The four locks we did today were fairly evenly spaced as the river continues it’s steady rise into Northamptonshire. For a start the river forms the county boundary between Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, but between Elton and Warmington it’s wholly in Northants.
Warmington Lock was our first today, sunlight sparkling on the water over the sluice.
Warmington is one of the few that hasn’t been electrified, it’s still got the large winding wheel to lift and lower the guillotine. As the gates are well balanced it’s fairly easy work, but it still makes the shoulders ache!
We’d set off before any of the other boats above Elton Lock were ready, but we should have waited, really. Or at least checked other folks’ plans. We’d only just left the lock when NB Summerwine turned up, having followed us about 20 minutes later. So I told them we’d wait for them at the next one.
We passed Fotheringhay, with it’s fine church and only a mound where the castle once stood, the place where Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned and met her end on the edge of the executioners axe. It wasn’t wise to plot against a 16th century monarch…
Church on the left, castle ruins on the right. The castle fell into decay soon after Mary’s death, and was dismantled in around 1630. Only the Norman motte remains.
There are good moorings along here, on the meadow below the mound.
We passed NB What-a-Lark along here, too. In the capable hands of the “boat sharers”, Amanda and David, she’s heading down to Peterborough and back while David and Lisa are away. We were alongside each other before we realised…
As we approached Perio Lock we caught up with and passed a small cruiser, who seemed to be fannying about. We entered the lock and it followed us in, unfortunately taking the space which was intended for Summerwine. It turned out that the owner couldn’t find the Environment Agency key needed for the controls, so he was waiting for a boat to turn up to share with.
We’d just started filling the lock when the narrowboat arrived, so I explained and they were happy with the situation. With four on board they could take turns on the big wheel!
New addition to the family
The old bridge, with unofficial moorings in the weeds on the town side.
We pulled in above Ashton Lock, reversing into the backwater. People had been telling us that the river is low, and here was the evidence. We tried in several places to get in, but in the end only succeeded in getting the fore-end close, the stern is 3 feet out. Still, it’ll do. We’re only here tonight, tomorrow we’re heading for Thrapston, hoping to find a mooring for the weekend. On the way we’ll be popping in to Oundle Marina for fuel, loo emptying, water filling and a replacement battery.
Eighteen months ago I replaced all four and they’ve been fine, but yesterday I noticed the acrid smell of boiling battery acid. Checking, one of the bank was very hot, and the charge rate was higher than it should have been after over two hours of cruising. So I took it out of the circuit for safety. Later I checked the electrolyte levels, topping them up a little, and this morning reconnected it. But as soon as the charge voltage rose above 14v it started boiling again. Off it came this evening, and the ends are showing signs of bulging. That and the overheating are a sure sign of a failed battery. Ah well. They’re consumables after all.
Locks 4, miles 7¼