Peterborough to Fenelon Falls

Someone said to us that the Trent-Severn Waterway got even more beautiful, the further up you went. This observation was certainly borne out, as we gained height and the terrain changed from the limestone areas to granite as we moved north and west. The waterway twists and turns through clear, sparkling rivers and lakes, with the locks mainly situated in charming small towns and villages.

Beach at Beavermead Park, Little Lake, Peterborough

Beach at Beavermead Park, Little Lake, Peterborough

Peterborough Marina and Waterfront

Peterborough Marina and Waterfront

Peterborough to Fenelon Falls

Peterborough to Fenelon Falls

Peterborough is a lively city and as it was a Saturday night, there was a free musicfest concert in the Millennial Park next to the marina. We went along after dinner to find a large crowd of several thousand already enjoying the show. The group, Spoons, had clearly enjoyed the big time in Canada in the 80s, and had a faithful and enthusiastic following, although we had never heard of them and their music, a little disappointingly, wasn’t of our era.

Spoons performing at Peterborough Musicfest

Spoons performing at Peterborough Musicfest

But the next day, on our way back from reconnoitring the famous Peterborough Lift Lock, and a swim at Rogers Cove on Little Lake, we passed the Holiday Inn where a group called Gunslingers were entertaining ageing rockers and dollybirds while they drank their Sunday afternoon beers and cocktails on the patio overlooking the lake. We definitely fitted the demographic and left the bikes outside, had a beer, and even joined in the dancing.

Approaching Lock 20, Peterborough

Approaching Lock 20, Peterborough

There are two locks at Peterborough, Locks 20 and 21. Lock 21 is the  Peterborough Lift Lock, regarded still as an engineering marvel. Two adjacent holding tanks simultaneously move in opposite directions, to take boats up and down the lock.  No electric power is used and the lock works simply by the weight of water in the upper tank being greater than that of the lower one. The lift is 65 ft – at the time it was built, in 1904, it was the largest structure in the world to be built from unreinforced concrete. It is very quick too – the ascent took only a couple of minutes.

Approaching Peterborough Lift Lock

Approaching Peterborough Lift Lock

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Peterborough Lift lock from the footpath

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Another view from the footpath

At the top of the Lift Lock

At the top of the Lift Lock

 

Ian liked this bridge near Trent University.

Bridge at Trent University

Bridge at Trent University

Waterlilies above Lock 22

Waterlilies above Lock 22

Looking back to Lock 25, Sawer Creek

Looking back to Lock 25, Sawer Creek

Above Sawer Creek, Lock 25

Above Sawer Creek, Lock 25

After several more locks, we tied up at Lakefield, and it was so hot we had a swim from the boat in the narrow channel above the lock.

Just above the lock at Lakefield

Just above the lock at Lakefield

Lakefield was a pioneer settlement established in the 1820s by Col Strickland, whose two sisters, Catherine Parr Traill and Susanna Moodie later joined him. They were both writers and their books The Backwoods of Canada (1836) and Roughing it in the Bush (1852) sound like interesting reading. Many old houses remain.

Regent St, Lakefield

Regent St, Lakefield

16 Albert St, Lakefield

16 Albert St, Lakefield

This house was built by JC Sherin and was owned by the family until the 1980s.

We decided to eat at the Canoe and Paddle, a British-owned pub, despite usually avoiding such places when we’re away. The owners had written the menu in a jokey sort of style, presumably to differentiate their clientele from that of their rivals, the Cassis Bistro, which offered ‘gourmet dishes and fine dining’ and which we did not feel quite up to.

We settled on ‘Fingerlickin’ Chicken Curry – England’s national dish!’ and it fell to our charming waitress to regretfully advise us that they had run out of their Madras with coconut sauce, but we could have Red Thai instead. That did not have quite the same appeal, so Ian decided on haddock and chips, and I ordered a Taco Bowl with pulled pork, remembering just in time to pronounce it Tarko and not Tayko, which seems counter-intuitive to a northern British ear. The food, when it came, was very good.

The river at Lakefield in the evening

The river at Lakefield in the evening

Another of Lakefield’s claims to fame is that Prince Andrew attended a private school there, and an island in Lake Katchewanooka, just above Lakefield, bears his name.

Prince Andrew Island, Lakefield

Prince Andrew Island, Lakefield

Lakefield Beach

Lakefield Beach

The Kawartha Lakes area is reputedly the most beautiful part of the waterway. Over the next two days we travelled through lakes and rivers of crystal clear water, stopping at Buckhorn Lake and then Fenelon Falls. The area is a popular holiday destination for Canadians, and there are many cottages on the shoreline, but for the most part they are unobtrusive and don’t detract from the loveliness of the scenery.

Katchewanooka Lake, Lakefield

Katchewanooka Lake, Lakefield

Clear Lake

Clear Lake

Clear Lake

Clear Lake

Clear Lake

Clear Lake

Lovesick Lake

Lovesick Lake

Lower Buckhorn Lake

Lower Buckhorn Lake

Buckhorn Lake

Buckhorn Lake in the morning

Bob Channel, Bobcaygeon

Bob Channel, Bobcaygeon

Bobcaygeon is a popular place and we had quite an audience at the lock there.

Leaving Bobcaygeon Lock

Leaving Bobcaygeon Lock

Arriving at Fenelon Falls

Arriving at Fenelon Falls

The Lock Wall, Fenelon Falls

The Lock Wall, Fenelon Falls

We were lucky to get a space on the lock wall at Fenelon Falls, as that too is a popular place for boaters to overnight. Not only did a boat vacate a space just as we emerged from the lock, but a nice woman from the next boat appeared on the dock to take the mooring rope, which was just as well, as the crew had not been having a very good day. At the previous lock, we had to wait some time for the lock to empty, and the Captain had had to turn the boat round three times in a confined area before the crew succeeded in securing a rope round the bollard, and even then only with the help of a passerby.

The Captain was not best pleased with this display of crew rope-throwing incompetence, but Fenelon Falls had an ice-cream shop which sold the famous Kawartha Lakes Dairy Ice-cream, and a cornet went some way to restoring his good humour.

 

 

 

11 thoughts on “Peterborough to Fenelon Falls

    • It needed a lot more staff to run it than the conventional lock. There is another one further along at Kirkfield, but that isn’t so high, only 49ft! Then there’s the Big Chute near Port Severn!

  1. What a beautiful part of the waterway trip. I loved the photos and descriptions. Britain’s national dish caused a big smile too. Perhaps you could offer to show them how to make singing hinnies and stottie cake?

  2. Loved the pictures of the lift lock, it must have been a rather weird experience. I also appreciated your descriptions of the Crew’s off day. We have a little motor boat which really hates going backwards and only last week, trying to reverse into our mooring pen this crew helpfully ‘leapt’ ashore, too soon apparently, as we ended up stuck across end of the pen. All apparently my fault and we are presently moored bows to.

  3. I’ve always said ‘tacko’. It never occurred to me it could be pronounced any other way! Mind you, I was shocked when I heard how some Californian friends said San Pedro: they said Peedro!! Wondering now if non-hispanic Americans always mutilate Mexican/S.American/Spanish vowels? Also, why? The originals are so easy.

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