Yesterday evening we walked up to Barford Old Mill lock island. The old lock chamber is still in good condition, but what struck me as unusual was that the walls are scalloped at the water line but straight at ground level, I have seen locks with scalloped walls before, but in all cases the scallops have gone from top to bottom.Sorry I didn’t have a camera with me.
Last night was bright moon light but quite cool, like 3° C. I tried for a photo but this is the best I could manage with the reflection in the river. This morning we were away at 10 am. heading downstream. We met a surprising number of boat during the day and a lot more of the moorings were occupied, it makes you wonder where they came from.
This is the lock with the weak bridge over the weir, it also has a couple of plaques on it. One for when it was built 1972, one saying that the old Staunch was near by. The final one is commemorating Herbert Weatherhead as chairman of The Great Ouse Restoration SocietyJust below the lock and weir looking over to the left hand bank there looks to be what is part of the old Staunch.
I am very pleased to report that St Neots guillotine gate now runs as smooth as a sowing machine, last time we came up here it banged and rattled making the whole concrete lock side vibrate as it juddered up so I suspect the EA have had the suppliers back to sort it out. All the EA need to do now is a bit of gardening so you know which way to go to actually get to the lock.The first time we came this way we missed it and headed down to the weir. At Brampton lock a Narrowboat coming upstream came straight across in front of the weir discharge and didn’t follow the navigation look round to their left. We waved for them to stop, but they just kept coming. When they arrived at the lock a said they were lucky not to get stuck when the chap told me all the locals go straight across and not round the loop, I tried to find out what draught he was but he didn’t seem to know. When we left the lock we went the long way round the loop.
When we arrived at Huntington the shed on a barge was working on the bridge with a scaffolding erected between the foot bridge and the old road bridge, the boat used to push it looked quite a brut as well.
We did look to see if we could find a water point in Huntington but the only thing visible was a push button tap suitable for filling a bucket if your thumb didn’t go to sleep first, no way to fit a hose.
We were making good progress until the last lock of the day, Houghton. Diana was just closing the bottom gate when she spotted a day boat coming up the river, so she opened up again. It was 3 young Chinese couples out for the day. We closed up behind them and two of the lads trotted up with a windlass, we pointed out that end was done, Next where was the key to work the guillotine gate, are its in the ignition, We open the box with our key and they work up. As they were coming out bang and they lose a fender, so they come along side us to retrieve it, very politely I must say. The problem was the speed or lack of it he walked the length of the lock, crossed the gates, back the other side to collected the fender and retraced his steps just as slowly. All we had to do then was get them on their way in the right direction. Probably the best part of half an hour gone.
On the strength of this we decided to stop at Hemingford Grey for the night, when we came up yesterday it was empty, today there were three Narrowboats and seven cruisers when we arrived. We moored on the the town quay using our floating wheelbarrow wheels to keep the cabin side off the concrete edging.
Since we have been here there have been numerous young people rowing up and down the river, I wish I had been that good at their age, I bet some are only 8 or 9.