Clinging On In The Wind. 30th August

Oundle Marina to Pear Tree arm FOTRN mooring


Just before 9am a Sainsburys van arrived with a big order for us, a good stock up especially when we had a voucher for triple nectar points to use. Everything was brought in through the side hatch and then stowed away. Good job Mick had gone through the stash of cat food the other day and donated brands and flavours Tilly turns her nose up at to the RSPCA in March. The space is now filled with porridge oats, oat milk and wine.

Time to return the van. I caught a lift into Oundle to have a bit of a look around and see if the Co-op had a few things that Sainsburys didn’t. I don’t know what I’d been expecting but it wasn’t such a large fine town. Georgian buildings with bold chimney stacks limestone everywhere. Plenty of independent shops. A prescription was collected, cat food and ketchup purchased then I headed back to Oleanna.

Is the front cloth finished?

Ken and Sue had their hoses out so it made sense to fill our tank up too. Mick was given a lift to the bus station in Peterborough by Enterprise, they weren’t keen on bringing him all the way to Oundle. Then we made ready to push off.

Word on the towpath was that the levels above Islip Lock had dropped 18″ overnight. Someone had left the top paddles up on the broken lock. Engineers had been to site and removed the gear box and taken it away for investigation in the mean time a replacement was being sought. EA notices came out confirming what we’d heard, the next update may be midday tomorrow via one of the engineers.

Despite the unknown length of stoppage we decided to push onwards and cover a few locks and miles, but most importantly moor up somewhere Tilly could go out. We pushed back and pulled onto the service mooring just as it was starting to rain!

The diesel tank was filled, £1.45 a litre. We thanked Mark and Jacqui who had been very welcoming and helpful. This is their last week in charge as they are retiring after many many years running Oundle Marina. Then it was time to say goodbye to Ken and Sue, although if Islip Lock reopens soon we’ll be seeing them shortly, or if it is doomed to be a long closure we’ll be returning in a few days as I’ll be needing to get to London for meetings.

Goodbye Cleddau

Across the pool, right out of the narrow entrance. Soon at Upper Barnwell Lock. Todays locks would all have powered guillotine gates, each of them sat open waiting for an uphill boat to arrive. Lunch was eaten on the go to be able to maximise shore leave for Tilly. It was windy!

We passed one boat NB Orinoco whom we’d shared a lock with on our way downstream. There was space at Wadenhoe. We considered mooring there and going for a pub meal, but instead I prepared a joint of pork, after all we’d just spent quite a bit of money on food.

As we rounded the big curve of the river, in one direction we could see Wadenhoe Church high on the hill, the other direction a triangle of tall trees, Pear Tree Farm mooring. We were quite surprised to find no other boats moored up, it meant we could pick the sunniest spot for our solar panels we pulled into Harpers Brook.

Clinging on in the wind

It took quite a bit to moor up as the wind was pushing Oleanna away from the bank constantly. First we tied to trees, then hammered spikes in and pulled Oleanna as close to the bank as possible at one end and then the other. Then Tilly could be let out.


Straight up one of the many trees. This mooring had many things to climb, but very little friendly cover, so Tilly came and went numerous times topping up on Dreamies.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent working, roasting the pork joint and trying to arrange rendez vous whilst we still don’t know how long we’ll be held up by Islip Lock. At around 7pm we were joined by another narrowboat who also pulled up on the sunny side of the triangle.


3 locks, 4.59 miles, 89.3 litres, 1 full water tank, 1 farewell wave, 1 triangle, 1.5 miles of low water, 1 gear box, quite a few boaters with fingers crossed, 1 approval, 800 lights, 1 front cloth, 1 big joint of pork, 2 windy for a stamp of approval.