One of the great things about starting work at 1800 is that once the dogs are walked and I've done the 'honey-do' jobs, as my friend in Louisiana calls them, the day is my oyster - so I oystered off to Lower Ringstead lock on the River Nene.
The get-in is by Willy Watt's marina
With little flow it is a serene paddle into the final mist being burnt off as I paddle upstream
Best put a map in at this stage - the duck's beak at the top right is pointing at the get-in; the turn around point is an inch to the right of the word 'Little' at the bottom......wouldn't think I've got navigational qualifications would you?
I paddled into the new-ish marina and nosed about - quite a pretty place I thought
Then out through the arches to get to the sluice pool
Then it's a just a few yards to Upper Ringstead lock - it was quite amusing to hear a guy calling out 'Does the canoeist need a hard hat boss?'
But there is some serious engineering going on inside the lock
There is a stub of water river right and you can just get past the disused railway bridge that is now a cycle-way.....another two months and you won't be able to get anywhere near it with reeds
But it is an enchantingly beautiful place to enjoy the sunshine
Back on to the main navigation and a little further upstream to the Addington backwater that bypasses Upper Ringstead lock
It is one of those places that you can either paddle through in 10 minutes or you can spend an hour drifting
A sort of SotP shot - the new shoots in the foreground will grow fast and completely change the character within a month or two
Even a rusty old bridge somehow blends in to its surroundings
Why would you rush through here?
If you rush you probably wouldn't notice a swan feather blown against a fresh water mussel shell
My only company
I think the reeds give this place a lovely atmosphere
....with the golden reflection appearing to colour the whole scene
A common sight on Nene backwaters - a rather low bridge which is a real hazard in high conditions
Back on the main navigation - looking upstream towards the lock and the route into the sluice pool
I always think I'm entering a different world when I paddle though here
Returning to Willy Watt's - river right to Lower Ringstead lock and the end of a cracking two hours on the river.