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  • Alick Burt

Further up The Nene with an Overnight Camp at Fotheringhay Castle. Day 1.

Hello Folks

Knowing the weather was going to be good this weekend I decided a long paddle with an overnight stop was overdue and headed up river from the workshop in Stibbington.

Peterborough 1 was heavily loaded as I had my tent, sleeping bag sandwiches and drink for two days as well as breakfast and my stove to heat water when my flask runs out. One always starts with the feeling of wanting to take as little as possible and then you think what if I fall in, better have a change of clothes and the next thought is what if its cold at night or early morning, so I'll take some more clothes and then how about a snack to munch on when I am camping and what about if I want to make a video better take my attachment for my phone.

So this is what I ended up with which also includes a spare paddle and my canoe trolley. There is plenty of room for more as my bags were loosely packed and I could remove the airbags for more space if I needed to.When on the water I put my trolley behind me.

I planned to eat at the Pub in Fotheringhay which was to be my destination as I knew from previous experience that the food there is good.

The water was super flat and although it was cool to begin with I could feel the sun beginning to burn off what little cloud there was. My boat felt different and I think the stability is improved by having a bit of weight on board.

I passed the boat yard and all was quiet. I think the dogs that normally bark at me must have been asleep or on holiday.

Further on I was treated to a wonderful display of blossom. The forecast mentioned 12 mile per hour winds but it was all still at 9.30.

With it so still I reached Wansford lock in good time it taking just an hour and carried all my gear round before passing my boat through the fence and then carrying her through the swing gate. Beats me why the landowner has a gate next to the swing gate with a padlock on it. If it wasn't locked people like myself (who would close it afterwards) could open the gate and use their trolleys instead of carrying everything.

On the far side of the lock I had a coffee break and chatted to some passing walkers and then to a couple in a narrow boat who passed through the lock and continued on upriver.

I re packed my boat and continued paddling up to Yarwell. Those who read my last Nene paddle blog may recognize this route and may also remember I passed a boat that was looking in a sorry state. Two weeks on she has been pumped out and re floated so although there is obviously lots of work to get her put right again it is good to see she isn't sinking further or being left to rot.

I was in no hurry so took thee usual detour to the Queens Head at Nassington where I had a pint of Raddleman. A Grainstore brewery pint celebrating the independence of Rutland which as far as I can tell has made no difference to my life (I've lived there since 1986) apart from large increases in council tax. At one point it was noted that Rutland's council tax bills were second only to Westminster! Still the beer was good so I guess that makes it worthwhile.

I continued up river passing through Elton and on to Warmington where I noticed that nothing has been done to improve the portage arrangements and there is still a ridiculous fence between the portage platform and the gate.( where there didn't used to be).I lugged everything round followed by my boat on the far side using my trolley.

As I paddled up to Fotheringhay there was a light breeze on the water but I still made rapid progress and arrived around 3pm which is a lot earlier than I am used to. I set up camp and watched the world pass by.

The castle mound was behind me looking as though it was being shone on by a holy light. Perhaps the grail is buried here!

As the place where Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded and Richard the Third was born the village is steeped in History and there are information boards like this to tell you more.

From the top of the mound the view is spectacular and my favourite has to be in this direction with the river wending it way across the countryside.

As I continued sorting myself out the farmer appeared and I paid my fee for the nights stay. A modest £5 and the narrow boat I saw earlier turned up. The couple on board said they would be

going to the pub to eat so as I was going to do likewise they invited me to join them. We headed up to the pub to book a table as it can get quite busy.

We booked a table and stopped for a drink in the sun (may as well make the most of it while it lasts!).

We returned to camp for a cup of tea and in my case to prepare things for darkness later. There's nothing worse than trying to find stuff in a dark tent when you don't have your torch to hand.I also took the opportunity to take some close ups of Peterborough 1.

We made our way back to the pub for 6.30 and were shown to our table in the conservatory. It wasn't long before it began to cool so the landlady came and closed the doors for us.

After perusing the menu and going round in circles with my choice I eventually settled on a linguine with chicken and garlic which turned out to be an excellent choice as it left me with enough room for the chefs selection of chocolate puddings!

Although it was served on a roof slate it was awesome and I said to the landlady that it must not under any circumstances be removed from the menu :-)

We left as the light was beginning to fade and a quick trip to the loo was in order as to my knowledge there are no facilities at the camp site as it is technically just moorings. When we got to the loo which is in a separate building I found the lights were out and there were no switches so I called back in to the staff in the kitchen and they were turned on for us however as they are automatic I was left in a dark cubicle when Rob left. Good job I had my torch in my pocket after all!

We walked back as the light began to fade passing the church which was lit up in all its glory. Not the best picture I know, but there was a builders hut in front which I hid behind the fence!

I returned to my tent and slept really soundly and shall leave it there for now and do the return journey in part 2

Thanks for reading.


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