No Weather Today. 9th September

Clive’s Retreat FOTRN mooring to Manor Farm FOTRN mooring

Dribbly Oleanna

Alarm was set for an hour later than yesterday. We need to keep our cruising hours up and starting early in the day hopefully means that Tilly will be able to have a few hours shore leave after we’ve moored up each day. We pushed off a little later than planned another day of getting damp feet. Last night the extended news had meant we retired to bed not having seen the weather for today. Maybe there wouldn’t be any weather, maybe it had been cancelled.

The final wheelie gate

Not far ahead was the last of the wheel operated guillotine gates, Mick came to lift the gate then I was left to drop it back in behind Oleanna.

Next was Irthlingborough Lock, a small cruiser was just leaving above. This lock was the first to have a fault recently thankfully today the gates worked. As we rose in the deep lock a boat pulled into the lock landing behind us, shame they hadn’t been five minutes earlier as we’d have been able to share. The bottom gate was leaking so the second top paddle required opening just to get us up the last inch or so and be able to open the gates.

Differing arches

Old Station and New Station Road Bridges were ducked under, the approach to the old bridge a little awkward to get the right line.

Higham Ferrers Lock needed setting the cruiser still ahead of us. We emptied it, opened both gates and awaited for our new locking partners NB Red October to join us.

Ditchford Lock with it’s radial gate

We were sharing with two of the founding members of the FOTRN, the phone number for help on the signs would ring on this boat. We shared tales of trips, how the guillotine locks used to be operated by winding a handle, but then someone broke their nose and the handles were replaced with the wheels. I heard stories of extra weight being added to the guillotine gates to make them move faster, all a complete NO no now!

Each lock we came to the cruiser was just pulling out of. Each lock needing to be reset. At Ditchford Lock we paused once Oleanna and Red October had risen, the radial gate shut behind us, so that Mick could retrieve what was round the prop, thankfully only a load of weed but removing it eased our journey onwards.

Onwards past the jet ski lake where Fran was just opening up her stern doors on NB Atropos, we’d shared the really hot days with her on the Great Ouse. At the Chester House mooring a new bridge over the river has been installed a second one just visible through the fencing which must lead up to the buildings.

Now in towards Wellingborough embankment. I started to count the swans, 48 in the first batch. Have to say I gave up as we rounded the next bend to see the next group. Ladies were feeding them, one lady backing away throwing bread out across the park, she must have had at least 50 following her!

Maybe she’s trying to take them home with her

Upper Wellingborough was the last we shared with Red October as when we arrived at Wollaston Lock the cruiser was waiting with both gates open. Maybe we would be able to fit all three boats in the lock together, but we were a little apprehensive to be tightly packed in with a plastic boat. Our locking partners were on a bit more of a mission than we were, aiming to reach their home mooring up near Northampton today, so we waved them into the lock to share with the cruiser. This of course meant the heavens now opened as the two boats pulled out of the lock, leaving us to reset it and get wet. Todays weather hadn’t been cancelled after all!

Up they go

Our planned mooring was only a little bit further on Manor Farm FOTRN mooring. We pulled in at the nearest end and let Tilly out. Four hours of shore leave with some tufty grass to run around in and find friends. At first she wasn’t too impressed as the door opened to torrential rain, but she soon got over it and headed off.

Chilli for six!

A big vat of chilli was put on the stove late afternoon to gently bubble away. A handy three meals in one pan which will come in handy on long days of cruising. We have decided to keep up our rate of cruising, our next appointment may go ahead or be cancelled, but there is also a rendez vous arranged with family, so it’s important to keep going.

7 locks, 10.62 miles, 3 locks on our own, 4 shared, 6 hours cruising, 4 hours shore leave, 543627 swans, 15:37 model delivered, 1 silent boat, 3 meals 1 pan, 1 plan still in operation.