Friday 31 August 2012

Fri 31 Aug 2012 Wadenhoe Kings Head

Last night was again a very clear moon light night and the temperature dropped to 6°C early this morning.
We set off at 10 AM in bright sunshine with a chilly breeze and looking back down the arm where we were moored you can see all the boats that really move, we were down beyond the red one at the far right and there are still a couple after that.a smallDSCF9737

We stopped at Upper Barnwell lock to fill with water, while the tank was filling we took the opportunity to have a very hot shower, with the early finishes we have been doing the water has not been that hot in the mornings. Oundle Mill which stands right beside the lock is offering two for one meals on a Thursday night through August and September, they have their own moorings above and below the a smallDSCF9744lock.

Today we have had some lovely light blue sky’s with wispy cloudsa smallDSCF9750. I have included a photograph of this boat because its painted by the same chap that painted our boat, he used the same paints and did to two years before ours and their paint is still not falling off. I am sure they don’t get it in when it rains and snowsa smallDSCF9749.
Although it was not overly hot today these cows seamed to be enjoying a nice paddle in the river.a smallDSCF9759

I do wonder if anyone told the engineer that the top of the bridge and the approach ramp are meant to end at the same height, this bridge just below Wadenhoe needed a step fitting between the deck and the ramp so people could get over.a smallDSCF9761 cropped

At Wadenhoe Lock there was no need to open the top paddles or slackers as there was about 9” of water standing over the tops of the gates.a smallDSCF9763 This led to quite a hull shampoo while we were working up, it even smelt like fabric softener or detergent.a smallDSCF9764Just above the lock is the Kings head public house with lawns right down to the river, we have never been able to get a mooring here before, a smallDSCF2885but today there was only one boat there and he left just as we tied up. On the lawn of the pub is a water point, the notice above it says it a joint project by the EA and the water supply company but on the actual waterpoint it saysa smallDSCF9765 BW, I wonder if they will come and change it to CRT? I don’t think I wouldn’t use the length of hose provided that can be seen laying on the grass.

Thursday 30 August 2012

Thurs 30 Aug 2012 Ashton Weir Stream

Last night a little after 6pm a Narrowboat came round the arm, it was Ray who we had been on the outside of at Whittlesey, so now it was our turn to repay the kindness with him alongside us for the night.
Its full moon tomorrow night so I thought I best get a photo of the moon while the sky was clear.a smallDSCF9698 We then toddled off up to the Queens Head to eat. The place was full and unfortunately the staff just couldn’t keep up. After sitting for half an hour we still didn’t have any wine, I don’t know what time the starter arrived and then they had to go back for a soup spoon. The main course arrived after a reasonable wait but they had forgotten the water we ordered and also my knife and fork. Diana’s meal was not as described on the menu, they apologised and said she had received an old menu, but as we went out it was on the specials board as well. The food was cooked well and also well presented but it didn’t say I have got to come back.

This morning all the boat crews were about by 9-30 so Ray on the next Narrowboat and I discussed how we planned to get out,a smallDSCF9700 not being sure of the depth of water. However at the end of the day it all went fine with a good depth of water. Ray put his stern out while I pulled the bows round and he was away. I did the same thing driving the stern out and then Diana pulled the bows round with the crew from the cruiser giving a good push out after she was back onboard.

As we made our way up the Nene, a short way before Elton I spotted a Pelican sitting in a field by the river, goodness knows what he was doing there.a smallDSCF9707

It wasn’t long after this that it started to rain and not just drizzle, but the real stuff, the rain is much colder now than it was a couple of weeks back. As Fotheringhay came into view it thea smallDSCF9723 sky was quite dark.
Last time we were this way a land owner was advertising plots for sale on the river bank, obviously sales have been going well with just 3 left. a smallDSCF9724I wonder if they have permission for residential mooring.

a smallDSCF9729Below Cotterstock Lock there has been a new mooring put in, its the first I have seen like this on the Nene and its for the use of boaters who are members of a smallDSCF9728the Association of  the Nene River Clubs looking at their web site this is the first of their moorings, so sounds similar to the GOBA moorings on the Gt Ouse and can only be of benefit to us boaters, especially where moorings are in short supply.
We pushed on it the rain to Ashton Weir stream. The water discharging from the weir was building up quite a pile of froth a smallDSCF9732until the wind caught it and sent it on its way. Just above the lock the weir stream runs off to the left and I backed down it until I could find a space. This looks as if its become the permanent home to several boats now with only room for a few visit boaters to get in. Needless to say it stopped raining shortly after we tied up at 2-30 pm.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Wed 29 Aug 2012 Nassington Queens Head

Last night we walked into the village and ate at The Cuckoo Pub.  The Cuckoo is quite a large pub/restaurant but was very busy for a Tuesday, the restaurant was fully booked and almost every table in the pub was also take, so we decided to eat in the garden as it was a fine but slightly chilly evening. The food was very good. I had Eddie Grundy burger(Wild Boar) where as Diana had the Venison which was very tender. Both came with an interesting selection of vegetables. They had Domebar and Summer Ale on the hand pumps at £3-30 pt.

The noise from the A1 was constant so not very disturbing overnight. As we were getting up this morning a Narrowboat was making its way down through the lock, I am not sure where he came from as the first lock we came to was empty and the walls dry.a smallDSCF9686
We set off at 0945 on a fine but overcast morning, but it wasn’t long before the rain set in, we  met 5 Narrowboats, two of which were hire boats, I wouldn’t want a hire boat business on the River Nene.
At Wansford Lock there were three cruisers locking up so we helped them on their way and continued to Yarwell lock where we topped up with water. It was quite strange as the tap water was very warm and even after running it for some minutes it didn’t turn cold like water straight from the tap normally does. About half a mile above Yarwell lock there is a loop running off the river to the left at Nassington. You can’t go all the way rounda smallDSCF9693 the loop as there is a low bridge across it and if you want to moor on the island it costs £15 a day. However if you go in the upstream end and work your way round with care as its quite silted up you come to about 150 foot of metal pilled quay headinga smallDSCF9691 at the bottom of the The Queens Head Hotel garden and that is we now are for the night. We arrived at 1340 hrs. and have been up to reception and booked a table for their steak night and checked that we were OK to moor here. Since we arrived it has been raining harder so it looks as if we stopped just in time.
Since I original wrote this we have been joined by two cruises from the Middle Nene Cruising Club who have tucked in behind us.

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Tue 28 Aug 2012 Alwalton Lock

Last night the railway didn’t disturb us at all, maybe it was down to being a Bank Holiday.

This morning we were in no real hurry as we were booked to do Stanground at 2 pm. however the boat inside us who kindly invited us to moor alongside was booked for midday, so when the boat ahead had left we moved forward  so he could leave in his own time.

I then took care of a couple of small maintenance jobs. The rain fall recorder on the weather station had stopped working, reason a large spider had set up home inside the metering device building a strong cobweb under the seesaw stopping it from tripping back and forth. Sorted.
The other job was the 250 hr. oil and filter change, I left the engine running while I did the weather station to get it warm to make it easier to pump the oil out.

We set off at 1110 hrs. just as a boat was coming down who wanted our mooring so that worked well. As we were leaving the town there was a chap with a crawler repairing the track, a smallDSCF9656he had a small Jack Russell who looked as if he would fall from the cab at any moment. Almost opposite where he was working was a single cow and calf, as you can see the calf has black ears and nose.a smallDSCF9653

It was also at this point we met jet another boat, so Stanground  has seen 5 boats at and 4 in today, needless to say we were the last.
On the outskirts of Whittlesey there is a layby with a transporta smallDSCF9671 cafe, parked by it we saw this rather elderly chain drive tar tanker. The signwriting indicates it comes from Turves which is very local to the Middle Level.
We arrived at Stanground at 1 pm. an hour early so we settled down to wait, about 20 minutes later there was a call from outside, the was the relief lock keeper asking if we would like to go out now, so we did. In Peterborough we stopped to fill with water, we didn’t need much, but on the Nene you take it where you can. Just as we were leaving the chap from the boat we were moored against last night turned up and asked if he could share the next lock with us, which was no problem.
Orton Lock must be the most difficult lock to enter cleanly on the whole river, maybe even the whole inland waterway system. There is a long 3 bay sluice beside the lock and this sets up a rotating water flow below the lock, so for the last 50 Mt's you crab towards the lock, bows to the left and at the very last moment it all changes and pulls your stern that way instead. After the lock our friend left us to go to Ferry Meadows to moor. we headed upstream to moor just above Alwalton Lock. About half a mile before the lock we met this family in a blow-up dingy, a smallDSCF9683I think the smallest child may have been wearing a buoyancy aid but none of the rest where, which looked like 3 kids, mum  and grandma.
We arrived at Alwalton lock at 4 pm and after working up the lock slid backwards into the weir stream for the night. a small DSCF9651There was a cruiser moored at the mouth when we arrived but he departed a little after 5 pm. I was very surprised how noisy it is here, but looking at a proper map I can see the A1 is not that far away.

Monday 27 August 2012

Monday 27 Aug 2012 Whittlesey

After a somewhat shaky start to the trip we are afloat again. We almost reached Norwich when I remembered some important documentation that I needed so we had to go back home, then in March instead of turning into the retail park to fill with diesel I turned into the road that lead to the pub car park.

We had the boat loaded and were ready to go at 4 pm but I had to wait for three boats to pass before backing out of the moorings, well it is bank holiday weekend.
We set of on a dry but breezy afternoon, however at 5 pm that changed when the wind dropped and the rain started, it was to continue until just before we moored up at quarter to seven. It rained hardest as we were working up Ashline lock, after leaving the lock we went back to drain it as it should be left empty, we had almost finished when a Fox hire boat arrived below the lock so we opened the gats for them before leaving.
There were two boats already on the Whittlesey visitor moorings but the back one of the two invited us to moor alongside him. The following hire boat was not so lucky, as when he arrived at the moorings the boat ahead refused to show their faces and offer him the same hospitality.
By now there was a second Fox boat working up through the lock and they have done exactly what I would and stayed on the lock moorings all night.

Friday 24 August 2012

Thursday 23 Aug 2012 Home

After an enjoyable meal last night, a chat with friends on K2 we left the moorings in March at about 1030 for the hour journey back to our moorings at Floods Ferry Marina. I was nice to arrive with no wind to make the right angle turn into our slot. When the wind is blowing its normally straight up or down the river which can make it interesting. We passed some small patches of the red/brown floating weed, but nothing of any size unlike last week when in places the river was covered side to side.

Wednesday 22 Aug 2012 March

We left our moorings on the Wissey at 9-30 as I knew the boat behind was also hoping to cross from Denver to Salters Lode. Out onto the Gt Ouse and turn right on a slightly chilly morning due to the fresh breeze. When we arrived at Denver I was somewhat surprised to see 5 boats on the lock mooring waiting to cross and one on the EA moorings opposite. I wish I had come down last night and moored on the lock moorings overnight.
We tied up and went to chat with the other boaters and as expected locking was due to start about midday. The Chaps were below the sluice with there floating bulldozer etc. but due to the very high tide they were unable to do anything as the water was to deep. The crawler excavator had beetled off up the bank and a good job to as the level section of bank he had made to work from was just lapping with the high water.

Around mid day the locky arrived and said there were two boats waiting to come from Salters and there were now nine waiting to go the other way, but he hoped to get us all across on this tide. It was some while before the water level dropped enough for the Salters Lode lock to operate but once it dropped a foot the dredging started. The floating bulldozer acts like a drag line pulling the spoil to the bank, this is then removed with a crawler mounted digger. The floating bulldozer is attached to the base of the digger with a long line and he uses this to pull himself in. There are more details on this system on their web site at http://www.adceastanglia.co.uk/News/Silt-Pusher 

In the end there was only one boat coming over from Salters so after that arrived boats were put through Denver lock in pairs, with one going straight into Salters Lode lock and the second waiting in the mouth. It was not long before it was our turn, we locked up with a Fox’s hire boat, the lady steerer was apprehensive but made a good job of the swing out. I waited until she was out into the river before slowly making my way out, the silt was now visible and the nearest obstacle was probably 60 to 80 feet in front of the lock, not much space to turn in. I went down the river on tickover and watched the Fox boat make a good turn into the lock, I had decided that due to silting at Salters I would cut tight round the marker putting the bows on the downstream wall and let the stern swing. When I got there it was a rapid change of plan as the Fox boat for some reason was still outside the lock and the gate was still open. Plan B, turn at right angles and slide up to their stern, by the time I had got round they were entering the lock, but I was on the mud. I backed off and dropped downstream backwards, it seemed to take for ever to get forward movement again and taking a wide sweep into the lock was able to stop just short of the closing gate.

We left Salters at 2-30 pm and I rang Marmont Priory lock to see if if I would be able to get through tonight as we would be late, Maureen gave us the thumbs up so off we went. Below a smallDSCF9634Marmont lock the water was covered in duckweed but further down when a week ago it had all been red weed it was now clear. As we approached March the storm clouds were gathering a smallDSCF9637and as we passed the railway bridge it was time to put our coats on. We pulled onto the town moorings at 7pm and went to our favourite Italian to eat

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Tuesday 21 Aug 2012 Wissey

We were away at about 9-30 am down Brandon Creek to say goodbye to Andrew and Wendy who had go to get diesel.
We arrived at Little Ouse Moorings just as they were leaving, http://www.littleousemoorings.co.uk/  heading upstream to find somewhere to turn. We dropped into their spot at the diesel point and took on the best part of 100 Lts at 94p/Lt.  We also headed upstream so were able to say our goodbyes mid stream.

We plan to go through Denver Sluice and Salters Lode tomorrow so today is bit of a messing around day. We continued upstream for a couple of miles stopping to chat with some friends who have just taken a mooring on the way and finally winded by a derelict farm house.

On our way back we met Narrowboat Yarwood and received a salute from Joe as he dipped his exhaust as we passed. There was rather an interesting boat moored just upstream from The Ship which I think is an old British Waterways boat.a smallDSCF9623 My thoughts

a smallDSCF9626is that it was once a hotel boat.

Once back on the Gt Ouse we carried on down stream as far as the River Wissey where we turned right and headed upstream as far as Hilgay. Just before we reached the town we spotted thesea smallDSCF9630 three EA boats weed clearing, one of them is a weed cutter anda smallDSCF9628 the other two clear up the spoil and put it in the banks. They have quite a turn of speed and are very manoeuvrable being able literally to spin on the spot. After going under the old town bridge and just passed the visitor moorings we were able to turn to head back downstream to the very good GOBA moorings for the night. This leaves us in easy reach of Denver Sluice tomorrow morning.

Monday 20 August 2012

Monday 20 Aug 2012 The Ship

Last nights informal mooring was very good, this use to be an EA mooring but the moorings were removed and it was re-piled a a smallDSCF9609couple of years back, there is about 200 foot of hard edging now with a good depth of water.

We left at about 10 am and made our way back to the Gt Ouse where we turned right. The next port of call was the waterpoint at Littleport where we topped the tank up before heading on to The Ship  at the junction with Brandon Creek. The day has been mostly overcast and this morning the humidity was quite high, but as we sit outside The Ship  we can hear the harvest going on once again.
As we made our way downstream this chap seemed to be flying in very large circles and we saw him a couple of times.a smallDSCF9616  lines, this is

Again the starlings were out in force sitting on the power lines this is only place we have seen them so there must be something attracting them.a smallDSCF9620

We plan to eat in The Ship tonight with Andrew and Wendy  who arrived at about 4 pm from the Wissey. The only thing is the Landlord leaves on Friday and they are running very low on food stuff after having a cracking weekend, so we will see how we get on.

Sunday 19 August 2012

Sunday 19 Aug 2012 River Lark

Last nights mooring was very quiet and we both got a good nights sleep. This morning the river was crystal clear when I looked out of the side hatch, I am sure that will change a bit when the boats start moving.a smallDSCF9585


Just before we set off a large, well fora smallDSCF9590 this river, barge came downstream, we had seen it moored just below Hermitage Lock when we came through yesterday, he must have made an early start as he was probably only doing just over 2 mph. After setting off it wasn’t long before we were catching him up, but I was quite happy to travel at his speed so held well back and allowed another Narrowboat that caught us up to pass and sit behind him. We saw very little traffic for the first hour or so, then we all met a cruiser, as the cruiser came round the bend the lady on the bows was pointing to her left, so thinking she thought they were short of room I pulled further to my right, she started pointing more vigorously so I , maybe she wants me to go the wrong side of her so they can go to her left, so started to swing to my left, at which point the cruiser started swinging his bow to my left. At this point I stopped and backed up letting him go where he wanted, he when the correct side of me in the end and as he passed and thanked me he was complaining that big boats like that shouldn’t be allowed on the river as they were far to big and had caused him to go aground. We plodded on our merry way at 2.5 mph until  we reached a straight wide section just before Twentypence Bridge, where he waved us passed, now he may only been doing 2 mph but the best I could manage was probably just over 4 mph so we were running out of river by the time I got through.

The floating fern weed was completely covering the river and is multiplying at quite a rate.a smallDSCF9594 It didn’t cause us any problem but boats with raw water cooling are suffering.
As we approached the EA visitor moorings just before Popes Corner I spotted Graham and Jill moored there so we pulled alongside for an hour or so and helped them drink some beer. While we were there the barge came trundling by, still doing a steady 2.5 mph.
It wasn’t long after this that it started to thunder and the sky to the south of us got very dark, there were even a few drops of rain. We said our farewells and moved on. In Ely one of the water cycles was out with two youngsters on it, the smallest one had a life jacket but not the other.a smallDSCF9603

We then met the barge again who indicated that he had been unable to find a mooring in town.
On the Adelaide Bridge moorings we passed NB. Yarwood who were hard at work dog swimming.a smallDSCF9604 A little later we met James driving Lucky Duck back towards Ely. The next thing we encountered were three people swimming back and forth across the river, they were strong swimmers and were taking carea smallDSCF9605 to watch out for the movement of boats. 
We were heading for the River Lark hoping to moor on the GOBA moorings about half a mile down there, but it was not to be as there was a boat there already so we headed into Prickwillow, but again the moorings were all full, so we winded and came back to moor opposite the EA Tom Hole moorings. Since we have been here needless to say some of the boats moored in Prickwillow have gone passed heading to their home moorings, still the BBQ is on the bank alight and the rain didn’t  materialise, the only downside is dust from the harvesting going on on the next field.
One of the things we noticed at Prickwillow was that the roof has been removed from part of the pump museum, I do hope this is a planned event.a smallDSCF9606

Saturday 18 August 2012

Saturday 18 August 2012 Aldreth

Last night we moored behind Holt Island. a smallDSCF9576We didn’t have a bad night but we did have people talking until very late outside the boat. This morning a local boat we know came up and was surprised that we spent the night there.

After topping the water tank up, well we were moored by (not a smallDSCF9578on) the water point it seamed silly not to and then reversed back out of the arm onto the main river. At the junction with the river a rower had capsized and was trying to get her boat back across to the boat house. I find it surprising that these clubs don’t have a rescue boat on the water when rowers are out, all sailing clubs I know do. Once we were clear of her and she had safely made her way back to the club house we headed upstream to Hemingford lock before winding to come back down stream.

Below St Ives Lock we passed the Rush gatherers three punts moored to the bank where their Landrover had been parked on Fridaya smallDSCF9582.
We were going to stop for lunch at Holywell but there were three cruisers already there and the only space was at the shallow end so we continued on to The Pike and Eel, where we actually managed to get onto the pub moorings, even if there were a couple of boats circling to see if we would get in. We had a very enjoyable lunch sharing a sea food platter for two and a couple of pints of Black Sheep bitter. We then carried on to Brownhills Lock where there were about 8 oldish teenagers jumping off the structure into the tail of the lock and also the discharge from the staunch, about the most dangerous spot on the river with wicked currents. They all climbed out as we were about to leave the lock but as I went forward one jumped in right beside out bow. I stopped and he started to climb out up our bow onto the deck, he only left when I was half way down the gunwale to discuss the matter with him.
I had intended to tell the locky at Hermitage but when we got there he was nowhere to be seen, he was on a Black Prince Narrowboat in the lock as they were topping up their water tank. By now there was a cruiser behind us so when the BP boat came out I went right in to the end of the lock leaving the cruiser at the back by the locky and it went right out of my mind. 
We carried on along the Old West to the GOBA moorings at Aldretch which were not full but tight due to the way some people had moored, luckily a Narrowboat was moored right at the end by the rough grass and we could get in behind him, the cruisers where spread out along the mown section two together at one end and the other right in the middle of the remainder so even another cruiser couldn’t get in.'

Friday 17 August 2012

Friday 17 Aug 2012 St Ives

We left our mooring at 9.15 this morning heading along the Old west river. If I had realised how close we were to Stretham Pumping station I would have carried on to there last night for the peace and quiet. We continued past the Lazy Otter and at Twenty Pence there was a collection of EA vehicles and I guessed that they may be weed cutting, about a mile further on we came upon the these two monsters hard at work, cutting and collecting weed before jettisoning it onto the bank.a smallDSCF9542

His mate was a couple of hundred meters further upstream.a smallDSCF9544

Not long after this I had three large cruisers catching me up so I pulled over to let them pass. One of them was still on the lock mooring at Hermitage when we arrived and I thought he was waiting for the lock when actually he had lost his his hydraulic fluid from his gearbox due to overheating  in the floating weed. The only thing enjoying this weed is the Swans and I don’t thinka smallDSCF9547 there are enough of them to make an impact.
Above Hermitage lock we saw the other two cruisers who were about to set off and they passed us while we were stopped at Westview Marina for a pump out. a smallDSCF9553While we were pumping out I spotted this chap on the far bank, as you can see there is still quite a bit of water about.
I was a bit worried how I was going to get away from the service pontoon as it was a lee shore with a 25 mph wind square on the side, but by the time we had finished it had moderated a bit and we were soon on our way. We caught the two cruisers up at Brownshills Lock where we talked about the weed problems they had had with raw water cooling.
After they had gone I turned the lock and we had another large cruiser come up who shared the lock with us, he had also had a lot of cooling problems due to the weed.
Outside the pub at Holywell there was a lorry with 3 boats on the back,a smallDSCF9558 a bit of Googling shows that is where they are based.

A little further on we spotted this Landrover and trailer ona smallDSCF9559 the river bank. It belongs to a company called Rushmaters http://www.rushmatters.co.uk/ a little further on and we would meet three of their punts loaded with rushes one with a dog keeping an eye on thing.a smallDSCF9565a smallDSCF9564a smallDSCF9561

It was not long before we were at St Ives lock, we had to wait as there were a couple of boats ahead going up and one waiting to come down. I thought I would take another couple of photos showing the kink that restricts the size of boats that can enter the lock.a smallDSCF9568a smallDSCF9571




Once clear of the lock we continued into the town, we spotted that there was a good length of vacant visitor moorings in the cut by The Dolphin so we slid in only to find that if the bow was near the bank no one else would be able to get in or out past our stern, so we backed out and went looking for deepersmall DSCF9575 water which we found behind the island called “The Waits”