Sunday, 6 January 2013

Sunday 6 Jan 2013 Gt Raveley Drain

First an apology for duff info yesterday. Benwick foot bridge is not due to be replaced until later in the month. It use to be a cart bridge and was then turned into a pedestrian bridge. The plans are to replace it with something similar, wide enough to be a cart bridge but restricted at the ends to make it only usable by pedestrians. This will involve closing the navigation for about a month. Last night we walked into the village for dinner at The Five Alls where in addition to their normal menu they had 3 different curries on. Diana had chicken and I had pork washed down with one of their real ales. This morning we woke to a very misty morning so decided to take a walk round the villagesmall DSCF0766 hoping the mist would lift before we set off. Benwick has been very unlucky with religious buildings and both the church which use to stand near the river and the Baptist Chapel in the high street have been demolished. small DSCF0765Last time we visited the burial ground where the chapel stood was very overgrown. This has now been cleared and we took the opportunity to have a look round. The rear boundary wall is actually the remains of the chapel and the air vents that would have been below the floor and slate damp course are visible. We returned to the boat at about 12 to set off, but with the engine battery sitting at 12.1 volts there was not much chance and the engine just groaned. Good old Jimmy the jump lead gave a hand and by 1220 we were on our way, sliding slowly through both the small DSCF0770mists and the fishing match that had set up just ahead of us. We passed a few moored Narrowboats as we pushed on up the course of the old River Nene. At the junction with the Forty Foot Drain we followed the river round to the left a continued to Loads End Lock. small DSCF0780The lock also acts as a sluice allowing the river to flow down hill pushing the gates open but not to flow back if the level of the Forty Foot Drain rises, which it often does in the winter months, since Christmas the level has been almost 3 feet higher than it is today. Through the lock we continued upstream until we reached New Dyke, here we turned left leaving the river and then turned left again down Great Raveley Drain. small DSCF0809This drain is only navigable for about half a mile where a drainage structure has been built across the drain. We winded just prior to this structure where the drain was just wide enough for us to get round and I do mean just. This manoeuvre was not appreciated by an angler who was fishing for Zanda which he classed as a shy fish. Once round we retraced our steps for a few hundred yards to where the bank was solid enough to get off the boat, by now it was 4 pm and we moored for the night

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