It was an early start for us this morning and by 8 am we were hanging around below the lock. Just as we arrived the cruiser that had been on the lock moorings locked up onto the tidal Gt. Ouse heading for Kings Lynn and we dropped into his spot on the lock moorings, well our bows did, the rest was under a large willow tree.
I went for a chat with the lock keeper and it seemed it would be some time before we locked out as the tide was so big and a lot of fresh coming down from Bedford. The two limiting factors is the available head room both in Denver Sluice lock and Salters Lode Lock which both have bridges over the chambers. Eventually the Narrowboat ahead locked out to cross on the tidal section with a Narrowboat coming from Salters. Due to the large silt bank the procedure to leave or enter Denver is to follow the New Bedford until you are level with the mouth of the lock and then cross between the silt bank and the sluices. This is the silt bank at low tide so you can see the deep water channel along the front of the sluices.
The boat coming from Salters cut it short and crossed the tip of the bar, he was very lucky to get away with it with his prop stirring up the silt. Once he was clear of the lock we were in. I am laying diagonally on purpose as when I did leave the lock I needed that hard left hand turn to get round behind the bank. As my nose went out into the flow from the New Bedford we turned downstream very rapidly with a bit of heel to port. It was a quick run down to Salters where I left my turn a little late and had to push round the lock entrance instead of sliding straight in. Paul has the lock gate open so you can go straight in which saves the breaks a bit. As we dropped down Diana stepped off to open the offside gate at which point Paul the lock keeper hopped on and left her to it.
The first mile of the Middle Level was quite weedy but after that the MLC had been weed cutting so things were much improved. They dump the cut weed on the banks.
We caught up with and passed the boat that had locked up before us as he had already had 3 trips down the weed hatch and we didn’t see him again. Not long after this we were overtaken by the small cruiser that locked out behind us. The MLC don’t moor their weed cutters, they just park them up against the bank.
The potato crop looks to be doing very well, you only have to see the number of boxes that they transport them in to realise the size of this industry.
As we approached Upwell the banks had been recently cut and for a couple of years there has been an inflatable dingy on the bank, tied up the the railings by the road. You would have thought the driver would have had the sense to move it and not just shred it.
At the church moorings we passed the small cruiser having their lunch, as we passed they said that they had spoken to the Marmont Priory lock keeper and she would lock us down together and that they would be leaving shortly. Sure enough they caught us up before we reached the lock and overtook us as I get steamed up photoing a family of swans.
When we arrived at the lock the cruiser was nestled at the front of the lock and I had to lay diagonally (this is getting a habit in locks) to squeeze in behind him.
Below the lock the level was down by about 6” and the weed growth quite obvious, it can be seen hanging up in the reeds along the fringe.
We saw our friends on their cruiser moored in March at the town mooring and then on the Park Moorings we saw Matilda Rose http://contentedsouls.blogspot.com/ a fellow blogger who we have shouted to before, but never actually stopped to talk to before. We continued on to Floods Ferry and ultimately our trip home.