Saturday 30 June 2012

Saturday 30 June 2012

Yesterday afternoon we moored quite early with the intention of repapering the galley. As we were working away a boat came passed and moored ahead of us. This boat use to moor beside us at the marina, we had just about said hello to the owners as we are not normally at the marina for more than two hours, but we waved as they came by and said hello a little later while taking the dog out. In the evening, because the galley was bit of a mess we went to the Lazy otter for a meal and the couple off the boat that use to moor beside us, that was now moored in front of us were sat at the table beside us. so in the course of the evening we had a good chinwag.

This morning we left at quarter to eleven, turning round and heading back to the EA Hundred Acres Mooring where we arrived at about mid day. We had lunch and then commenced paper hanging, horizontally. With just two small bit to do we moved on  round Popes Corner onto the Cam. A wicker man has now joined the wicker caravan, I take it that its the work of the chap that lives there in one of the boats.a smallDSCF9196

We carried on up the Cam where we moored just upstream of The Five Miles from Anywhere at the EA Fidwell Fen moorings and set to to hang the two remaining pieces that meet that we hung this morning in a corner. Every time we have moored up the sun has come out and every time we set off its rained, its also been breeze with the wind gusting to 25 mph.
I knew there were several flypasts today but I did not expect to be this closely involved.a smallDSCF9200

There is a boat moored just below The Five Miles from Anywhere that has some interesting signwriting on it, almost like pen and ink.a smallDSCF9213
One of the things that sticks out about this waterway is the amount of bird life with Egyptian Geese just sunninga smallDSCF9204 themselves and Oyster Catchers feeding on the grass landDSCF9206.

Even the cows in this part of the world know where to go when the weather turns bad, this is the A1123 road bridge. a smallDSCF9210

Friday 29 June 2012

Friday 29 June 2012

It was a late start this morning, I blame it on the excellent Stake and Kidney pie we had last night in the Five Miles from Anywhere pub, it wasn’t something in a pot with a bit of puff pastry floating on top but a good size piece cut from a large pie packed full of meat with real pastry top, bottom and edge.

Looking out through the porthole I spotted a couple of good size moorhen chicks. I understand that they have had a rough time ofa smallDSCF9191 it in some parts of the country. As you can see this part of the pub lawn is covered with Swan feathers.

It was gone eleven before we got away heading downstream in a fresh breeze. We passed the two fallen trees that I reported to the EA in March and again 3 days ago, only now there is 3, with a third coming down this week, but that is not touching the water, YET.  We pushed on until we reached the junction of the Great Ouse, River Cam and the Old West River. Here we turned left onto the Old West. Under the railway bridge and passed out favourite mooring, there are still 2 boats moored here that were here last time we passed, 1 of them has been here for months.
The Grebes seem to be doing well around these parts this year as well.a smallDSCF9192 This mum had 4 and we have seen several with 3 youngsters some of which are getting quite large and independent now.
About a mile along the old West it started to rain and the wind freshened making standing on the back of a boat looking into it a bit unpleasant, but I battled on. We have moored for the night on the GOBA moorings just before the Lazy Otter pub. and at last the sun has come out, but we still have a stiff breeze.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Thursday 18 June 2012

Mooring outside the Fort Saint George is fine, much quieter than the visitor moorings nearer the weir on the other side. We set off at about half ten a bit further upstream for a pump out. its the first time we have used this pump out facility and its £3 a go, you actually put 3 £1 coins in, no cards to or readers to go wrong, just coins in a slot.

It was around 11-30 by the time we finished and winded beforea smallDSCF9173 heading back down stream on a hot sunny morning. There were a few rowers about but nowhere like yesterday evening. The were a pair of dogs enjoying the sun on top of a moored Narrowboat, they almost looked as if they were smiling.a smallDSCF9175
As we approached Baits Bite lock I could see the guillotine gate just starting to close, it wasn’t until I was almost at the lock that the boater noticed me and raised it again just before it touched the water. By the time we had locked down there was also a cruiser waiting to come up with the Black Prince Narrowboat. Whilst in the lock a Chinook helicopter flew over and not long afterwards a heard another plane approaching quite slowly. I heard on the news this morning that there are several memorial services for 1st Bomber Command who seemed to have been forgotten after the war ended.a smallDSCF9177

We stopped for a while at Waterbeach to take the dog for a wander and Diana walked into the village to get some fresh fruit. These are Cam Conservancy moorings and are pretty good, its aa smallDSCF9182 shame the ones in town are not of the same standard. It was bit of a day for dogs today, this little chap had a word with us froma smallDSCF9181 a couple of boats while his mate backed him up from the bank.
The bridge at Waterbeach has a plaque on each side, I can reada smallDSCF9184 a smallDSCF9185

one but not the other. It is here that the Cam Conservancy have their yard where they moor their work boatsa smallDSCF9186.

We pushed on to The Five Miles from Anywhere where we have sort of moored up, there were 4 cruisers here already so that left us about 15  feet on the end, so we nosed up to the cruiser, set a short spring to hold us back, a long line to the shore and a mud weight off the stern to hold it out. The wind has picked up so we are bumping a bit, I will improve the fendering with wheels etc. in a minute.a smallDSCF9189

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Well it stayed dry all evening for us to walk to The Dyke’s End pub for a meal. What we didn’t realise until we were leaving was that they have their own micro brewery out the back and sell their own Dyke’s End Ale. We had an enjoyable meal and wandered back to the boat for a very quiet night.

This morning we set off about quarter past ten on a warm but overcast  morning, looking back at where we had been moored last night you can see we completely blocked the arm to the lefta smallDSCF9128.


By the new cycle way bridge I saw some picnic tables and chairs but there was also something else that I could not make out, so took a photo to look at later, I still don’t know what the figuresa smallDSCF9129 are made of.

At the junction of Reach and Burwell Lode there is a pond with a tern island in the middle. For those that don’t know a tern island is a man made platform that has shingle on top of it for terns toa smallDSCF9143 nest on, they are often rafts of on legs to make it harder for rats etc. to get the eggs or young. The better ones also have a low wire netting fence around them to stop the chicks falling off. DSCF9135We could see two good sized chicks on this one and they were getting regular visits from some adults to feed them.a smallDSCF9133 When a Harrier passed on the other side of the Lode the adult bird was off like a shot after it and harassing it until it went elsewhere.
We met a Narrowboat just after the junction with Wicken Lode, but by the time we reached the lock it had already turned its self ready for flood control. Once through the lock we turned left up the Cam meeting one or two boats on the way. A farmer was spraying his potatoes as we passed, he had to drive quite gentlya smallDSCF9149 to prevent the tips of the spray boom catching the ground. There are some excellent blackberry bushes in flower on the banks ofa smallDSCF9154 the Cam and they are in such a position that they can only be picked by boaters.
The Cam Conservers were hard at work doing some spot dredging and putting it behind the flexible piling. a smallDSCF9157
At Baits Bite Lock the lock keeper came out of his office to check our licence to make sure if we were correctly licenced for the Cam now that they have their own charges. There is a smalla smallDSCF9158 concrete frog mounted at the moth of the lock under the steps. Not all boaters on the river get on with each other as can bea smallDSCF9162 seen by the signs on the side of this Narrowboat. There are quite a few rowers about this evening and we are moored on the visitor moorings outside The Fort Saint George pub. Its quite surprising the effect of them passing at speed has on the boat and to make it worse there is a concrete ledge below water level we keep clipping.

I have just one for the aircraft buffs tonight, I didn’t even realise it was a Biplane until I downloaded the photo.DSCF9161

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Last night  dinner was taken in the Anchor which is only a short walk from the moorings, it was two for one pizza night, with home made 12” pizza. Once full we headed to the garden where there was a game of Petong in full flow. They have two gravel pitches so have two games in progress at a time. The “manager” of one team was getting quite irate with a young player because he would not play the shots he was told to play and lost points.

This morning we were away a little after 11 am, a phone call to Nigel on his cruiser at Reach saw him on his way as well, so that we didn’t meet in the narrow bits. The two fishermen who were stationed by out bow were packing up, they had been there 6 hrs..
You can see the three wide beam residential boats that are moored just before the visitor moorings.a smallDSCF9113

We were again luck enough to spot a Harrier quartering the marshes, a lot more common in these parts than on the canala smallDSCF9114.

Just before we reached the junction of Reach Lode and Burwell Lode we met Nigel in his cruiser and we were able to tell him the mooring was now free. At the junction we turned a very tight leftDSCF9097 into Reach Lode heading for the village of Reach. Since our guide and maps were printed there has been a cycle route made across the meadows and a new bridge built over the Lodea smallDSCF9117.

After the bridge things started getting decidedly narrow but not weedy thank goodness.a smallDSCF9118 we pushed on to the end of navigation and this was the sight that greeted us. The weeping willow isa smallDSCF9121 actually growing on the point of a Y junction and we didn’t need to go to the left. Its also the head of navigation so I winded anda smallDSCF9122 tried backing down the arm to the right, but it was too shallow to get near the bank, so we have moored with the stern in front ofa smallDSCF2432 the willow on a mud weight and the bows against the land at the end of the Y beside the GOBA and end of navigation sign. The a smallDSCF9123view from the side hatch is quite impressive as well looking straight up Reach Lode.

We went for a wonder round and came across some a smallDSCF2427interpretation boards erected by the IWA almost 30 years ago. Wandering into the village we stumbled on the village puba smallDSCF2429 The Dyke’s End which at one time was a farm house. We just nipped in and half of Woodfords Wherry. There are some pretty cottagesa smallDSCF2431 in the village and we especially liked the Two Bulls with the house name above the front door.a smallDSCF2428

Monday 25 June 2012

Monday 25 June 2012

Yesterday afternoon we took a walk to the Visitor Centre and just opposite the entrance is an old cottage that has been in thea smallDSCF2405 same family for 4 generations, we had a look round inside but I must admit I have seen several like it when I worked and lived in rural Norfolk.
How different last night was to the night before, so peaceful and quiet.night.  About half ten we said goodbye to the cruiser that was also moored there over night. a smallDSCF9086He said he was also planning to go to Burwell as he needed shopping badly, so I told him he was quite welcome to breast to us if the moorings were full.
Wicken Lode is quite narrow but quite clear so traveling slowly it doesn’t cause much of a problem.
a smallDSCF9089
The edges are lined by white water lilies, I had always consider these as cultivated as I ma only use to seeing yellow ones in the wild.a smallDSCF9091
As we made out way back down the Lode we saw a pair of Harriers quartering the mash and then moving off to the other side of the Lode where I expect they had a family waiting for breakfast.
Once out of the end of the Lode we turned left up Reach Lode, thisa smallDSCF9096 started off quite wide and clear for the first mile or so. After about half a mile you come to a unction, left to Burwell, the way we are going or right to Reacha smallDSCF9097.
There is a very interesting lift bridge at the end of the NT Nature Reserve which looks as if it is still in use. a smallDSCF2409Behind it is a very substantial foot bridge made from concrete.a smallDSCF9101

In the distance Wicken windmill is visible with its white sails set off against the skya smallDSCF9104. At this point the going was still quite good but starting to narrow. We passed a family of swans, as all swans are white, why are most of the young signets grey but the odd one or two are white?a smallDSCF9107

By now the weed had started getting a bit thicker and the last half mile was definitely hard work with with the blanket weed closing in from each side.a smallDSCF9110

When we reached the head of navigation not only was the water clear of weed, but the visitor moorings was also clear of boats. The mooring is the same length as Harnser, but just after wea smallDSCF2411 arrived a small cruiser turned up so I pulled back to to let them moor ahead of us, so our bum is overhanging the moorings. Although this is the official end of navigation the Lode goes rounda smallDSCF9112 to the right behind the moorings and under a bridge. The other side of the bridge there are several Narrowboats and cruisersa smallDSCF2425 moored. I wonder if they need an EA licence up there?

As we walked round Burwell we met the chap from the cruiser, as we said we were mooring in Burwell due to the shortage of moorings he decided to go to Reach for the night and he had walked to Burwell. When we saw him he was on his way to put a note on our boat to tell us what he had done in case we were trying to leave room for him, which I thought was very nice of him. We will ring him in the morning when we leave so we can swop places and not meet in the narrow bits.