Friday 22 July 2011

The Big Move is OVER Floods Ferry

After an undisturbed night by the rowing lake we woke to a sunny morning, again we had to set sail earlier than usual so after saying goodbye to our neighbours, well a wave, we were away by quarter to nine and heading out to the main river, down through the town and passed all the boats moored against the park who had not been cut adrift, set on fire, spray painted or even had the stuff nicked off the roof over night.

Opposite the park we turned right off the main channel down Morton Leam for about half a mile, passed Peterborough BoatDSCF6277 Centre where diesel id 88p lt and a house that is obviously the base for the local pirates  until we came to Stanground Lock. We arrived at 9 30 but were not booked through until 10 am. While we waited a second Narrowboat arrived and tied beside us, they were booked for 9-45 and as soon as the 9-30 boat coming off the Level left they were on their way down, closely followed by us. Chatting to the lady lock keeper I found out that the lock has been quite busy for the time of year and that she had another 15 boat booked for today.



It was very pleasant meandering down the Middle Level in the warm sunshine. There was not enough wind to turn the wind turbines and the smoke from the brickworks was slowly drifting skywards.

DSCF6286It wasn’t long after this hat we came upon another strange dwelling that caught my eye.I am not sure who the occupants are but I feel sure I have seen them on TV at some time.


The next place of interest is Whittlesey with its very tight DSCF6283right angle bend, it is possible to get a full length Narrowboat round it just, but you will probably need to use a rope or pole to do it. Just prior to the bend there are two pubs, just about opposite each other on ether side of Kings Dyke. One is The Boat and as you can see is bright blue the other is The Hero of Aliwa.  

We stopped for lunch on the moorings just above Ashline Lock next to the recreation ground and while we were there several boats came up the lock and a Narrowboat went down, When the last pair of cruisers came up we went down, as its necessary to leave this lock empty, so it saved them the trouble of turning the lock after leaving.
DSCF6291The next part of the Middle Level is fairly straight with very little of interest until you come to the Meridian Line which is symbolised by a plaque. It was not much further to our new mooring at Floods Ferry. When we arrived there were several empty berths and we had no idea which was ours. so we slipped into a vacant slot and walked up to the office, unfortunately there was no one there so I have left a message on the answer phone and asked them to contact me when they return so that I can put Harnser into the correct spot.

Thursday 21 July 2011

The big move day 9 Peterborough rowing lake

Last night we ate at The Crown Elton, this is probably the most expensive pub we have visited this trip but very enjoyable. 
When we returned to the boat the wind had died right away and the water was like a mirror, not a ripple to be seen. Some chaps DSCF6251fishing below the lock caught a 15 1/2 lbs. fish just below the lock and the boats moored across the river looked as if they were floating on glass.

Today we had planned to leave about 9 am as we needed to get to Peterborough, as I walked the dog along the bank I met to fishermen, a few years older than me, one said “is that your truck” pointing to our boat, I had already overheard it was moored on his favourite fishing spot. I told him we would be departing as soon as I got back with the dog and he was very appreciative. By now it was quarter to nine and Diana wandered down to the lock to get it set ready, by now many of the boaters opposite were up and about, but we had a clear run.

As we made our way down stream we passed under a concrete bridge at Wansford which carries the A1 that stands on the old county boundary of Huntingdonshire and Soke of Peterborough with the information cast on each side of the river. 


It has the date cast into the centre of the arch MCMXXVIII which I think is 1928.

DSCF6260Not long after this we came to what must be the prettiest mill on the whole river that stands beside Waternewton Lock.

As we pushed on we came to the Peterborough Yacht Club, a fine title for a fine body of people. This is a boat club on the banks of the Nene that not only sells diesel at a very fair price but they are also very welcoming to visiting boats and boaters. They have a section of there quay right outside their club house that is reserved for visiting boats with a big sign saying welcome to visiting boats, how different to some of the clubs we have passed with their Private and No Mooring signs. I stopped and filled up with diesel at 80p/lt but they only do a 60/40 split so not good for live aboard boats that don’t move much.
As we waited for Orton lock to fill we were joined by DSCF6272another Narrowboat, we had only seen one other all morning. Below the lock there is major construction work on-going and the temporary lock landing is well downstream of all the construction work. The water flow below the lock has very confused eddies which draws the boat out to the right as you leave the lock. The boat we shared with was going to moor for the night at the Rowing lake like us, but in our case we had to go into town first to pump out the loo tank. That’s one of the good things about this area, the pump outs are free, so we were able to give the tank a good flush out. Whilst there we also topped up the water tank, that’s one of the poor things, you can go a couple of days without seeing a water tap so you need to fill up when the opportunity arises. The one in Peterborough is like the ones on the Thames, a 1” fire reel so the tank fills in minutes. I wonder in fire hoses are made from food grade pipe?
This exercise was followed by turning round and heading back upstream for 20 minuets and then turning sharp right into the stream that runs alongside the rowing lake to moor at the end.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

The big move day 8 Elton

The boat we towed yesterday afternoon with no drive called out and joined RCR who fitted a couple of lengths of 15mm copper pipe in the feeds to his calorifier, the old flexible ones had sagged onto his gearbox coupling and worn through. He then traced the lack of drive to a lack of oil in the gearbox

Yesterday evening we walked into the village and had dinner at The Chequered Slipper in the village of Ashton. The history of the village is very interesting and worth a few minutes read.

KiteYesterday I posted this photo of a Kite which I thought was supporting wing tags, thanks to a posting from Dr Neill it looks as if this bird was tagged in Rutland If you follow the link you will see much more information on tagged Kites.

We set off from our mooring in the weir channel at about 10 30 am but it was 11 am by the time we cleared the lock, ahead of us was a Narrowboat with 2 ladies who pulled there boat into the lock on ropes and a cruiser sterned Narrowboat with a couple, the husband was 89 and was giving me nightmares. Both boats were well tied up before anything else happened.  He had his own handle to fit the lock wheel but he needed spanners to remove it, so once the lock was open for them to leave we had to wait while he removed it. he then insisted his wife through the centre line over the other boat so he could pull her across once the other boat had left and so it went on. I was pleased there were two of them and I didn’t have to share with ether.
Once we left the lock I went at canal speed to ensure they got well ahead and when we arrived at the next lock they had gone.

There was no one moored at Fotheringhay above the bridge and only a few below. One of the boats moored below was nb. Moriarty  who are the new occupants of our old mooring at Napton. As we approached Warmington lock we could see the two boat that we had been following above the lock, but they were both moored on the offside with no one on board, so I expect they have walked over to Eaglethorpe for lunch. The river use to run through Eaglethorpe in a large loop but the lock has now bypassed the village by quite a bit.

We carried on to moor just above Elton Lock, I think we have moored on the wrong side and should be on the same side as the old mill, but we have stopped just before the lock landing as the water is deeper and the land flatter for getting Magic on and off.

The weather today has been cool with a few light showers and very little sun shine, the other thing we have noticed today is more irrigation pumps sitting on the bank ready to water the crops.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

The big move day 7 Tuesday

After we had eaten dinner we walked up the hill and round the church, the view across the hills from the top is quite good. DSCF6230The overnight  mooring was a very quiet, the only thing to disturb the evening was 3 people in a canoe coming by and back in the dark, not in my opinion the most sensible thing to be doing. our neighbours for the night were two long horn cows with a calf, but they didn’t disturb us at all.

This morning we were away at our normal time of about 10 am. the boat moored a little way upstream left at the same time so I went upstream to where he was moored to wind as the river was a bit wider there.
The morning started off very warm and it was strange to be going along with the hot sun on my neck and able to see the rain falling in the distance, it did manage to catch up with us about half an hour before we moored up for the day.

We have seen quite a few Buzzards and Kites today as the riverKite ran beside the woods and I managed to get a few photographs, looking at them after we had moored up it looks as if this one has a pair of tags on his wings, but I may be wrong.


We met a couple of boats on our way down, the first was heading back to Milton Keens as they only had a weeks visitor licence, the second was on their way out from the Middle Level they had bought 3 one day licences at £7 to do the Nene and then two 1 month licences for BW waters.

We have moored for the night above Ashton Lock on the weir stream, This is quite long but there were only 2 spaces big enough for a Narrowboat when we arrived a 1 p.m. We luckily chose the first. After lunch the boat that had been moored in front of us last night arrived and as they had helped us moor I offered them to breast beside us, however they felt they could get in the gap further down, so we went to take their ropes. We got them in OK but then found there was a wasps nest right beside their fore deck, needless to say the decided not to stay and have moved to moor on the outside of a friends boat.

Since we have been here a wide beam has been down, turned round and left, we did offer him the chance to breast as he went by, which is much more than he did for us last night when he was moored outside the pub and we were looking for somewhere to stop.

A Moored Narrowboat has decided to move on, he untied got to mid stream and then lost drive. I started Harnser, untied and we went and got him and towed him back to where he was moored, so its gear box or drive plate problems for him.

We have had heavy showers with thunder and lightning and to top it all the EA managed to squeeze their van passed all the mooring pins to drive down to the lock and back.

Monday 18 July 2011

The big move day 6 Wadenhoe

It was a bit windy over night so we were pleased to have a secure mooring.

An early start was called for this morning as we were to meet Graham and Brenda at Thrapston for lunch. The morning show was was out as we were getting short of water, we had expected to be able to fill up here last night, but not only is the pump out not available, nor is the water point.

It was quite a bit cooler this morning, enough to need a jumper on as we set off at 8 15 am. We didn’t see another boat on the move all morning. As we approached Thrapston bridge I could see Graham moored on the visitor moorings up a small cut on our left. He had gone in backwards so I thought it best to do the same. It is a very tight entrance for a Narrowboat. The entrance turns across the flow through the multi arched bridge and then bend round almost 90 degrees so the mooring is almost parallel to the river. 
Town Mooring
View Thrapston Town Moorings in a larger map

The way I approached it was to just let my bows enter the navigation arch of the bridge and then start reversing towards the town mooring, I then used my bow thruster to drive the bows to the right and against the flow of the river. At this point I was travelling backwards, across the current and upstream but close to the bridge. It is not something I would have tried if there had been any more flow on the river. As I got further into the moorings I was getting clear of the river flow and just had to turn right and come in beside Graham.

Once moored we could refill the water tank again while we had tea and cake courtesy of Brenda with them and the local EA officer. Once this was all taken care of we went for lunch at The Woolpack They only do bar meals at lunch time but Brenda had a good pile of sandwiches made with brown bread, served with chips while the rest of us had ham, double eggs and chips. It was all very nice, washed down with a couple of pints of bitter.
After lunch we said our goodbyes after discussing the best way to continue my journey down stream. It was thought that to turn out or the moorings and go up stream, turn and then come down through the bridge, but I thought that as I had got in from having my bows under the bridge I should be able to get out that way. So I went out very slowly forward aiming straight across the river until the flow caught the bows and carried them under the arch, I put the rudder over hard to the right , gave it lots of power and went cleanly through the main arch, unlike the chap last winter who had to be rescued by the fire brigade when he failed to get through the arch.

We met our only boats of the day on the next stretch of river, 1 Narrowboat and the Environmental Agency’s weed cutter. This is an interesting craft as the wheel house is mount on DSCF6222hydraulic rams so that it can be lowered to pass under the many low bridges, there was only 2 Mt's headroom under Islip foot bridge when we went under it so it was less when the weed cutter came this way this morning.


DSCF6224There was quite a bit of water coming over the top gates of Titchmash Lock as usual, it was suggested that we may as well not open the top paddles as the lock would soon fill with the overflow.  Once we were in the lock and it was empting we had quite a build up of foam around the back of the boat. While we were locking down the second Narrowboat of the day arrived below the lock waiting to lock up so we warned him about the weed cutter ahead. We had hoped to moor at The Kings Head opposite Wadenhoe lock but there was no space so we turned back upstream and moored below Wadenhoe Church for the night.

Sunday 17 July 2011

The big move day 5 Irthlingbourough



Yesterday evening the weather improved quite a bit and by the time we went to bed the wind had died away and the moor was lighting up the sky.


DSCF6184We woke to a bright morning with little wind, the boat  ahead of us had already left. I went up onto the flood wall to take this shot of our mooring. It was OK but we did hear the traffic on and off throughout the night.
We set off at our normal 10 am start and turned sharp left DSCF6186through the flood door and on to our first guillotine lock of the trip. Most of the gates are automated now and you just have to stand with your finger on the button for about 30 seconds to raise them, but before anything will happen you have to have the top mitre gates completely closed, If a bunch of weed gets between the top gates then the guillotine gate lifting mechanism is locked out. When you leave the lock you have to leave it with the gate raised. This means that going down stream you have to drop the gates and fill the lock before you can enter, but then you don’t have to hang about when you leave the lock to close it all up.
Just through the lock is the Northampton Boat club, this is an AWCC club but it doesn’t look very inviting to passing boaters with all its “No Mooring” and “Private”  signs. A little further down DSCF6191stream and you are in Billing Aquadrome land, they have a marina, static caravan site, touring caravan site, Off road driving course and also host several large events, this weekend it was a Landrover gathering with dozens of them on the camp site and the more serious ones on the off-road course.
As we passed the entrance to Billing Marina a cruiser shot out behind us and followed us down stream so we were expecting to share a few locks with him, however as we entered the lock cut to Cogenhoe lock he turned round, but there was a narrowboat waiting to enter the lock, so we had someone to share with after all.

DSCF6194At Whiston Lock not only was there a boat about to leave the lock which meant we didn’t have to fill it it but there was quite a bit of flotsam in the river above the lock, I have no idea why this had all collected at this particular lock but it was quite thick.

DSCF6200At Earls Barton Lock we were watched by a family of rather fine horses, I take it this is where the saying “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch” yours comes from.

The other boat left us just below Woolaston lock to take up there new moorings in the weir stream and we spent the rest of the day travelling alone.

DSCF6210There were a few boats moored in Wellingborough by the park, but we didn’t fancy this as its right opposite the mill which emits a constant whine, so we carried on to the Irthlingborough moorings outside the Rushden and Diamonds football ground. The football club use to sponsor these moorings and there use to be a DSCF6206toilet pump out and fresh water point available on the moorings as well as showers and toilets in the club building. Unfortunately since the club has been in administration these facilities have been closed, a great lose to passing boaters. When we arrived there at 4 30 pm there were only one other boat moored here, by 7 pm there are 5 of us.

Saturday 16 July 2011

The big move day 4 Weston Favell

We took Magic out for his late night walk down passed the lock, the lock was empty so I was able to see through the water to the bottom, the cill only being a few inches below the surface. This lock is home to the biggest Signal Crayfish I have ever seen, they are like small lobsters.  I wouldn’t want to be swimming round with them nipping my toes.

Well last nights moorings were so quiet you would have heard a ghost walk by. We were not set adrift, nothing was pinched, we were not set fire to. The first thing we heard was voices as some people passed at 4 am. and I jumped out of bed with the shock. The next thing we heard was the rain on the roof and it was almost time to get up.

With the rain bucketing down we were not keen to get away, Diana took Magic out and he was well soaked when they came back. We pushed off about quarter to eleven and just as we were leaving the bottom lock of the Northampton Arm a boat came off the river to go up, so they should have a good but damp run.

I didn’t realise that the new marina was above the lock, I assumed that it was going to be built below on the park to the left. It looks quite nice with a powered sliding fence/gate to shut it off from the park. DSCF6165

Just above the first lock someone  has painted the brick face of an old bridge on the off side so they must have done it from scaffolding or a boat. It was ten past eleven when we entered the first lock on the Nene.

By now it was raining harder and there were some poor chaps working on the roadway/towing path just below the lock, I think they thought we were mad being out in this weather for pleasure when they had to work in it, still we were better dressed for it than they were. It always amazes me how poorly lots of works dress for the British weather, very few have waterproof coats/jackets and you hardly ever see waterproof trousers, even the farm labourers and road workers of years gone by had a long coat to put on in the rain.

Do the rowers on this river have a death wish? We came onto the wide straight section that goes under the A45 road bridge and leads to Rush Mill lock when a lad rowing came towards us rowing right up the middle of the river so I kept well right to give him room to pass. After probably 150 Mt he turned and cam back down the river but this time not in the middle but right behind me. I had to blast the horn to stop him ramming me from behind. As we approach the A45 bridge a girl rower shoots out from my left across in front of us, as I had seen her coming I had slowed right down, as she was now on my side I stopped, she in turn straightened up and was rowing full chat up the wrong side of the fiver towards me ready to hit me head on. Do they not realise that 18 ton of steel is not going to bounce out of the way if they hit it. She looked round just in time to dig the blade in and slew it one side before sliding passed, nether apologised for there behaviour or causing me to take avoiding actions.

We pushed on through another couple of locks meeting a boat who had just left Abington Lock, for some reason they had made a half hearted attempt to close the top gate behind them, not enough so that a following boat would not have to walk DSCF6167up and close it, but to much for me to sail in without letting Diana off to open it first. There is a steady flow of water over the top gates of this lock but it only has a small fall so not much chance of swamping a boat coming up.

We then went through the first of the automatic sluices onto the Washland Flood relief scheme relief channel. The gate on this sluice lays on the bed of the channel and is hinged up on ropes in time of flood, but the actual gate is mounted the opposite  way to what you would expect on a river as its designed to stop flood water coming upstream, not flowing down. At the far end of the relief channel there are 48 hour EA floating moorings about 150 foot long, as there was on boat on them already we tucked in behind them to stop for lunch at about 1 o’clock. Needless to say as soon as we stopped so did the rain.

This afternoon the sun has come out but the wind has freshened and while we have been moored here another boat has tried to get in, we said they could breast on us, but with the wind they were unable to get back up the arm.

Friday 15 July 2011

The Big Move Day 3 Northampton

Last night we went out for dinner with Richard and Rachel to The Heart of England which is almost canal side at Weedon. This is owned by the same brewery as The Boathouse in Braunston and although it was all right with good service we didn’t think it as good as the Braunston one.

This morning we said our goodbyes and set off at 0945 hrs. in pleasant weather. The first stop was Stowe Hill where we topped up with diesel at 82p.

DSCF6145On passed High House Wharf where the topiary is still being trained by the bridge





DSCF6153For those of you who know an old Springer Narrowboat called Badger, she is still looking splendid moored on  the offside as you approach Gayton. She obviously went to a good home.

At Gayton junction we turned left onto the Northampton Arm and stopped at the services to top up with water. There is a metal box on the wall of the services that was put there by the Northampton Branch of IWA, you require a BW key to open the door and according to what is written on the lid it should contain guides to the Northampton Arm, unfortunately it was empty.

Just down the Arm on the right hand side is a rather strange summer house, well I assume its a summer house, it could be a granny flat.



We stopped for lunch opposite Gayton Marina, to DSCF6155get into the marina basin the swing bridge has to be opened, this is fully automated, complete with road barriers and audible warning bleeper, I don’t know if its normally left open to boat traffic or road traffic but I wouldn’t want to spend to long listening to it. DSCF6156

Gayton sell FAME Free red diesel i.e. it doesn’t contain any Bio Fuel. Bio Fuel can be hydroscopic and hold water which could lead to diesel bug. but at the moment it is 99p lt. for domestic and £1 49 for propulsion.


Following lunch we headed off to the locks, we couldn’t see anyone ahead of us but there was a boat following. We arrived at DSCF6159the top lock at quarter to three and as expected the lock was empty, with a single top gate and mitred bottom gates when they leak they tend to empty, but there was plenty of water in the flight so no problem. After doing the second lock we caught up with another boat. At first we thought he was single handed but as it turned out he had a disabled wife who used an electric scooter to travel from one lock to the next, she was able to stand to raise the paddle on the towing path side and push the gate open but was unable to operate the bottom gates or cross the lock. Diana went ahead and told them just to leave the bottom gates open when they went out as we would pick them up, but even so they were very slow and in most cases Diana helped to open the bottom gates as well while I waited in the lock above.DSCF6163
We followed him all the way down to lock 13 where he had pulled over as his wife was unable to negotiate the slope under the motorway and allowed us to pass him. In return we back set all the locks for him.

We moored for the night at quarter to seven by the flats just above the bottom lock as I didn’t fancy going out onto the river this late and then trying to find somewhere to moor e . The second boat to come by kindly informed my that a friend of his mate moored here last year and got untied during the night. I wonder how many places on the system some one has not been let lose at night and its only a canal, not a flowing river.

Thursday 14 July 2011

The Big Move day 2 Weedon

Well to say last night was a mistake was an understatement, weDSCF6126 walked  up to The Kings Head at Napton, there was a car in the car park and I think there were 2 people in the bar. I asked if we could eat only to be told they had finished doing food, well it was 8 o’clock. They have more signs than any other pub in the area along the canal advertising how great the place is, no wonder its empty, I bet the Folly and the Bridge weren’t empty at 8 p.m. so it was back to the boat for a tin of stew and dumplings.
The moorings here are a bit shallow, I couldn’t get the back in, but by the time we turned in for the night there were 4 boats moored here.

This morning started early with boats passing well before we were about. the sun was streaming in and we pushed off at 9 30 am. Diana has a sniffle and I have the Flu, well I am a man.

DSCF6129BW are hard a work piling where the bank has collapsed but all there equipment makes looking through the bridge hole for oncoming traffic a bit difficult.


We made steady progress to Braunston DSCF6137where we filled with water and emptied the rubbish. The old boat on the puddle Banks has sunk again, but it now has a trade plate attached to the cabin side. The other sunken hulk is also still there.

As we made our way to the bottom lock two boats were coming out and a single handed lady waiting to go up so we slid in with her. We were lucky in meeting boats in most pounds but we did catch up with 2 boats going up at the third lock which was surprising. As we left the top lock the hotel pair Duke and Duchess were coming down. Braunston tunnel is the driest I have ever known it with only two drops of water on the roof all the way through. We didn’t meet anyone in the tunnel but we were following the boat that locked up ahead of us which limited our speed somewhat.

At Norton Junction we found “Sunset” a Rose hire boat moored up with Richard and Rachel on-board. We met them on there last canal holiday when they went south along the Oxford. After saying hello we both set off down the flight, the top lock was full and one gate was open so things were looking good. We met several boats in the flight, so we were saved shutting most of the gates when we left. One of the pounds was well down as canDSCF6140 bee seen from this moored boat which is hard on the bottom with its propeller on view. We continued south both mooring for the night at Weedon. One things for sure, passing boats don’t slow down in these parts. We will have another try at eating out tonight, there must be somewhere in Weedon that does food.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

The Big Move day 1 Napton

We made good time getting to the boat, as we drove over the  canal between Napton and Southam we spotted or friends from Suffolk on their boat, so a quick blast on the horn and pulled to the side of the road for a chat. It turned out they were only going as far as The Folly that night so we would see them later.

We left our moorings at about 4 p.m. for the very last time and moved down to the lock to load up following a Viking hire boat, this worked quite well because by the time it was our turn to enter the lock we has finished loading up.

We had a reasonable run down the flight having to turn a few locks and just over halfway down we were met by John, windlass in hand who had walked up from where he had moored to give us a hand. There were a couple of spaces on the bend by The Folly but it was a nice evening and we decided to push on. All the moorings by The Bridge were taken so we have moored just before Napton Narrowboats, surprisingly there is only one other boat moored here, its normally full when we pass and we intend trying the food at The Kings Head.

Friday 1 July 2011

Canoe Trip from Geldeston

On Thursday Diana and I hired a Canadian canoe from Rowan Craft at Geldeston for 3 hours. It was a bright sunny morning with little breeze.  We set off from the boatyard down their cut and under the disused railway bridge. From here it was passed the 2IMG_0035hr.. visitor moorings that are very hand for walking into the village to visit the Wherry pub or buy home made chutney from the farm shop. It was a straight run from here to the junction with the river Waveney where we turned hard left towards Beccles. There was very other little traffic about but we had been warned that the Broads Authority weed cutter was out, this was one of the few boats we were to meet on our trip. When we IMG_0010did meet it they took the trouble to stop and tell us that a grass snake was swimming across the river, we stopped and it swam straight into the side of the canoe before turning round and heading back from whence he came.
IMG_0011Just after that we were overtaken by another canoe that had been hired from Beccles, it looked a lot easier to propel than ours did so I may enquire about hiring one of them next time.

IMG_0013The next vessel we saw was Big Dog Ferry, this runs from Beccles Lido to the Locks public house on a regular schedule.

The only other boat we saw was a small aluminium dingy powered by an outboard engine. There was only one chap on-board and the bows were well out of the water. We only went as far as the pump station before turning round and heading back upstream. There was only a light breeze blowing down the river but it made a surprising difference to our progress.
Back at the junction we IMG_0023turned left again to follow the Waveney towards it source and it wasn’t long before we reached the head of navigation, there is not chance of missing this as it has a low foot bridge crossing the river, this takes the footpath from the Locks pub to Barsham. It may be low and it may be the limit of navigation but in a canoe you can slide under it quite easily, which is just what we did and carried on upstream for about another three quarters of a mile. before turning round yet again. In years gone by sailing wherries you to go all the way up to Bungay and beyond. We are going to see how far we can get another day.
On our way back downstream we turned off to the left just before the bridge to see if we could get round to the tail of Geldeston lock, or to use its correct name Shipmeadow Lock. The bridge that marks the limit of navigation is actually on a new cut that by passes the lock. We were doing quite well round the horseshoe bend and probably over three quarters of the way there before our way was totally blocked forcing us to go back. We passed back under the footbridge and then up the old line of IMG_0025the river through the lock, this took us in front of The Locks inn and the BA 24 hr. visitor moorings before going through the old lock chamber and under another very low foot bridge, its hard to tell where the old navigation went from here as its so overgrown with reeds and trees, we did try creeping round to the right but still couldn’t join up with where we were earlier.
IMG_0030By now time was getting on and we headed back to base, On the way we met another group of boaters who we think had started at Beccles and were from Gresham School as their trail was at the boatyard when we arrived waiting for them, the only problem was that was not where they were heading for.

IMG_0031After leaving the Waveney at the Tee  junction and heading back down towards the boat yard we turned left yet again down one of the dykes, this turned at right angles and ran parallel to the main dyke but turned out to be a dead end just short of the yard so for the fifth time we turned round and retraced our steps. Back on the main dyke it was hard left again towards the yard, but instead of going under the old railway we looped pound a short cutting and had a look round all the moored boats.IMG_0036
The railway bridge is far to low for anything larger than a rowing boat to pass under so it was necessary to make a new cutting round it for boats to enter and leave the yard.

We hired the canoe for 3 hours which cost us £22 and included the use of buoyancy aids and a waterproof bag for our valuables.

View  the route of our Canoe trip in a larger map