And the sun did shine

 

Having the team down from Boatfinder Brokerage at the weekend made the opening of White Mills marina later next month even more of a reality.  Visitors new boatingwho came to the marina for the final time before it is filled with water were able to get a real flavour of what life on the waterways is all about and what is involved with buying a narrowboat or wide beam.

We are thrilled to have Boatfinder Brokerage on board, and there was certainly some interest in the range of boats they have to offer. 

We will be hosting another Open Weekend once the marina has been filled up, we are just trying to get a date confirmed that we can work towards. It really can not come soon enough.

Oh yes and once again we were treated to some lovely sunshine too - so the weathermen did get it right.

 

 

 

A lot of leg pulling go on

 
 

We were lucky enough to secure some coverage in last week's Farmers Weekly and it has to be said there has been an awful lot of leg pulling going on from the local farming community since! One friend even joked he was going to cancel his subscription to FW if the content does not improve!  Its all been taken in good heart and we have thoroughly enjoyed the banter! Many thanks Farmers Weekly for such a fabulous article.

 

Three under our belts and one more to go

 
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Well that is the third of our four open weekends now under our belts, and whilst Saturday was very quiet (the cold weather did not help one bit) Sunday was positively busy, in fact it was the busiest day we have ever had, and it was quite simply- great!

There was loads of interest and people were clearly impressed with our location, not only in terms of our easy access, but the amount of stunning countryside that surrounds White Mills - perfect for dog walking and bird watching.  So all in all, a great weekend. Just one more to go on 19th and 20th September before we start welcoming boats to the newest marina on the River Nene next month.  We can't wait!

Oh yes, and Ben (our middle son) took the opportunity to use his drone to take the fabulous picture above of the piling which got underway last week.

 

Every cloud really does have a silver lining

 
 
 
 
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Well that is two Open Weekends now done and dusted and we can not believe how lucky we have been with the weather.  The forecast was not particularly brilliant for the weekend, but luckily the sun shone up until about the last hour and a half on Sunday, when it absolutely bucketed down. Just when we thought nobody would brave the weather to come and pay us a visit they did! And they booked a berth for their 70' narrowboat too.  So the old adage "Every cloud has a silver lining" could not be more true.

We seem to have got into the swing of these weekends a bit more now, and it is great when we get asked questions that we don't know (not a rare occurence mind you!) as it means we have to make it our job to find out, which gives us more valuable knowledge.

Things are still moving along according to plan, and earlier last week, Land and Water had some serious aeriel shots of White Mills taken. They really were stunning;  the surrounding countryside looks amazing, making us both realise how lucky we are to have the opportunity to be able to create something that will encourage people to venture out to our part of Northamptonshire and enjoy what we have been enjoying for years.

 
 

Encouraging start to open days

 
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Well the weather could not have been more perfect for our first Open Weekend this weekend.  The sun shone brilliantly for both days which showed the marina field and surroundingcountryside off wonderfully well.  We had a very encouraging turn out, met some truly lovely people and we even took some bookings. So all in all, a very successful start to the White Mills "journey"!  If you didn't manage to come along this weekend, then make sure you come and pay us a visit 22nd & 23rd August.

Off to do oodles of paperwork now!

Oh yes for the gentleman who asked -

The amount of earth being moved is 10,000 cubic metres

The amount of water to fill marina is 19,760 cubic metres

It will take two days to fill the marina

15,000 tonnes concrete in the marina walls excluding jetties

 

 

 

 

Its an air thing

 
 
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We had such a lovely surprise yesterday when a recent visitor to the farm who is a microlight enthusiast sent us a picture of White Mills taken when he was flying back to Dorset on Monday. What a kind gesture.  It will be so interesting to see what it will look like from the air this time next year.  Full of boats hopefully! 

Not long now until our first open weekend on 8th and 9th August. We have painted and put a new floor down in our little mobile sales office, had two large mooring plans mounted onto board, and are now sorting out refreshments.  Oh yes, we have even invested in a pop up gazebo just in case in rains! (As if!!)

 

White Mills Marina makes the headlines

 
 
 
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The start of the work developing White Mills Marina, didn't just make national headlines, (we were lucky enough to be featured in the July edition of Towpath Talk), but the development was also covered by the Northants Telegraph as well as the Northants Chronicle. which was wonderful.  It was when BBC Radio Northampton called to say they wanted to interview John and me for the Breakfast programme at 7.30am on Wednesday 1st July that we went into a temporary spin!  But that was short very lived as reporter Carol Weston could not have made it easier for us.  Infact, we thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.  What was great was that Radio Northampton expanded the story and went down the River Nene to interview Clive from Willy Watts as well as somebody from Destination Nene Valley whose name escapes me.  So all in all a good result all round. We are now looking forward to reading more news about White Mills Marina as we work towards the opening in the Autumn.

 
 
 

Tony's number one!

 
 
 
 
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When Tony Collins heard that White Mills Marina was being developed just down the road from his family home in Earls Barton, he knew exactly what he would be doing next - buying himself a cruiser!

So without further ado, Tony along with his wife Nina set out to track down the boat of his dreams. And within just a few weeks of searching, Tony found and fell in love with Tutuila ll a 1964 Nauticus 27.

And this weekend Tony popped down to see John and myself at the farm to study the White Mills Marina mooring layout and to pick his berth. And being the first person to secure his berth we obviously had to crack open a bottle of fizz to celebrate.

Since marketing began last week we have had quite a lot of interest in White Mills Marina on the River Nene with numbers of visitors to our site increasing daily.  The hotline has also been ringing too, which is most encouraging.

 
 
 

Open days confirmed

 
 
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Now that it is full steam ahead, we have to start looking ahead, so we are planning a series of open weekends in the run up to the opening of White Mills Marina in October.

The following weekends have been set aside to show people around and to give them the opportunity of reserving their berths before we open.

The dates for your diaries are:

  • Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th August 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd August 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th September 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th September 10am - 4pm

We are also taking a stand at the Northampton Festival of Water 29th - 31st August where we will be bringing along the layout of the mooring plan - so please do come and find us!

 

Nitty gritty

 
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It is so hard to believe that it has been over a month since my last blog. How the time has flown by. Passers by either on the road or on the river may think very little has been going on at the marina field in the past few weeks, but believe you me, behind the scenes there has been a great deal of activity, as the nitty gritty of the plans have been fine tuned, and work schedules put in place for the completion of the project around the middle of October. And I am glad to say that today, we have finally had confirmation from Land and Water that they will begin developing White Mills Marina on Wednesday 1st July. All the hard work by everyone involved has finally paid off. Its amazing to think that within just a few months, we will be welcoming boats to White Mills.

A real boost to the development was in the middle of May when a gentleman telephoned to reserve the very first mooring. He had bought a boat on the strength of the marina opening in the Autumn. It certainly pumped both John and myself up to think like us, he believed in the project so much, even before work had commenced, that he was prepared to put his name down. Fantastic news.

Another big boost was our visit to the Crick Boat Show over the bank holiday.  We spent every day there and used the time to both familiarise ourselves with the boating world, and to chat to as many people as we possibly could. It was a terrific experience, we met so many lovely people. all of whom were very encouraging about White Mills Marina.

On the social media front, a real sense of community is developing both on twitter and facebook, and I am really looking forward to posting up some exciting pictures over the next four months so that everyone can be involved from the very start.

So feeling very motivated and down right excited, building work can not come soon enough,  we are totally ready in every way for this next chapter of our lives to get underway and we look forward to sharing it with you.

 

Boring and boarding

 
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Its been another week of more pre-commencement preparations before work finally gets under way developing White Mills Marina next month.
Not only did the developers send a team in to bore the site, but John also enlisted the help of our youngest son to erect a Coming Soon board on the river bank in time for the busy May Bank Holiday weekend.
Needless to say it took them a lot longer than anticipated as they took the opportunity to chat to as many passers by as possible!
Oh yes! My creativity was also put to the test as I sent out the very first White Mills Marina newsletter - Reflections. I am sure as time progresses, it will get a lot easier. If you would like a copy of May's edition of Reflections, then please email info@whitemillsmarina.co.uk

 

A taste of things to come

 
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We were given a taste of things to come last week, when the development team moved in to dig some preliminary investigative pits.  Hopefully the diggers that are coming in June will be alot bigger than this one in the picture! We still find it amazing to think that by the end of October the field will be transformed into a marina. 

We are now taking bookings, if you want to know more, please call 07802 890874.

 

From flat caps to hard hats

 
 
 
white-mills-marina-renovating-the -ock

What a difference 90 odd years makes and not a hint of health and safety in sight! The twelve men and one boy pictured in around the 1920s probably took months to renovate White Mills Lock on the River Nene in Earls Barton. In those days flat caps were worn instead of hard hats, cranes were precariously perched on large wooden beams, and smoking on the job clearly wasn’t a hazard either!

Today it could not be more different. Last month, over a three week period, a much smaller team of three or four from Drake Towage gave White Mills Lock a complete overhaul. The lock was completely drained down and emptied (the only treasures found this time around were an old bike and a shopping trolley), the guillotine gate repainted and bottom seal adjusted, and the V gates had new pintles and breast timbers installed as well as a steel sill to replace the old timber one.

The refurbishment of the lock could not be more timely, as work is due to get underway on constructing White Mills Marina in June, with a predicted opening date of the end of October.

Picture courtesy of Earls Barton Museum

 

Planning permission achieved

 
 
 
 
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In September 2014, we received the terrific news that permission had finally been granted for us to construct a marina attached to the River Nene, in Earls Barton, which will provide enough moorings for 141 offline berths for narrow boats and cruisers. To be open all year round, White Mills Marina is situated along Station Road in Earls Barton, within easy access of the A45 and at lLock 9 on the River Nene.

It has been designed to provide moorers with all the facilities they would expect to find in a brand new bespoke marina including a purpose built facilities building with toilets, laundry and showers, communal lounge for exclusive use by boaters, as well as a security system to ensure berths are secure and WiFi internet.

The news was welcomed by Councillors from both Earls Barton Parish Council as well as Wellingborough Council, who approved the plans earlier last year.

Chairman of Earls Barton Parish Council, Martin Cahill said: “In February 2014, Earls Barton Parish Council resolved by a majority vote to support the application to build a marina in Earls Barton.  We believe that this will bring increased levels of business and tourism to the area, which can only benefit our village."

Chairman of Wellingborough Council’s planning committee, Cllr Malcolm Ward, said: “We welcome this facility. Back in March 2014 we unanimously offered no objection to the proposal, and indeed we informed the county council that we fully supported it and congratulated the applicant on such an exciting project. We hope that the venture will bring new business and people to the borough.”

Needless to say both we are absolutely thrilled to have been given the go ahead to develop White Mills Marina. The plans really do look terrific and once the marina is up and running we believe it can only enhance the local surroundings, we are now looking forward to seeing the plans become a reality.

Work is anticipated to start on the development in June 2015, bookings are expected to be in high demand, so initial enquiries can be made either via the website or by emailing info@whitemillsmarina.co.uk or by calling 07802 890874.