River Nene: An interesting river, fully navigable from Northampton to the Wash (ocean), it is tidal only to Peterborough. After Oundle, we had some really hot weather, and decided to stay in a lovely mooring outside a pub, which had great gardens, picnic tables,and several boaters to chat with. Apparently, July 1 was the hottest July day on record. We were happy with the heat, though most Britons were melting (and moaning) about the temperature. We cruised up the Nene, through interesting places like Fotheringhay (where Mary, Queen of Scots met her demise, but now a small village, with a mound where the castle was), Oundle (one of the latgest independent schools in the country- we didn’t see the school, though), Cogenhoe with vast caravan park, and on to Northampton, where we spent 2 nights- one on a floating mooring outside the town with a family of swans sleeping in the bank opposite, and one in the town center, where re-provisioning was easy.
Then, leaving the river, we made our way up the 17 locks (narrow locks and SO much easier than the river locks) of the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal. This started off rather poorly: I had a bed sprung-mattress jammed on the prop. That cleared, we encountered very large amounts of floating weed, from the dredging that was being done. That lasted for about 3 locks, then clean cruising as we made good time, on another very nice summer day, to the top of the flight of locks. Through Gayton Junction, we turned right to join the main line of the Grand Union canal, and moored in a leafy tunnel (nice shade!) at Bugbrooke. A well-earned pint at the canal-side local, and a gorgeous evening has made this a great start to July.