Monday, 24 July 2017

Canoe Trip - River Nene



A nice bright start to the day with rain forecast for later in the afternoon. It would be a close run thing to beat the anticipated heavy showers. Logistics not simple, two cars needed one to be left at destination point Wellingborough Embankment. Then a drive back to the starting point at Billing Mill.

 I managed to get soaked and almost overturned the 17ft canoe before we had even got going! The balance of the canoe is a delicate business and my ungainly entrance left a lot to be desired, taking my companion by surprise who nearly went in too. Thankfully I was only drenched down the left hand side. Just a few barges and the odd riverbank to avoid as we gently made our way upstream. The water was very clear and the fish were quite visible amongst the reeds and lilies. Our journey took us past the edge of Cogenhoe caravan park and up to Earls Barton. On several occasions we had to haul the canoe out of the river and carry it on land to pass the locks. I believe the proper term for this manouvre is know as 'Portage'. Unfortunately as we got level with Summerleys Nature Reserve the sunshine gave way to grey skies, before long the heavens opened! Like the cows it was time for us to find shelter. The only vague shelter was a narrow bridge that provided at least some relief ..
Luckily the rain did ease off and we continued our adventure albeit sodden. As we approached Great Doddington locks we were treated to a very special sight. It was the unmistakable blue and then the orange flash of the fantastic Kingfisher. Very fast but we watched as it made it's way backwards and forwards across the river, a real treat. We also saw several Terns divebombing into the water. As you approach Wellingborough Embankment two things are very obvious.The first is the old and decaying Whitworths flour mill. A more modern version is built next door , the old one seems to be a luxury pigeon hotel these days. The second thing is the amount of swans (at least 100) that permenantly congregate here. I'm not sure if there is a warm undercurrent or some form of extract from the mill ? Whatever it is the swans seem to love it !

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