Cruising down the River Nene – 1

We heading downstream on the River Nene, filming for a forthcoming DVD and checking the data for our River Nene maps.

Unusual seat at the bottom of the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal.

After a couple of days rest in Northampton to polish the boat and top up supplies we’re heading downstream on the River Nene.

Guillotine Bottom Gates

Most of the locks have guillotine bottom gates, and all of those were power operated today.  These locks must be left empty, with the bottom guillotine gate raised when boaters leave.  That means we have to close the guillotine gate and fill the lock every time we arrive at one.

Mitred Top Gates, often over-topped with the water.

The locks have conventional mitred top gates and paddles which are manually operated.  Many of them are over-topped with water flowing in which makes them slow to empty.

Old Waterside Warehouses in Wellingborough.

We’ve made it to Wellingborough.  The only other boat here was leaving just as we arrived and we’re on our own in a surprisingly quiet location.

Tomorrow (Saturday), we’re aiming for Thrapston.  I hope there’s room on the limited moorings there.  Sunday should see us a little further downstream, perhaps Fotheringhay.

Please give us a big wave if you see us passing – you might even appear in the River Nene DVD.

Cruising Down the River Nene – 2

Another stunning day of sunshine saw us cruising down the River Nene to Thrapston.

Ditchford Lock's Radial Gate on the River Nene
Ditchford Lock’s Radial Gate on the River Nene.

One of our first challenges was the Radial Gate on Ditchford Lock.  This is power operated, like most of the guillotine gates, so little effort was required.

The Radial Gate at Ditchford Lock on the River Nene.

The gate is pivoted from below, and rotates up and over boats.

Old Station Road Bridge at Irthlingborough.

Looking back at Old Station Road Bridge at Irthlingborough after passing through the narrow navigable arch.

Upper Ringstead Lock’s manual winding wheel.

Challenges for the crew continued with Upper Ringstead’s manually operated guillotine gate which required many turns of the wheel to close it before we could fill the lock, and just as many to open it as we went down.

Woodford Church.

Woodford was just one of many attractive churches we passed along the way.

Moored at Thrapston.

Our travels finished for the day at Thrapston, above Kettering Road Bridge.

Tomorrow (Sunday) we should reach Fotheringhay and, perhaps, Peterborough on Monday.

Cruising Down the River Nene – 3

We’ve continued downstream on the River Nene passing many lovely locations along the way.

River Nene Locks mostly have a guillotine bottom gates and mitred top gates.

The heatwave slowed us down a little but the blue sky and fluffy white cloud was great for filming.

Fotheringhay Church.

We stopped at Fotheringhay where my brother took us out for a lovely meal.  Mobile reception was awful on the mooring, with no reception on EE, O2 or Three, the networks we had available. My brother spotted a helpful sign to shown where to stand for reception.

Where to use your mobile in poor reception areas.

Our journey continued through Peterborough.

Moorings in Peterborough.

And we reached the end of our filming at Dog in a Doublet Lock which grants access to the tidal section.

Dog in a Doublet Lock on the River Nene.

We’re continuing onto the Middle Levels next.

Islip Footbridge

The footbridge just below Islip Lock on the River Nene is one of the lowest on the river and its limited headroom presents difficulties for some boaters.

Islip Footbridge. July 2012.

This is how the bridge looked heading downstream from our Waterway Routes Narrowboat in 2012, and we have an very low headroom, being able to fit through Froghall Tunnel, for example.

Islip Footbridge. July 2012.

Looking upstream in 2012 the bridge forms the limiting headroom, although the pipe isn’t much higher.

The bridge was planned for replacement in 2017 and many boaters hoped the new bridge would have better headroom.

Islip Footbridge.  August 2017.

Here it isn’t. Looking upstream in August 2017, with the old bridge removed. Now the pipe is the limiting headroom.

The new bridge was craned in during September 2017.

Islip Footbridge.September 2017. © Stephen Dawson.

Here it is again, in September 2017.  It looks like the pipe forms the limiting headroom near the edges, with the footbridge still limiting in the centre, with only a small increase in headroom.  That will disappoint some boaters.

Islip Footbridge. September 2017. © Stephen Dawson.

The headroom quoted by the Environment Agency (the Navigation Authority) for the old footbridge is 2.2m (7.2 feet) and they haven’t updated that figure for the new footbridge.

A big thank you to Stephen for taking the photos of the new footbridge for me.