Tuesday 10 July 2012

Sunday 8 July 2012

We left home by car  at 9 am. this is a good hour earlier than we get away on the boat. The weather wasn’t to bad but local radio was reporting heavy rain. Sure enough we found it on the Norwich bypass.
We arrived at the marina at 11 am. it was difficult sticking to the 5 mph speed limit as we went through the marina, arriving at the boat, there on the seat on the front deck sat our yellow plastic box containing the boat keys, Diana’s camera, all the current boat paperwork plus other bits and pieces.

With the box safely in the car we headed off to Denver Sluice where we hopped to see “nb. Waterway Routes” crossing from Salters Lode to Denver. When we arrived at about 12 the water was quite high and had only just started to flow out, having been held back by the fresh breeze.

Waiting to leave Denver was the Fox Narrowboat that had moored beside us on Friday night outside The Crown Hotel They were due to leave the lock at the same time as Paul left salters Lode passing on the river and at 1230 they were off.a smallDSCF9389 Once out of the lock it was hard left and full power. We watched him go down stream flat out arriving at Salters Lode minutes after Paul had managed to turn in the flow and start making his way upstreama smallDSCF9390. From what I could see was that the Fox boat didn’t lift the power until he entered the lock and made a perfect approach.

Paul powered nb. Waterways Routes upstream against the fallinga smallDSCF9394 tide but even so it took him what seemed a life time to reach us. He held true until he was well up and opposite the landing beforea smallDSCF9396 turning in towards the lock.  He then crossed parallel to the sluices above the sandbank. a smallDSCF9400This just left him with the problem of swinging the bows into the lock. This is not as easy as it may look, due to the fast flowing water swirling pushing the stern ofa smallDSCF9404 the boat of the boat towards the sluices. Once Paul had her on her way into the lock he looked more than happy to a smallDSCF9405be off the tideway. We met him the other side of the lock where he moored on the EA 48 hr. before we retired to The Jenyns Arms for Sunday lunch before heading back home.

Sunday 8 July 2012

Saturday 7 July 2012

Last night was a very disturbed night with the passing traffic and we didn’t sleep at all well. The Fox hire boat that had been moored on the outside of us left a little after 8 as they were due to lock out at 11 on a 3 day hire. Day 1 leave march to Outwell for the night, day 2 cross to Denver and upstream to Ely for the night, day 3 back to the Middle Level and return to March.

We set off at about ten in  reasonable weather heading back to our moorings. We rang Maureen from Upwell to tell her we were on our way. The village has now planted up the flower boxes and hanging baskets by the church moorings.a smallDSCF9378

When we arrived at Marmont Priory lock Maureen had it all ready for us and was out waiting, we locked down and there was another Narrowboat waiting to lock up, but Maureen had them wait for another boat she was expecting. Apparently an octaterian who was heavily involved with the restoration of well creek was having a party in Upwell and they were going by boat.
As we passed the wind farm we met Paul and Christine of Waterway Routes http://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk/ he is heading for the Ouse to map and video all the connected waterways.a smallDSCF9384

Also at the wind farm a Cormorant was sitting on the top of a pole making the best of the sunshinea smallDSCF9382.

As we approached March not only did it start to rain but we also encounter heavy blanket weed, when you get this on your prop it just forms a big ball and you lose all drive. There is an elderly boat moored in March and every time we pass I am surprised to see it still floating as there are holes in the bow just above the waterline due to rusting.a smallDSCF9385

One of the owners of a mooring along here have gone to a lot of trouble fixing Go-kart tyres to his quay heading to act as a fender, but we have never seen a boat moored there.a smallDSCF9387 It continued to rain on and off for the next hour as we travelled back to our mooring. When we arrived we were surprised to see so many empty spaces with so many people out cruising all at one time.
We packed up the boat and headed off home. It wasn’t until we unpacked the car that we realised that I had left a plastic box on the front deck that contained all the boat paperwork, Diana’s camera and the boat keys. It was  to late to do anything now so it would be a job for Sunday.

Friday 6 July 2012

Friday 6 July 2012

After the lovely evening we had last night with the great sunset and a BBQ the weather forecast was spot on and in the early hours it started to rain, a brief spell of drizzle about 10 30 and then heavy rain again until about 2 30 this afternoon.

We set off at 1030 and made our way to the lock, there was already a Narrowboat there and they invited us to come alongside, it had a very nice Andy Russell paint job. I got talking to them and it turned out that on there way over from Salters Lode they had spent a night on the sand bank because they turned for the lock to soon.
A little after 11 and the lock keeper said there was a boat coming across from Salters so we would soon be on our way. The other boat very kindly said I should go first as I was on the outside which I thought was very good of him, so in the lock we went. Eventually the lock keeper gave me the all clear and I moved slowly out of the lock, hard right around the sandbank but no sign of the boat coming down. I went as slow as possible until the flow caught my bow and we were off, just then he emerged from the Salters lock and looked to be traveling very slowly upstream. I made my way down just on tickover and then put the power on to enter the lock, I still didn’t get it quite right and had to push upstream to get the bows in. Once back on the Middle Level we moored up and walked back to watch the other boat arrive and wish them well on their trip back to the Nene.
By now it was just passed midday so we decided to get changed and have lunch, then wait for the weather to improve which it did around 3 ish. When it did we made another start. The weed was much better than I had expected and we only picked up small amounts on the prop which soon spun off. The wind picked up and the sky  continued to blue up. The temperature went from 13 up to the low 20s and the sun came out.
We moored for the night outside The Crown Hotel which unfortunately is right by a main road, but I have been over and booked a table for tonight and as they have 3 beers for me to try we should be OK.

Thursday 5 July 2012

Thursday 5 July 2012

Yesterday evening as we were sat on the front deck eating our dinner in the warm sunshine we were treated to a short display by the Red Arrows and I hadn’t even told them I was coming.a smallDSCF9311 Later a hire boat went up through the lock and into Brandon, but I think they only went just above the bridge before coming back and locking down again.

As it didn’t look like rain I slapped a bit of primer/undercoat on the rust patches that I had treated on Tuesday.

Yesterday may have been birds and the Red Arrows, today was rain and Horseflies.
When we went out this morning the roof of the boat was covered in small dead flies, the weather was cloudy, warm and very humid, not conducive to putting a colour coat over my undercoating, so that will have to wait.

We left at twenty past ten heading up towards the weir and then driving the stern into the lock entrance, allowing the flow to carry the bows round and downstream,  a smallDSCF9314this meant we were well clear of the cruiser on the end of the moorings. No sooner had we cleared the moorings and the Horseflies started to attack us. They were unrelenting until we were almost at the aqueduct when it started to throw it down with rain, even so the flies kept the pressure on. It was here that we caught up with the EA weedcutter,a smallDSCF9320 luckily he turned round as we approached to work his way back upstream so we didn’t get stuck behind him. The rain didn’t last  too long but it was never far away. We pulled over to try to examine the Stop Lock but the water was to shallow to get close, but it could only have been one set of gates  more like a flash lock as the stone work is very shorta smallDSCF9332.

At Botany Bay I attempted to get up the arm to the sluice but the weed was making it hard going so we backed out again,a smallDSCF9337 we will try in the autumn or spring when hopefully the weed growth is less.
With the very clear water on these rivers weed growth is quite a problem and it grows very rapidly.a smallDSCF9340

We passed under a very substantial farm bridge just as a spray unit was passing over,a smallDSCF9338 when we came up yesterday there were three 4X4 crossing, needless to say one found a puddle just as we were underneath.
We stopped at Little Ouse services to fill with diesel at 90p per Lt. and it started raining again. Once out onto the Gt. Ouse we headed for Denver, the sunlight picking out the silos in the distance were quite impressive.a smallDSCF9347

Just prior to Denver there are some cows on the bank and regardless of whether they are brown or black they have a white bar along their spines, any one know what bread they are.a smallDSCF9355

a smallDSCF9354

Once back at Denver I contacted the lock keeper to find out locking times to Salters Lode tomorrow and it looks as if we should be away about 11 am, its a big tide so we will have to wait for some water to flow out until Paul can get his gate open. This evening has been the best part of the day ending in the most gloriousa smallDSCF2473 sunset.

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Another night of rain and that and the road traffic made sure we were awake this morning. Coats were required to take the dog out, but it was so warm you couldn’t wait to take them off.

To anyone from America reading this I have just noticed the date, 4th. July so have a good day everyone.

We left at 1020 this morning as soon as the rain stopped and from then on it continued to get warmer, an hour later we were turning right into Brandon Creek and another river with gin clear water.

Today has been a day of birds, at one time there were 4 Harriers in the sky, but I only managed to photograph 3 of them.a smallDSCF9292

The families of swallows are taking to the wing, there are still some in nests as I saw as we passed under the bridge by The Ship.a smallDSCF9278

A couple of Kingfishers were spotted and you can just see one in the leaves in this photo. He was sitting conveniently in the try but by the time I had the camera turned on and zoomed he was tucked away.DSCF9305

The other thing we saw were hawks taking insects above the river, the only other place I have witnessed this is on the Thames at Beale Park. I think they must be Hobbies but they were far to fast to photograph, but the highlight was to have a Crane jump out of the reads as I passed and fly round us,a smallDSCF9297 luckily I had the

a smallDSCF9298 camera on trying to photograph the Harriers at the time. I have never seen one before but understand they are breading on the Norfolk Broads which is not far from here.

In one of the fields of cows I just had to photo this little chap with some very interesting markings on his face,a smallDSCF9303 a little further on we saw this old lady with half a handlebar missing.a smallDSCF9304

Where the railway crosses Brandon Creek Network Rail or whatever name they go under now has installed new upstream fendering with a choice of which arch you use, I thought it would have been more sense for the arrow just to point to the right.a smallDSCF9308 

We were going to moor on the GOBA moorings after turning at Brandon Lock, but as we passed the moorings at 2 pm and it was 4 pm before we arrived at Brandon we had a change of plan and moored at Brandon for the night behind a cruiser called Pollyanna.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Tuesday 3 July 2012

We had about 3 mm of rain overnight and early this morning but only the lightest drizzle since. The mooring started cool but has since got quite warm. The mooring is almost under the high voltage power lines so a quick photo was take from a different angle.DSCF9267 We carried on up the Lark to Prickwillow where we moored for a time to screw up all the galley fittings that I removed last week to do the paper hanging and then wended to make our way back to the Gt Ouse. There were dozens of school kids at Prickwillow doing an outdoor study session. Some were drawing the bridge and estimating it height  while others were looking at the wildlife in the water with nets.a smallDSCF9261

Back on the Gt. Ouse we turned right and slowly made our way to Littleport where we have moored for the night.

It is very difficult to find waste disposal facilities here on the river and this is the result. This mooring can easily accommodate 4 Narrowboats or even more cruisers and probably half as many again on the other side of the river, but there is nowhere for boaters to officially dispose of their waste so this is what happens, a smallDSCF9271it builds up around litter bins. It is just the same in Ely its self with no official disposal points so you find bags of rubbish around the litter bins. I use to moan about the British Waterway rubbish points but it was bliss compared to here.

Tonight we will eat in The Swan which is just across the river a smallDSCF9272from us, I have already been to book a table after seeing how full other establishments have been mid week.

Since we have been here I have gone a bit more work on the dreaded rust with Kurust and sandpaper, if it stays dry it will get a slap of primer/undercoat a little later. Its too bad to try and attempt “invisible mending” its just a matter of damage limitation until I can convince myself that its worth doing again and next time the paint wont fall off.

Diana is hard at it repainting some of the woodwork on the inside,a smallDSCF9274 after redecorating the galley the paints are different shades so she is working her way down the boat. This is looking from the galley to the engine room passed the bathroom.

Monday 2 July 2012

Monday 2 July 2012

As the day went on the weather got better and by ten PM. it was still quite light with a large bright moon in a clear sky. When we took the dog out we were lucky enough to see deer on the meadow where earlier had been the horses and the sounds from different birds and animals was indescribable. 

This morning we woke to a dull day and by the time we took the dog out it had already started to rain. The Sea Otter that had been moored behind us had gone leaving us with the place to ourselves again.
We pushed off at half ten, winding and then heading back to Reach Lode. On the way we could see the Konik ponies grazing ina smallDSCF9233 the distance. They help to keep the grass and shrubs down the the best level for the wild flowers and insects to thrive in, they are helped in this task by the Highland Cattle, they were a bit more cooperative and posed for my right beside the Lodea smallDSCF9245.

Once back onto Reach Lode we turned right and headed for Upwell Lock, just prior to the lock on the lock landing is a water point, so we made use of that before continuing on through the lock. As Diana went to set the lock she found a chap fishing in the lock, but he soon departed as the top gate opened so that we could go down all of 4” onto the Cam. The small yacht that had provided the entertainment on Saturday night had departed and the Sea Otter was on the pub moorings connected to a shore supply. We carried on down the Cam until we joined the Gt Ouse again and had a short stop in Ely by the road bridge to visit Tesco and then headed to the Town moorings where we were planning to spend the night, however it was a full house, so while Diana went to have a new battery fitted to her watch, I made use of the services and hovered around until she returned. We set off again now in dry weather wondering where to spend the night, we pulled in at Adelaide Bridge but decided that the road would not give the quietest of night so then on for another hour to an EA mooring on the other side of the river so further from the traffic, however the grass was rather long and poor old Magic has a lot of problem with long grass these days. The only other option was the EA moorings down the Lark and that is where we are for the night, O and its raining steadily again, I did just get moored up before it set in.

Sunday 1 July 2012

Sunday 1 July 2012

Yesterday evening proved quite entertaining.  A small yacht powered by an equally small outboard and no rigging went upstream, the couple onboard were having a real row, shouting at each other, I half expected to have to do a man overboard exercise. A short while later they came back down, still at it hammer and tongs, just as they passed us she threw something overboard, this was followed by him throwing her shoes overboard. They carried on downstream still shouting at  each other, I couldn’t see how much more stuff ended up in the water as the river bends away.

Today we are half way through the year and its the 1st of July, a bit sunny but still lots of cloud about and the wind isn’t giving it much of a rest ether. We pushed off at 1045 turning back down stream, it was not long before we passed one of the shoes from last night resting in the reeds, then moored on the grounds of The Five Miles from Anywhere was the yacht from last night, it is probably only 500 Mts. from where we were moored and the shoes were discarded.

At The Five Miles from Anywhere we turned right, through the lock. The sign gives full details of its automatic nature a smallDSCF9215and  then back onto Reach Load where we had been a few days ago, after lest than half a mile we turned left into Wicken Fen. A boat moored on the visitor moorings near the entrance told us that the boats that had been there last night had just left but a canoe had just gone ahead. About half way up the Lode I spotted an Sea Otter following us and then just shortly afterwards the trip boat from the visitor centre coming down, luckily we were on one of the wider points so could pass OK. We moored at the very head of navigation and the Sea Otter moored right behind us. It turned out that he had been moored behind us in Gt.Barford last time we were out.

After mooring we walked into Wicken for Sunday Lunch at The Maids Head, this was not the cheapest Sunday lunch we havea smallDSCF2434 ever had but it was very good with a selection of fresh veg and home made bread.