passing them on the wrong side, did it really matter just so long as neither boat got stuck in the mud.


It took a while and eventually the bow came round followed by the stern. The main thing for us was that the lock, another manual one was sat waiting for us, only one movement required again! As we left the lock another boat appeared heading down stream, they were also very pleased that the lock was in their favour.

I think someone should look where they are going!

Two canoes, neither knowing which side to pass us on were avoided. Then a rib with two chaps fishing from it coming under a bridge. Had they clocked us? They were moving, both with lines in the river. One chap seemed to be steering, occasionally as they moved along at speed. Another boat passed on the wrong side. Have the rules changed? Has nobody informed us that the rules have changed?

At last passing on the right

Then a cruiser came round the next bend. They were facing towards us, straight at us! Their course was corrected slightly, then their bow faced us again, which way would they go, we only had a small distance further to starboard that we could move. In the end, in the nick of time they moved over and we finally passed someone on the right.

Essential lock equipment for the Nene

Lower Barnwell Lock was empty, a lady just walking over the bridge to the control panel. The guillotine gate started to lower. I bipped the horn. I beeped the horn. We were just about there! I BEEEEPED the horn! At last she spotted us and raised the gate again, very apologetic she was.

Hello Ken!

The narrow entrance to the marina, only just noticeable. Plenty of room on the Cruising Club moorings, but today we breathed in and turned into the marina, wide open water. We’d been told to head to the services, these weren’t at first obvious, but there was a bit of a give away, NB Cleddau with Ken and Sue chatting to the lady. Cleddau had almost got to Irthlingborough Lock when they heard it was broken about ten days ago. They’d returned down stream to the marina to await the lock reopening.

Pontoon sharing

We pulled in on the same pontoon, settled in, a very friendly welcome from all. A quick health and safety check revealed a fence with Tilly sized gaps under it right alongside an intermittently busy road. Sadly this means that for the next couple of days I’ll have to cope with a bored cat.

A bored bundle of cat

Mick had a lift from Ken and Sue into town to do a small food shop whilst I got my model box out. It was time to work my way through the show and make notes. As expected I ended up with two sides of A4! Several scenes just need a touch of a tweak, others need a bit more, but Christmas at the Tower of London looks great, even though I say so myself. The biggest job still to do is the front cloth which due to it’s nature will happen over several days.

The big glasses of Pimms

At 6pm my model was packed away, time for Pimms on the terrace with Ken and Sue. Very civilised. The setting sun put a limit on the time we were prepared to sit out, Ken’s timer for his tray bake encouraged people into their boats to eat. Mick had found some sad gits sausages at the Co-op so we had sausage and mash.

4 locks, 7.39 miles, 4 boats heading down stream, 1 trolling rib, 8 Kingfishers, 1 marina mooring, 7 trips, 1 load of washing, 1 bored cat, 2 x A4, 1 butterfly net, 1 pair snow shoes, 4 large Pimms, 6 bog standard sausages, 1 supermarket order started.