Monday, 21 July 2014
Canoeing - Hardwater Mill - Ditchford Lock
A beautiful Summers day and just perfect for a gentle paddle along the calm waters of the River Nene. Very different from when the trip was originally planned back in May and cancelled due to heavy rain and high waters. Our group from College were dropped of at Hardwater Mill (Great Doddington) our task being to canoe the 6 miles back to base at Ditchford Lock, hopefully without getting wet. The water was clear with a gentle assisting ripple making paddling quite easy, although steering initially was a different matter entirely. No sooner than we had got going and making good progress we had to leave the water as we met our first lock. Canoes are not allowed to go through the locks so we had to disembark at the portage point and get the canoe out of the water0 A short detour along the riverbank was made using our helpful 'portage wheels' to drag the canoe instead of having to lift it. The river was full of wildlife including lots of Banded Demoiselles, various mayflies, Darters and Hawker Dragonflies, plenty of fish visible in the clear waters and the odd Mink swimming across. The water lillies were just coming into bloom which is always a good indicator as to the quality of the water. The Embankment at Wellingborough made a good stop off point to have a picnic lunch before continuing down river.It was a really relaxing experience with no traffic noise just the quiet of the river and the birdsong as the sun continued to beat down on us. Our next point of interest was the 14 Arches Bridge at Irchester as we neared our destination.