Our last bit of the River Nene, under the Cotton End Bridge, past Carlsberg’s brewery and onto the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal.
“Probably the best lager in the world”
Other beers are available…
The entrance to the Northampton Arm lies discreetly on the left.
Lock 17 is only just around the corner and set the scene for the rest of the flight - empty!
There’s a whole lot of development going on in the city, apart from large residential complexes rising around the fringe, the derelict Nunn Mills is to be demolished in favour of a new University Campus, accessed by a new bridge across the river from Midsummer Meadows.
Nunn Mills, soon to go.
Definitely back on a canal…
Three-quarters of a mile of canal is occupied by the top 12 locks, and at the moment by a dredging crew too.
Under the fancy concrete bridge carrying the M1
There’s a memorial bench and a couple of clever wire-frame sculptures alongside lock 10
A kestrel perched on one of the three open lift bridges among the locks
We started to have water problems soon after passing under the motorway. The pounds were getting shorter… and shallower!
Simon started to run water down, and was soon joined by Mark from C&RT who went further up to open paddles on the higher locks. He didn’t have a windlass though, so borrowed one of ours. Luckily we have three!
So the next three pounds involved a slow scrape and slither across the silt and slime of the bottom of the canal. The cabin was soon filled with the musty, rotting vegetation aromas of the mud we were churning up.
None of us could understand why these pounds were so low, where the dredgers were working the water was flowing over the gates!
Now we had plenty of water we were held up a bit by the crew shifting a mud hopper, but once clear of that it was plain sailing.
A bit congested…
…stinky dredged silt
And we’re off again! Mags was feeling a bit redundant so took the tiller for the last five locks.
We met a couple of downhill boats on this last stretch, too, so we didn’t even have to do much opening and closing of gates.
Lock 1, 17 done in a little under 4 hours
It would have been quicker without the low pounds and dredgers!
From the top lock to Gayton Junction it’s about half a mile, passing Gayton Marina on the right…
…and C&RT’s Gayton Yard on the left just before the junction.
We turned to the right at the junction, heading north again now, and moored just before Bridge 47.
We’d had a couple of short showers that didn’t amount to much, mostly it’s been bright and breezy.
We sat down with a well-earned brew and bacon sandwiches before Simon rang a local taxi company to run them back to their car parked in Northampton.
We’ve had a really good couple of days, good company and an easy run up what would have been hard work on our own. Sorry to see them go, really, there’s seven broad locks to tackle at Buckby later in the week…
So now we’re back on the ditches for a while, after an enjoyable excursion on fresh waters for us. And a bit of salty water too! Plenty more river cruising yet, though. We’re heading up to Ripon so we’ve the Soar, Trent, Aire and Yorkshire Ouse to tackle before September. Bring it on!
Hi Carol. Yes, it's been a good trip, overall we've enjoyed it.
Locks 17, miles 5½