Tuesday, 7 July 2009

One last push..

We're moored on Northampton waterfront. In every way it feels like base camp for the final assault to the canals - the sharp, hard slog up through the 17 locks of the Northampton Arm that will take us to the main Grand Union Canal - even down to the base camp style stocking up of supplies from nearby Morrisons.
So it's goodbye River Nene after 58 miles, 37 locks and five and a half days. We started with two days of strength sapping heat and finished with two days of heavy thundery showers. I think I preferred the former even if the boat did feel like someone was applying a brazing torch to the steelwork.
It's a delightful river, the Nene that meanders through gently rolling countryside laced with mellow stone villages and the odd seriously impressive stately pile. An almost perfect English waterway; clear, fast, full of fish, tree lined in stretches.
The trouble is, it's difficult to enjoy. If you're going to the canals you'll probably just buy a seven day visitor licence so that puts a timetable to the trip before the off. And then there's the limited moorings, which impose their own schedule. Before you know it, you're stopping at all the same places you stopped at last year, and the year before. Next time we really must try and discover some new ones.

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