The only problem with the moorings at Whittlesey is the close proximity to the railway, some of which found it necessary to blow their horn as they approached, however they didn’t keep us awake so maybe they didn’t run all night.
This morning we woke to bright warm sunshine with no wind, the water was like a millpond. As we didn’t need to be at Stanground Lock until 2 30 pm. we took a walk round the town. It was much bigger than I expected and it looks as if the moorings by The Manor sports centre are as close to the town as you will get. If you need a post box there is one just a few yards to the right of the main gate. The town still has several pubs including a Weatherspoons but we didn’t see much in the way of shops other than the Post Office. We spent a bit of time looking round the church where we were made welcome and given tea and biscuits. One of the things that caught our eye was a large patchwork completed in 2000 showing different scenes around the area.
Back to the boat and by 11 30 am we were away. The first obstacle was the Whittlesey bend, I didn’t negotiate this as well as I may have done but still, I didn’t bash the walls and I have an excuse, there were several people watching. At the end of the walled section I met a cruiser, I pulled well to the right but he still stopped mid channel and then reversed back as I approached before moving over to the side.
It wasn’t long before we pulled in to the lock moorings at Stanground Lock, it was only about 1 pm and Tina called out to ask if we were waiting to go through or if we were having lunch first. Thinking it was probably her lunchtime as well we said we would eat first. About quarter to Two 2 cruisers came up behind us and pulled along side, they were booked to go up at 2 pm but Tina came straight out and told them to go into the lock together, I wandered up and gave Tina a hand closing the bottom gates and she told me to enter the lock as soon as she had turned it, so it was now Diana’s turn to help.
There is a plaque on the lock wall indicating when it was lengthened in the winter of 1989 1990. It looks as if it could do with a bit of a polish but I thought better of mentioning it as I still wanted to get onto the Nene.
Just before we joined the main river I spotted a Kingfisher land in the bushes, I took a quick photo hoping for the best as I could not actually see it, luckily the camera could.
Again there was very little flow on the Nene and quite a few boats moored along the park. One of the cruisers that locked out ahead of us was now moored to the railings by Asda to do a bit of shopping, just ahead of them someone was feeding the swans.
There was a train “parked” on both the bridges crossing the river in Peterborough but as we passed under the second one the signals changed and he started to drive off, I wonder if he always drive with the door open.
Last time we were this way there was major reconstruction work going on below Orton Lock and a temporary lock landing stage had been anchored right back at the road bridge, I eased in and dropped Diana off onto the pontoon, no sooner had she gone than a smartly dressed chap informed me that the new lock moorings were now open, I suggested he didn’t mention it to Diana who by now had walked all the way round the back of the site. He was an Environmental Agency chap along with 3 other managerial types and asked if I would mind if he photographed me at the new moorings.
The work includes a lock waiting area, a lowered level for canal portage and then a short section of 24 hour moorings with tall sliding mooring posts to make it flood proof. There is even a high level walkway to get off your boat in times of flood.
As we passed the PYC i noticed a cruiser which I thought was listing a bit and mentioned it to Diana but she pointed out that there was a group of people onboard in the cockpit having a drink which what was probably the cause. As we passed a chap came out and shouted friendly greetings to us (makes a change) and wished us an enjoyable trip, it turns out he reads our blog. Just by him there was a very interesting boat moored up. It look quite a bit narrower than a “Narrowboat”.
We carried on a short way before turning sharp left into the cut leading to Ferry Meadows moorings. We have never been here before so didn’t quite know what to expect. What we found were two floating pontoon moorings about 70 foot long and one of them was vacant so we slid in and moored up. The only down side is they are covered in galvanised steel grating which didn’t impress Magic to much when he hopped off to go for a walk.