After waiting for the extremely wet and windy weather to pass at the start of last week we made our way to Braunston where we spent the weekend, using our Roving Trader Licence.

Trading at Braunston

Early morning saw a quiet towpath while we set up, with lots of people passing later in the day.

Racks of DVDs and Maps ready for trading using our Roving Trader Licence

Sales were quiet, but lots of people took leaflets and stopped for a chat.

We’ll be cruising again tomorrow, heading to Northampton to start filming the River Nene for a new DVD.

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.

Great Ouse Bore

There are approximately sixty rivers with tidal bores around the world, with eleven in Great Britain, where the River Severn Bore is probably the best known.

The River Great Ouse has a bore, which travels upstream from the wash, through King’s Lynn, and sometimes known as the Wiggenhall Wave after the village it passes near its upper limit.  On large tides it continues as a smaller wave to reach Salters Lode, Denver and sometimes a little beyond.

We were waiting outside Salters Lode Lock for the highest spring tide in this cycle to use its flow to take us up the New Bedford River.  We needed to wait in the safety of the lock mouth until what was left of the bore had passed.  The video footage will be used in some of our DVDs we will be editing next winter, but I’ve extracted three still shots from our Bowcam footage.

Use the bottom tyre near the corner of the mud bank to gauge the water level.

The first shot is taken with the wave just coming into sight.

Waiting for the Great Ouse Bore outside Salters Lode Lock.

The second shot is taken less than a minute later when the main wave of the bore has passed.

Incoming Great Ouse Bore outside Salters Lode Lock.

The third shot is taken less than a minute after that when the secondary wave has passed.

After the Great Ouse Bore has passed Salters Lode Lock.

In less than two minutes we’ve had the excitement of two waves passing and rising around 60cm (that’s two feet) in two great surges as the waves passed.

We’ve completed filming for the New Bedford River and we’ll be returning through Denver to Salters Lode to film the conventional approach to the River Great Ouse with the tidal crossing from Salters Lode to Denver.

Great Ouse Progress

Out travels have continued as we film along the River Great Ouse and its tributaries.  We’re reached the navigable limits of the Relief Channel, the River Wissey, the River Little Ouse and the River Lark.

Jude’s Ferry on the River Lark.

We’ve also visited Cambridge, and the three navigable lodes – Wicken, Burwell and Reach.

This year we’ve seen more grebes with youngsters on their backs than I remember from previous years.

Grebe, with a baby on board.

Our progress has been helped by guest crew – Sara and Stephen – and we would have had further help from Lucy if the weather had held a little longer.

Christine, Sara and Stephen on Waterway Routes.

The glorious weather allowed us to reach St Ives and St Neots.

Waterway Routes at St Ives on the River Great Ouse.

We should reach Bedford in the fine weather forecast for tomorrow.

See us at Braunston

We’ve found a lovely spot at Braunston for the Bank Holiday Weekend.  The toll house and marina are close behind us, with the the junction a little way ahead.

Trading at Braunston

It’s signed as a 48 hour visitor mooring but Roving Traders are permitted to stay a whole weekend, including the bank holiday Monday, in return for the extra licence fee we pay.

Racks full of Maps and DVDs

The left hand rack is full of maps for browsing and we can show you lots of examples of how the maps can be used like sat-nav for canals, or Google Maps for canals on your phone, tablet or computer.  We’ve got printed examples of canal maps too.

The right hand rack has our great range of DVDs in a choice of three formats – Popular, Bowcam and Combined.

Larger than life maps

Please come and say hello if your are visiting Braunston this weekend.  We’ll be here until Tuesday morning.

You can purchase at Braunston from the stock we have on board, or take a leaflet away and order by download or mail order from our website.

As today is the 25th, albeit August, may I suggest these make good Christmas present ideas for family and friends – or for yourself if you suggest them to anyone who asks what you would like.

See us at Fradley Junction

We’ve found a lovely mooring spot at Fradley Junction, just below Junction Lock on the Trent & Mersey Canal.

Trading at Fradley Junction

We’re opposite the cafe and services and we expect to be here throughout Friday and Saturday so please come and see us if you are nearby.

Trading at Fradley Junction

We might be here on Sunday too, and we’ll be heading northwards along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Middlewich when we leave.

Leaving Sherborne Wharf

We’re leaving our home mooring at Sherborne Wharf for our summer cruise (not permanently). We’ll be back here around the end of August.

Waterway Routes moored at Sherborne Wharf on the Oozells Street Loop of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN)

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we’re heading for Wolverhampton, hopefully reaching the bottom of the 21 lock flight by late afternoon.

We’re heading for Yorkshire, initially via Great Haywood Junction then Fradley Junction where we hope to be trading on Friday and Saturday.  Please come and see us if you are nearby.

Trading at Fradley Junction

We’ve completed the first leg of our cruise and we’re now moored on the visitor moorings just below Fradley Junction.

Trading at Fradley Junction, below Junction Lock
Trading at Fradley Junction, opposite the cafe and welcome station

We’ll be here for the rest of today (Friday) and all day Saturday so please say hello if you are nearby.

We’ll be leaving after breakfast on Sunday, heading for the River Trent and the Yorkshire waterways to check the map data.