Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ferry Meadow to Fotheringhay

Miles 15.6 locks 6
We stopped at the moorings by the Nene Valley Railway at Wandsford and went for a look around. The train running was made up of continental stock including the steam locomotive. Poor signal tonight means it is not worth trying to publish any pictures but I will have a SVR Bonanza issue later.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Whittlesea to Ferry Meadow

Miles 9.9 Locks 2
We went through Stanground lock at 10.20 this morning just after Shep ( NB Vital Spark) had locked down onto the Middle levels. We are now back on the River Nene travelling upstream for the first time.
Just before we lock out of Stanground Lock back onto the Nene, the lock keepers instructions were "Mind your Head".
Question. What are called Slackers on the River Great Ouse andPenstocks on the Middle Levels?.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

March to Whittlesea

Miles 10.7 Locks 1
It has been far too hot to take pictures today. The Middle Levels gave us one more challenge with the weed just before Ashline lock though we just managed to get through the lock without a visit to the weed hatch. We moored up just after the lock opposite the leisure centre where we went for a swim after walking round the village. Although this village is the ancestral home of all the people who share my surname and knowing that there are still a large number of the same surname in the village we didn't come across any evidence in the church or churchyard. Talking to the vicar between christenings he acknowledged that the name was well known in the village but he omitted to say what for.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Still at March

March to Wisbeach to Kings Lynn
By Bus
Looking towards the mouth of the river Great Ouse here it meets the Wash. The tide is definitely out
We went to Kings Lynn by bus via Wisbeach and had a look around. The new Vancover shopping centre was not there when we last visited in the early 70s to buy our first fridge but the Tuesday Market place is still recognisable.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Outwell to March

Miles 8 Locks 1
As I have said before it is hard not repeating pictures when on an out and back trip. I hope this will suffice for today. A tale of two behinds. A Peacocks tail in the garden of the lock keeper at Marmont Priory.
And the tail of a mobile rocket launcher complete with rocket in field close to March. I think of USSR origins.

Brandon Creek to Outwell via Downham Market

Miles 16 Locks 4
A very pleasant day marred only by the amount of weed on the section of the Middle Levels between Salters Lode and Nordelph, it took 3 hours instead of 2. we arrived at Denver sluice quite early so we decided to lock down onto the relief channel and visit Downham Market. The ancient and modern can be seen in the town square.
Back to Denver Sluice and the passage on the tidal Ouse to Salters Lode. The Trip was on the rising tide or what there was of it (there was no perceptible flow to the river). The locking through Salters lode used the outer set of gates as against the inner ones used when we went upriver

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ely to Brandon Creek

Miles 8.9 Locks 0
A lazy day today so no pics. We are moving down river slowly for out exit from the Great Ouse system at Denver Sluice tomorrow afternoon. We have decided to EAT OUT at the Ship Inn at the junction of the main river and Brandon creek (or The Little Ouse) we went for a walk down to Little Ouse farm where they are selling Diesel at 75p per ltr and, as usual when you don't have a camera they had just finished emptying their floating dry dock with the first paying customer inside the covered dock.

Wicken to Ely

Miles 6.3 Locks 1
An early start today as we wanted to get to Ely early to catch the bus to Cambridge. The view of the cathedral as you approach the city from the south is great.
As it turned out we waited for an hour and a half for the bus so we could have taken our time. Once in Cambridge we went on a tour of the city on an open topped bus, you get all the info on the locations and buildings that way and is save the poor old feet. Our return to Ely was via Newmarket withe all the "Rides" and the race course alongside the road.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lazy Otter to Wicken Lode

Miles 6.3 Locks 1
We have come onto the River Cam today for the first time and once again the character of the river changes. Wide water and wide views and in the main wide steel boats either of the canal narrow boat design or dutch barge design. We didn't stay on the Cam for long as we turned onto Reach Lode after about an hour and are now moored at the start of Wicken load. We decided that there might be too much weed so we walked to the National Trust Nature Reserve at Wicken Fen and then into the village.
Location TL54215 69691

Sunday, June 20, 2010

St Ives to Old West River Lazy Otter Pub

Miles 16.8 Locks 3
This is Holywell the last of the picturesque villages on our way down stream on the Great Ouse. shortly after this the river becomes tidal at Erith and the usual way back is via Hermitage Lock and the Old West River. I am still confused by Erith lock. when we went through on the way up I expected to lock down and we went up instead and this time I don't know what we did . It seemed that we went in, got the ropes on and the gates in front opened, no apparent change in level.
When we went through Erith we looked out for the seals but didn't see anything only the hear that there were 2 a short while later
Now at ref N 52.19.6 W 00.12.3 on the Old West River Close to the Lazy Otter Pub on the A10

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Great Barford to Hemingford Grey to St Ives

Miles 22.1 Locks 7
After a great day at Great Barford the trip to Hemingford Grey was our first time downstream on the Great Ouse. We had a short stop at St Neots to pick up Groceries and a new mobile phone as mine is showing al the signs that the battery is about to fail.
Around 3pm it began to rain but on the plus side we were sharing locks with two cruisers which lightened the load locking. The rain had stopped by the time we arrived at Hemingford Grey and we were able to walk round this very attractive village.
Miles 1.9 Locks 1
A short trip downriver to St Ives where the Civil War Re-enactment Society are Going to Blow up the bridge over the river ( well pretend to ). This is an annual event where the blowing up of the bridge during the English Civil war is commemorated.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

St Neots to Great Barford

Miles 8 Locks 3
Great Barford Church and Anchor Pub

Our plan to sail all the way up the River Great Ouse have been thwarted by a failure at Castle Mill Lock which has resulted in its closure. We are moored outside the Anchor pub in Great Barford a few miles short of Bedford as it offers the last place to moor that has road access as we are meeting Colleagues from the time I was employed by Texas Instruments who had their HQ in the UK in Bedford. Fortunately it is a very good mooring as the pictures that will follow will show, though it is quite a long walk to the single shop for an ice cream and the postcards will have to wait for a post box closer to the river, probably St Neots.
The river above St Neots has changed character again still wide deep water but now it is running with the hill a lit closer and the reaches are more enclosed with willow. The locks have changed too, they are now quite similar to canal locks with top and bottom mitre gates

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Over to St Neots

Miles 20.1 Locks 7
An 8 hour day today but it gained us some time on the journey to Bedford . We should be able to reach there or get close enough to meet up with some old work colleagues. Our first passing place of interest this morning was St Ives. The river is quite picturesque above St Ives at leas the equal to the Thames with small villages with thatched cottages and impressive stone churches instead of suburban towns with expensive riverside property. This pic is Hemingford Greys
We are moored on the council moorings just downstream of the St Neots Bridge alongside the Priory Centre.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ely to Pike & Eel Pub (near St Ives)

Miles 18.3 Locks 2

Photos from each end of our journey today, the first is the river frontage at Ely just before we set out. This is the GOBA mooring just upstream of the Pike & Eel pub just across the river from a village called Over. GOBA is the Great Ouse Boating Association. We were recommended to join as they have moorings up and down the river.

The trip has been one of contrasts, wide rivers at the start and end with the narrow bendy Old West River between Popes Corner and Hermitage Lock. The wildlife has changed too the wide rivers have terns and crested grebes whilst the narrow river had swans and mallards. At Ely there was a black swan swimming about and near 20 penny bridge we saw an oyster catcher.

In this shot we are alongside the Deisel dispensing boat at Westview Marina near Erith. I thought it was just a store for Junk until I went to the office and was told to moor the boat alongside "the cruiser with the pump in the cockpit

Monday, June 14, 2010

Salters Lode to Ely

Miles 15.8 Locks 2
We have done our tidal section today crossing from Salters Lode to Denver Sluice on the ebb. Then a long run up to Ely for tea. We had a quick stroll into the city and went into the cathedral just as evensong had started. What a beautiful sound , the choir in the cathedral.
Tonight's pics Waiting to enter the Lock at Salters Lode. In the lock chamber waiting to lock up onto the ebbing tide. This I was prepared for - Locking DOWN on to the non tidal Great Ouse at Denver felt weird

In Ely it is almost like home we are under the approach flight path for one of the American airbases nearby. Either Lakenheath or Mildenhall

Sunday, June 13, 2010

March to Salters Lode

Poor signal tonight. I will add pictures to this page when a stronger signal is available.
Miles 13.3 Locks 1

A day of contrasts. We set out from March in the sunshine and arrived at Salters Lode in a downpour. The contrast between the open stretches of waterway and those running through the villages of Upwell, Outwell and Nordelph is great, in the villages the navigation is narrow and weedy ( 4 trips down the weed hatch today, two in Upwell and two just outside Nordelph) in the country they are wide and weed free in the centre. The other impression is that the land always appears to be below the level of the navigation and in some places it is very obvious that it is. The approach to Salters Lode is also interesting in that for the first time since coming onto the Middle Levels there are hills on the horizon.
This is our destination for tomorrow Denver Sluice seen from Salters Lode

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Peterborough to March

Miles 19.3 locks 3
We are now on the Middle levels at March. Two shots of the town moorings below. The navigation started narrow and weedy but soon we were in the big sky country with long straight stretches with a bend at the end very similar to the River Witham downstream from Lincoln.

We have checked with the lock keeper at Salters Lode for a time for locking through to Denver Sluice and the Great Ouse and we wont be able to get there for tomorrows passage so we will be going at 9.30 am on Monday.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wadenhoe to Fotheringhay to Ferry Meadow

Wadenhoe to Fotheringhay
Miles11.4 Locks 5
After a meal in the Kings Head at Wadenhoe and a nights sleep we travelled via a stop in Oundle for diesel to Fotheringhay. We moored below the castle mound and hoped that the spirit of Mary Queen of Scots (who was executed there) was not about. what we did get was a lady collecting GBP 4.00 mooring fees and spouting doom and gloom about the weather forecast for June
Fotheribghay to Ferry Meadow
Miles 16.1 locks 6
Ferry Meadow is a country park on the outskirts of Peterborough we are moored on pontoons at the side of a lake.
The Nene Valley Railway runs alongside the river and we saw a loco (a Class 5 ) moving out of Wandsford. It has been back and forth up and down all afternoon, probably on driver training as thee is no official timetable today and it never came as far as Ferry Meadow Station. For the railway buffs the next two photos show Nene Valley SETTRACK at 12" to the foot.

We will be leaving the River Nene tomorrow and entering the Middle Levels Navigation for the connection with the River Great Ouse.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Two days

Tuesday 8/6/2010 Irthlingborough to Thrapston
Miles 9.7 locks 5
Started in the rain this morning and before we got to the lock the rain had eased but the prop was fouled with weed again so it was down the weed hatch to clear it off. The rain was coming on and off and the river improved. Near woodford we spotted a Red Kite for the first time and we continued to see them throughout the day. Stopped at Thrapston and went for a walk into the village.
Mooring by ThrapstonWednesday 9/6/2010 Thrapston to Wadenhoe.
Miles 5 Locks 2
Not far today as our travelling companions wanted to stop at their favourite moorings. A walk up to the church and later round the village soon showed us why.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Still at Irthlingborough

We haven't moved today we have been to nearby Rushden where we lived between 1973 and 1985
visiting old acquaintances and looking at the changes to the town.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Cogenhoe to Irthlingborough

Miles 12 Locks 10
We set off from Cogenhoe as the mist was clearing. the river was very weedy for the first 3 miles and one time I had to stop and clear the prop via the weed hatch. By the time we stopped in Wellingborough fo a visit to Tesco to top op the liquid refreshments the sun was just peeking through the clouds By the time we went Through Ditchford lock with the offal processing plant behind it was getting dark with a thunder storm in the offing.
It didn't take long to come and by the time we has passed Higham Lock and got to within hundreds of yards of the mooring beside the Rushden & Diamonds sports complex the heavens had opened. So we put the cover up in a downpour only to have it finish just as the covers were up.
On a more pleasant note it has been a good day for bird watching we have seen Common Terns, Common Buzzards (5), Cormorants (3) Kingfishers (2) and a solitary Tufted Duck

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Gayton Marina to Cogenhoe

Miles 10 Locks 23
We have reached the River Nene. We arrived in Northampton at midday and locked onto the river. On the way we passed under the M1 alongside Rothersthorpe services. This is how it looks under the motorway. The locks on the River Nene are quite different from those on the canals, the main difference can be seen in the next pic where the Mitre gates of the canals are replaced by a Guillotine gate. Thankfully most are electrically operated and all you do is press a button. We do expect to come across some that have to be raised by hand turning a wheel. I hope it is not my day for operating the locks when we meet one
We are now moored on the water meadow by Cogenhoe lock

Friday, June 04, 2010

Norton Junction to Gayton Junction

Miles 12.7 Locks 7
The first pic really belongs to yesterday at sunset butit was taken at Norton junction our starting point for today. This will be aour last full day on the canals as we descend the locks of the Northampton flight onto the River Nene (pronounced Nen if you come from these parts). This afternoon at Gayton Marina. we will stay here and start our descent to the Nene tomorrow.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Brinklow to Norton Junction

Miles 18.7 Locks 9 Long Tunnel 1
We came off the Northern Oxford Canal about lunch-time and headed south on the Grand Union Canal through Braunston Tunnel to Norton Junction where the Leicester arm leaves the main line. As with rest of the country it has been wall to wall sunshine today the factor 30 sun block went on before 8 am. Tho pics tonight of the locks at Braunstone.

Braunston Bottom Lock Lock No 3

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Atherston to Brinklow

Miles 20.4 Locks 10
A misty start to the day as we climbed the Atherstone flight into the town where we stopped for some provisions. As the day wore on we passed through Nuneaton and skirted the top of Coventry and onto the Northern Oxford Canal. We passed under the M6 at about 3 pm and moored up at Brinklow at 5.30.
The picture feature tonight is the Charity Dock boatyard at Bedworth. The pictures say it all. Pics will be loaded tomorrow poor connection tonight

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Huddlesford Junction t Atherstone

Miles 15.8 Locks 4
Only 4 locks today 2 just before lunch time at Glascote near Tamworth and the bottom two on the Atherston flight just before we moored up. We will be completing the ascent tomorrow with a pause below lock 5 to visit the shops in Atherston itself. For those readers who like to know exactly where we have been we have passed through “in the correct sequence” Whittington, Hopwas, Fazeley, Tamworth and its suburbs of Glascote and Ammington, Alvecote and Polesworth. For the aficionados of the railways these names may sound familiar as we are travelling alongside the West Coast Main line.
Have you ever wondered why it is always hard to put dry gloves on wet hands which has been the story of my life today steering in the rain , which, I think we have all had today. Changed gloves once because of them being soaked and numerous times to get things from my pocket. Still the forecast is for improvement from now on. I hope so I would hate it if we had one rainy day out of three for the next two months.

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