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A fabulous day on the Nene and my closest ever encounter with a Swan

It has been a while since I have been paddling for a whole day and with resin setting on two canoes in the workshop I decided I was due a days paddling.

I decided to head against the wind downriver as it was stronger than the flow which means if I am lucky it will make life easier on my return journey. Of course ,there is always a chance it will change during the day but it still pays to be cautious and check your time as you paddle so you can estimate your time getting back.

as I set off in my 14ft Dabchick there was a light breeze and a sparkle of sun on the water.

I didn't take the backwater but instead opted to portage Water Newton Lock as there was some wattle building going on by the weir.As I rounded the bend into Water Newton the wind dropped completely due to the wind break provided by the trees so the approach to the lock was calm.

At the lock the wind was back.

At Alwalton I portaged around the lock via the back water which I often use as my coffee stop and today was no exception although this time I stopped for lunch as I had only set off at about 10.30

As I ate my lunch I watched a swan patrolling the back water and made a short video.

The beach here makes a nice photo shoot location so I took a few more pictures of the Dabchick. I have made four of these now and this one has a red cedar planked hull and I have also made them with a mix of pine and cedar stripes giving a "humbug" look

They are 14ft long and weigh around 20kg.

One of my favourite features is my moveable adjustable kneeling thwart. I like it so much have registered the design of the bracket. Although this type fits wooden canoes I am happy to make you some for other types of canoe should you wish and I have done this for boats with aluminium gunwales.

As it was hot I took off my hoody and relaxed a while. You can see a humbug pattern dabchick on the front of it!

Back on the back

water the flow is stronger and the view is good.

Where the backwater meets the lock I noticed what looks like some new engineering. I don't think these bits stuck out like this the last time I was here and I hope something is done to help prevent them causing an accident!

I paddled on making rapid progress despite the wind which was still against me most of the way and probably stronger than the 6mph forecast. I approached the bridge at Ferry Meadows.

I decided to make my way to the lake further down river on the basis that I probably had enough time to do a circuit and start my return. On the section of water that goes from the river to the lake I was approached by the most inquisitive swan I have ever encountered.

It was a very easy matter to get a number of good close up pictures. I am guessing it is used to being fed by passers by in the area both on land and water. Its amazing how close you can get to nature when in a canoe.

Once on the lake I decided to do a clockwise circuit for a change as this looked easier in the wind. The sky made for a bit of extra interest on this picture.

I paddled around the lake and then made my way back stopping off for a tea break on route.

As I approached the mill at Water Newton I noticed some of it appears to have a new roof. The section on the right used to be the same darker colour as the rest.

The sun was beginning to fade as it was round 6pm at this point and I finally got back to the workshop around 7pm. At least its light at this time of year even if the temperature had dropped!

Happy Paddling


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