A strange thing happened today. My camera like most digital cameras date stamps the photographs. Today it started stamping them with the correct time, I didn’t change anything. Its really strange because its been an hour fast for months.
We pushed off a 10 am and did a large 180° turn to the lock landing, Ibis came and laid beside us. We went to chat with the lock keeper who told us that there was one boat coming up from Salters so we would pass on the tidal section. I went into the lock first and although the lock was filled straight away the lock keeper kept the exit gate gown to water level for some time. This was to prevent me leaving before Salters Lode was ready. With such a high tide there was no sign of the sand banks, they are due to start dredging next week. By the time he gave me the OK to leave a cruiser had joined our convoy. I met the other Narrowboat about 2/3 of the way to Salters and the tide was running out quite slowly. As I approached the lock I slowed to tick over speed and just as I was coming level with the lock, turned hard left and gave it lots of welly. coming straight into the lock mouth clean as a whistle, I had already been warned that there was quite a bit of debris in the lock entrance, but I was not expecting the branches hanging from the guillotine gate which brushed along the cabin side. We locked down onto Well Creek and just before the first bridge I decided to see if it was wide enough to wind, for future reference.
By now the sun’s out and it was warming up a bit, last night it had dropped below freezing again. Crossing the aqueduct the MLC were back pumping from the Middle Level Main Drain below.
We met a Narrowboat in Outwell and lots of canoes from a company called Kingfisher Canoe Trails, http://www.kingfishercanoetrails.co.uk/ one moored in the middle of the moorings outside the Crown Lodge Hotel and one in the crumple zone on Outwell public moorings. The lady that runs them was sitting picnicking on the landing stage at Marmont Priors Lock. The lock was ready for us as we had met a cruiser in Upwell but Maureen was out so we had to work ourselves down.
When we reached the 20 foot river just after the wind farm that was lying idle ( I hope all those who buy green electricity went without Sunday lunch) we turned right along the 20 Foot River, we have never been along here before as about half way along there is a very low bridge but it looked wide enough to turn with luck. The first thing of note was the sewage works outfall that is helping to keep levels up. I wonder if the farmers pay extra for enriched irrigation fluid with their water abstraction licences?
We passed two people fishing and then later another two chaps with a high speed radio controlled toy boat, there still was no wind and the sun was in an ever clearing sky. There is a bend where once a dyke joined the river about a quarter of a mile before Insfield Bridge where I could turn if we couldn’t make it under the bridge.
I approached the bridge very slowly indeed and could see the cabin would go under, but pulled back to move the cooker chimney that was laying on the centre of the roof over against the gunwale and then edged forward. The farmer stopped his tractor on the bridge and jumped out of the cab. I could now see that the pigeon boxes would clear but there were some bolts sticking down so I had to increase the power to straighten up. The only thing in doubt was the tiller and I pulled the pin out which was probably a good move. As I emerged from the other side the tractor driver told me that he had two go under here who topped them selves in the process, not the boats but their heads.
As we left I looked back and could the level indicator board, there isn’t one on the other side which shows a clearance of about 1.6Mt, the book says 1.65Mt but I understand the level is high at the moment. We did about another quarter mile and pulled over for the night on a nice flat fishing peg.