Friday, 27 September 2013

End of our journey for 2013

Last night we arrived at our winter mooring on the Grand Union, so this is the last posting on this blog for 2013.  Helen has decided that she does not like the word 'Blog' so we now refer to this as our 'Boating Log'.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we continued our cruise up the River Nene.  On Tuesday morning there was a mist so thick that it was difficult to see the banks of the river, never mind where we were going.  We were once more travelling with our new friends John and Kathy on Sirius.

OK, I admit it.  I have played around with this photo but I love the effect - like a newspaper photo.  The picture is of Sirius ahead of us ploughing through the fog.  You might notice that neither John nor Kathy are looking where they are going, but given the conditions there was little point as you couldn't see anything anyway.

The mist cleared later and this shows Sirius approaching Doddington Lock.

On Wednesday we left the river to go and have a look at the lake at Billing Aquadrome before carrying on into Northampton.  It is fun being able to take a narrowboat onto a big open stretch of water.

Here is Leo coming out onto the lake with the marina full of narrowboats and cruisers on the other side.

An odd sight by the river was this Health and Safety scarecrow by a weir.  We've no idea what the purpose of this was.

Here we are moored in the centre of Northampton.  Sirius is in the foreground and Leo behind.

Yesterday we came up the 17 locks of the Northampton Arm to rejoin the Grand Union at the top. 

The problem with the lower part of the Northampton Arm (for the first 4 locks) is too much weed.  Here you see us ploughing through a narrow channel in the reeds. The problem is that too many of the reeds finish up round the propellor.

Beware of opening the paddles!!  Helen got well and truly showered by this one.

Here we are passing a boat coming down.  You can see the locks rising up the hill.

As we got further up the water disappeared.  We managed to get across this pound, though you can see from this maintenance boat that it was tricky to stay afloat.

This was the next pound and even Leo could not crawl across this one.  We started letting water down from further up the flight when a CRT chap came along and took over the responsibility for filling the intervening pounds.  The hour or so this took was fine as we then had time for lunch while sitting in a lock with water flowing in and out.

After a few miles cruising beyond the top of the flight we took our place in a small marina where Leo will be spending the winter.

You can see we are next to Stanton, a fine working boat.  We've been made really welcome by our fellow moorers and are looking forward to visiting during the winter and perhaps taking Leo out for a spin now and again.

And so to conclude, here are the final statistics for 2013: we've covered 1,153 miles and 676 locks. Over the next few months we'll be looking at the canal maps and guides to decide where we will plan to go on Leo next year.  We're hoping to join David and Victoria on their boat Pas Méche for at least some of the cruising next year.  Watch this Boating Log to see what we are up to next year.  Thanks for your interest and comments this year and it has been lovely to meet many new friends on the waterways this year.  Thanks for all your help and good company.

Tomorrow we'll be heading home to Yorkshire


  1. Saw John and Cath heading towards Sutton Stop on the North Oxford today.

  2. Dear Ian, Helen,
    I am hoping it may be possible to use your marvellous picture of St. Ives Bridge on Paul A. Hill's Chartered Accountants Website : Could we discuss pricing etc off-line.

    Much appreciated,

    Simon Bragg