Monday 31 October 2011

Whittington 31 October 2011 Day 3

At about five to ten this morning I untied and started to move down to the lock landing, Paul called from his garden to go straight into the lock and he would be there shortly. Once in the lock with the gates behind closed it is immediately obvious the danger of coming up under the walkways attached to the gate. I am going to suggest to the MLC that they remove them as they serve no useful purpose now that the slackers are mechanised.

High tide at Kings Lynn was at 0853 hrs. local time so by the time DSCF6976we entered the lock it had turned but we still had to wait for the river level to fall further before Paul commenced filling the lock. A little after 1030 hrs. he cracked the first slacker, thank goodness it wasn’t the one on the side we were sitting as dark brown water fountained up into the air. I had already removed the stove chimney and at Pauls suggestion I also removed the exhaust. The lock slowly filled and Harnser rose closer to the arch of the bridge. By the time the lock had filled the phone aerial was bent over and the pigeon box was about 2 inches from the under side of the arch, the water was just lapping the top gates. The bottom guillotine gate lifted and we could see out onto the river. We still couldn’t go anywhere as the lock at Denver was not ready but not only that we still wouldn’t fit under the bottom edge of the guillotine gate, when the water had dropped about another 4” at about 1050 hrs. we were just able to slide out. Even so early into the tide I was surprised how fast the river was running . It took a lot of engine power to turn into the flow and start making progress to Denver. I was advised to keep the power on to get there as soon as possible as Denver has a big problem with the lock mouth silting up and the more water there when we arrived the less problem it was likely to be. I held to the right of the river until I rounded the bend and then made my for the middle of the sluices reducing power as we moved out of the flow of the river, when I guessed we were past the bank I turned left to the lock sliding in by the right hand wall.

DSCF6985After locking down onto the none tidal Ouse we chugged round to the left to fill up with water. There is a water point and a free pumpout just by the slipway almost opposite the lock that drops down to The Great Ouse Relief Channel.

DSCF6994With the water tank once again full we headed south until we came to the River Wissey where we turned sharp left and stopped at the GOBA moorings for lunch. There was one small cruiser moored right in the middle of the moorings, he shot out and offered to move up a bit, saying he had not expected to see another boat on the river, I replied neither did we. As the moorings are probably in excess of 100 Mt. long there was tons of room for us without him moving.

DSCF7011The next point of interest is the Sugar Beet factory, East Anglia has several of these and from September to spring time they can bee DSCF7009seen belching out white steam, they are often adjacent to rivers both for the water they use and in times passed transporting the sugar beet by boat. One thing that has changed since last time we were here is the old concrete bridge has had its deck removed.

We winded at what is classed the end of navigation where the river forks, I understand you can get a bet further TNC style. If the bank had been better I would have moored here, but we have to get the poor old dog off, I am sure it would be much quieter than our intended mooring on the GOBA moorings at the caravan park right by the road bridge.

The moorings are only about 70 ft. long so we have taken it all up, but I am not expecting any one to turn up in the dark. Once moored you have to report in at reception, as expected there was no one there, but a couple in a caravan, who I suspect live on site said they were then coming to see me as the site manager was away. I gave them my name, the boat name and my GOBA membership number and then settled down for what looks like being a noisy night on Harnser.

Sunday 30 October 2011

Salters Lode Day 2 30 Oct 11

Yesterday evening we walked up to Weatherspoons to eat, onDSCF6971 the way we discovered that the council has not only erected new CCTV masts but also new lighting. These look as if they are LEDs as they are a very bright white with very directional light, it’s just a pity they didn’t put one by the moorings to light the quay side.
DSCF6968This morning it was obvious that no one had told the duck that the clocks were going back last night and they were making their plans outside our boat at goodness knows what time this morning, it was not long after that that we heard a boat come chugging past, we didn’t feel it as we were on the bottom.

We dropped the ropes off at one minute to ten, one minute later there was a shout from the fisherman who was just off the end of the quay “TIME” and the fishing match started, if only had walked over and told me I would have set off ten minutes earlier and been out of their way. Having said that they were quite a cheerful bunch spread out from behind where we were moored and the town bridge. We met about three boats between March and Salters Lode which surprised us a bit. Once clear of March I rang Maureen at Marmont Priory lock to book our passage. It was quite breezy as we made our way through the wind farm and arrived at the lock to find it empty with the bottom gates ajar. I put Diana ashore so she could ring the bell to summons Maureen the lock keeper and then opened one of the bottom gates while we waited for her. The locks on this waterway are 12 foot wide, so we need both gates open to get in or out. It was quite a slow run from the lock to Salters Lode as its quite shallow and weedy, like last time, just as we crossed Mullcourt Aqueduct the back-pump started pumping water up from the Middle Level Main Drain to Well Creak, there must be a water level sensor there somewhere that we trigger.

We arrived at Salters Lode at 3 pm, there is already two narrow boats and a cruiser at the moorings. We tucked in behind the first narrow boat prior to the cruised, a chap on the narrow boat came and stuck his head out of his back hatch as we stopped, I though, are he is going to be friendly and come and offer to help us moor, but no, just a quick look before closing the hatch and doors to disappear back inside.

As we walked the dog we met another chap with two dogs and a stove shovel, most boaters with dogs use a stove shovel to clear up, but in this case it was not a boater but the lock keeper, we chatted for a bit before continuing with our walk down to opposite Denver Sluice.

Saturday 29 October 2011

March day 1 Oct 29 2011

Well we are back onboard for a week or so. We arrived about half 3 and cast off at 4 pm. heading to March for the night. I tried to ring the lock keeper at Salters Load but didn’t get a reply. I have looked at the high water times at Kings Lynn and it looks unlikely there would be a PM passage tomorrow and the morning one will probably be before I am up, so we will chug gently to Salters Load tomorrow and see if we can get out Monday morning.

We pulled into the new moorings at March a little before 4 30 pm. I think we may have been lucky as just after we moored up two cruisers lashed together as a push tug came by and as it was getting towards 5 pm I guess he would have moored here if it had been vacant. This mooring definitely could do with a bit of dredging as we are siting about 6” out from the piling.

Walking the dog we see they have erected a large CCTV mast beside the river and foot bridge, so soon these moorings will be under 24 hour surveillance. I do wonder how much of a problem they have as there is no sign of damage or graffiti in the area.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

A bit of painting 2-4 October 2011 day 2

DSCF6742Last night we ate at Mamma Mias Italian restaurant which is right beside the moorings. This is an establishment that we will definitely visit again. The food was good and the service very friendly, we expected it to be empty on a Monday night but there were several people in there so I would guess that booking would be required at weekends.

Overnight was the hottest night we have had onboard this year and we had to have the slide open which resulted in the street light shining in my face.

DSCF6760We left the moorings at 10 am heading east for about a mile where the waterway was just wide enough for us to wind. the water was quite shallow at the stern and the mud had a good  whiff to it. We then retraced our steps back to the mooring by the park where Diana polished the port side of Harnser, I gave encouragement as I have done my back in and was only able to repaint the black as I could do it on my knees.

We left again heading back to our moorings at about 2 DSCF6737pm. As we passed the new Middle level Commissioners officers which I understand are locally known at the chicken shed there were two weed cutting boats attached to the landing. I wont say moored as the MLC didn’t install any mooring rings when they built their new quay heading.

We arrived back at our moorings at about 3 pm. The visitor DSCF6732moorings now have a nice new  welcome banner inviting boaters to stop, I don’t now what they charge for an overnight mooring. By now the wind had picked up so I went slightly past our mooring slot before turning in and allowed the wind to take me sideways down the channel until I am directly opposite our slot and then its straight in. Once secured we set to packing things away and topping up with water.

Just as we were leaving the site we spotted two friends of ours who will be bringing their boat “Wandering Snail” to the moorings in the near future. It was good to see them again.

Monday 3 October 2011

A bit of painting 2-4 October 2011

We arrived at the boat Sunday tea time after visiting mum on the way. The afternoon was wonderful and we arrived before the sun was to low in the sky to make driving difficult but to late to really move off the moorings. One or two of the other boaters were sat on the back of their boats fishing with lots of small fish feeding on the surface. Suddenly they started jumping out of the water and this was pike about a foot long, it came completely out of the water and travelled about four feet in the air before dropping back in by one of the boats. We were to witness this another couple of times before darkness fell, but although it cleared the surface each time it travelled no where as far as the first jump.

We ate onboard and had a very quiet night other than hearing the rain at some point, these moorings are so quiet it is unbelievable, no road traffic and very few boats passing.

Monday morning we set off at about 10 am and an hour later we were on the new moorings at March. I hogged the centre of the moorings as it was very shallow at each end, but did shuffle backwards  a bit to let a Springer moor ahead of us. The reason I moored here was to re-black between the rubbing strake and the gunwale.
I stood the tin of paint in a bucket which I filed with hot water to improve the paints fluidity and then set to with a disposable foam brush, unfortunately it was not up to the job and disintegrated about thirds of the way along the hull so I had to finish off with an ordinary paintbrush which was not so good. 
After lunch Diana went to check out the town moorings and it wasn’t long before she phoned to say there was lots of room, so I moved Harnser along. We now had the port side against the bank. After a trip to the hardware shop where I bought a stiff tar brush and a very cheap set of paint rollers I set to on the port side, First I tried the fluffy roller which worked a treat so stuck with it, much easier and better coverage that ether the standard brush or the foam one. This was followed by putting some grey top coat on the patches of primer that I put on the roof last week. Its a real bodge job, just scraping the flaking paint, treating the bits with Kurust, a prime and top coat, not bothering with any sanding as the whole lot needs to come off and be done properly.

Following all this activity we thought it was time for a pint, so I did a Mike and walked across the road to The Ship in my slippers, here we were spoilt for choice with 6 bitters on the pumps at £2.80 a time. In the end we had Conker and Owl which finished the afternoon nicely.