We took Magic out for his late night walk down passed the lock, the lock was empty so I was able to see through the water to the bottom, the cill only being a few inches below the surface. This lock is home to the biggest Signal Crayfish I have ever seen, they are like small lobsters. I wouldn’t want to be swimming round with them nipping my toes.
Well last nights moorings were so quiet you would have heard a ghost walk by. We were not set adrift, nothing was pinched, we were not set fire to. The first thing we heard was voices as some people passed at 4 am. and I jumped out of bed with the shock. The next thing we heard was the rain on the roof and it was almost time to get up.
With the rain bucketing down we were not keen to get away, Diana took Magic out and he was well soaked when they came back. We pushed off about quarter to eleven and just as we were leaving the bottom lock of the Northampton Arm a boat came off the river to go up, so they should have a good but damp run.
I didn’t realise that the new marina was above the lock, I assumed that it was going to be built below on the park to the left. It looks quite nice with a powered sliding fence/gate to shut it off from the park.
Just above the first lock someone has painted the brick face of an old bridge on the off side so they must have done it from scaffolding or a boat. It was ten past eleven when we entered the first lock on the Nene.
By now it was raining harder and there were some poor chaps working on the roadway/towing path just below the lock, I think they thought we were mad being out in this weather for pleasure when they had to work in it, still we were better dressed for it than they were. It always amazes me how poorly lots of works dress for the British weather, very few have waterproof coats/jackets and you hardly ever see waterproof trousers, even the farm labourers and road workers of years gone by had a long coat to put on in the rain.
Do the rowers on this river have a death wish? We came onto the wide straight section that goes under the A45 road bridge and leads to Rush Mill lock when a lad rowing came towards us rowing right up the middle of the river so I kept well right to give him room to pass. After probably 150 Mt he turned and cam back down the river but this time not in the middle but right behind me. I had to blast the horn to stop him ramming me from behind. As we approach the A45 bridge a girl rower shoots out from my left across in front of us, as I had seen her coming I had slowed right down, as she was now on my side I stopped, she in turn straightened up and was rowing full chat up the wrong side of the fiver towards me ready to hit me head on. Do they not realise that 18 ton of steel is not going to bounce out of the way if they hit it. She looked round just in time to dig the blade in and slew it one side before sliding passed, nether apologised for there behaviour or causing me to take avoiding actions.
We pushed on through another couple of locks meeting a boat who had just left Abington Lock, for some reason they had made a half hearted attempt to close the top gate behind them, not enough so that a following boat would not have to walk up and close it, but to much for me to sail in without letting Diana off to open it first. There is a steady flow of water over the top gates of this lock but it only has a small fall so not much chance of swamping a boat coming up.
We then went through the first of the automatic sluices onto the Washland Flood relief scheme relief channel. The gate on this sluice lays on the bed of the channel and is hinged up on ropes in time of flood, but the actual gate is mounted the opposite way to what you would expect on a river as its designed to stop flood water coming upstream, not flowing down. At the far end of the relief channel there are 48 hour EA floating moorings about 150 foot long, as there was on boat on them already we tucked in behind them to stop for lunch at about 1 o’clock. Needless to say as soon as we stopped so did the rain.
This afternoon the sun has come out but the wind has freshened and while we have been moored here another boat has tried to get in, we said they could breast on us, but with the wind they were unable to get back up the arm.