Tuesday 21 May 2013

Little Ouse Moorings Tue 21 may 2013

Now we are home I have uploaded so videos to Sundays Blog, you can read it here.

last night we ate at The Boathouse on Ely waterfront. The food was very good and Diana thought her Duck was the best she has ever had.

This morning we woke to wind and rain, we had been moored under a sycamore tree and the wind had deposited loads of unripe sycamore seeds on the roof, at the same time the pigeons had deposited something else, so we had to scrub the roof before we set off.
While we were doing this a uniformed gentlemen came by recording all the boats on the moorings, these moorings are limited to 48 hrs with no return in 48 hours.  
We only went a short distance to the other end of town where we stopped to pump out the toilet tank. Once this was sorted we were really off.

The light was much better today so I took another shot of the Cathedrala PhotoDSCF1901
I was surprised that the trains were still travelling over the Adelaide bridge. They have recently added these arches over the bridge, at first I though they were to carry overhead cables but now I am not so sure as they are so close.a PhotoDSCF1902

The wind and waves were coming straight down the river towards us, but that was the only thing that was.

The only sign of other river uses after leaving Ely was a moored Narrowboat at Little Port, half way back to our mooring.

These look to me the EA attempts at hanging baskets hanging from the piling on the river bank.a PhotoDSCF1903

Two hours after leaving Ely we were back on the Little Ouse and moored just under the A10 road bridge, this is a handy place to stop to load everything into the car. While we packing away Ivan the EA river inspector came by in his launch checking boat licences, so that’s twice we have been checked today.

One last job and that was to go a bit further upstream and fill up with diesel ready for our next outing.

Monday 20 May 2013

Ely 20 May 2013

Firstly I have decided to title my blog in a different format, starting with the place we are moored at that night. I thought this may help people if they are looking for information on a particular place or area.

back to today. The weather has gone back to early spring, yesterday was tee shirt weather, today tee shirt, shirt, fleece, jacket.

We set off at 1030am and headed up the Cam. There are a couple more boats moored at the Fish and Duck but not much sign of life. Until today I had only seen a couple of Swifts, today I have seen dozens of them, probably more today than I normally see in a year, also Swallows and Martins of course. I tried very hard to get a photo of them but they are not called Swifts for no reason, I got lots of photos of sky.a PhotoDSCF1892
This is a real haven for bird life. As we approached Bottisham Lode we spotted what we think was a Kingfisher nest and had we not been there I think it would have gone in, who knows. Shortly after that was a pair of Moorhens with 7 chicks.a PhotoDSCF1896 I don’t recall seeing that many before, they lay lots of eggs but you normally only see about 4 chicks.
We winded just below the lock as we don’t have a cam licence. The EA have drawn the levels down a bit in anticipation of heavy rain. This has resulted in lots of holes in the banks being exposed, I was wondering if they were Water Vole holes. a PhotoDSCF1897 We carried on downstream and back to the Great Ouse, the weather was still very overcast so we decided to go into Ely to moor for the night so that we can go out to eat, so far it looks as if it will be The Cutter.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Little Thetford Sunday 19 May 2013

Yesterday evening the wind died to nothing giving some lovely reflections.a PhotoDSCF1819 A Black Prince Narrowboat came down stream and moored at the moorings the other side of the bridge.

This morning the sun was streaming in, there was no wind and it was warm. We set to and washed the boat roof, this was so we could see the rust spots easier as in places all that is visible is a small crack, but scrape it and great lumps come off. Once that was done we wandered down to the Pumping Museum.
In the car park they had three steam powered Fire Engines all in steam with there copper, brass and paint work gleaming.

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I shot a bit of video of the steam fire engines running.



They also had an old what could best be described as a pickup to tow it with instead of horses. It is actually a first world war Royal Flying Corp lorry.a PhotoDSCF1825

The were serving a mean “Hot Dog” in the museum cafe as well as bacon butties, we resisted these and home made cake, washed down with mugs of tea.a PhotoDSCF1846 As it was a special event they also had the engines running, these are all air start and beautifully turned out, with many hours of work spent on them. I shot this piece of video as they started the Hot Bulb twin cylinder engine.

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Here is a bit of video of the 2 stroke diesel engine running with its twin valve arrangement.

They also have a good collection of hand tools that were used on the land.a PhotoDSCF1845 

Some of the other engines running.a PhotoDSCF1876

One thing I must mention before we leave the museum is their Local Weather Forecasting System which is considered by some to be very accurate.a PhotoDSCF1858

Once we had our fill of engines we wandered over the road to the river side moorings, there were now three Narrowboats moored there so we stopped for a short chat, one of them managed to flick his Life ring over the side but planned to collect it before they left for Isleham. We then headed back to the boat to treat all the rusty bits on the roof with Kurerust, I scraped while Diana painted. While we were doing this the three Narrowboats came by.

At twenty past four we set off towards Ely for the night, coming under Prickwillow bridge there floating opposite the moorings was the Life ring, so we picked it up and will drop it off to them next time we go to Isleham.
At the end of the Lark we turned left on the Great Ouse, by now it was a bit chillier with the breeze coming down the main river. Ely Cathedral looks like a castle on the sky line from this angle.a PhotoDSCF1880Passing through Ely we spotted that Kev and Debs were in so we drew alongside to be invited in for tea and meet the new puppy. While we were with them a steam train left Ely crossing the bridge just ahead of us, not only did the engine look splendid but so did the carriages. They get a lot of steam trains calling at Ely. After saying goodbye we headed a little further upstream for the night to the Little Thetford visitor moorings, we have not stopped on this one before.Just before mooring up we passed this young lady sitting in the sun.a PhotoDSCF1882

Saturday 18 May 2013

Prickwillow Saturday18 May 2013

Last nights moorings at Station Road are in my opinion the best ones in Littleport. They are well away from the main roads and also the most distant point from the railway.

This morning we were away at 1015hrs. and we could see that the water level had dropped by quite some distance overnight,a PhotoDSCF1807 so the EA must be expecting more heavy rain in Cambridgeshire. Again we didn’t meet any other boats all day. About three quarters of an hour latter we were turning into the Lark. As we turned we could see the moorings at Diamonds were also empty, just like the ones opposite the Swan.

Making our way down the Lark, Tom’s Hole Farm moorings were also empty, such a shame we didn’t want to stop here. It was not long before we were at Littleport. Again all the moorings were empty, not a boat in sight. We stopped just before the road bridge and filled with water. As things were so quiet we decided to carry on upstream for a mile or so. As we left the village we passed the second lot of moorings in the village, again deserted. We approached a pair of Grebes that were totally engrossed in each other and I actually had to turn to avoid them, they didn’t move until our bows were level with them.a PhotoDSCF1812

We passed the discharge from a drainage pump, in this case with tree pipe outlets, however this one for some reason is surrounded by a plywood housing. This is the only one I have seen like this.a PhotoDSCF1816 

About a mile further upstream we winded and headed back to the Mile End Road at Prickwillow and moored for the night at about 1330hrs.

Our reason for mooring here tonight is that tomorrow the Prickwillow Pumping Museum have an engine running day as well as a gathering of vintage Fire Engines.

Friday 17 May 2013

Friday 17 May 2013 Littleport

We arrived back at the boat a little after 2pm. We had bit of a diversion on the way along the old A47 as a coach full of pensioners had caught fire casing the police to close the A47 just west of the end of the Norwich bypass.

Once on the boat we went upstream through the moorings to wind and then back down to the end of the moorings to load up from the car.

Just after we exited the Little Ouse, turning left along the Great Ouse a Narrowboat came from the Denver direction and followed us all the way to Littleport where we pulled in to moor just ahead of NB Balmaha. As Diana adjusted the front rope to give maximum room to moor for any boat to moor ahead of us the passing Narrowboat called out to ask if we were just going. There would have been room for him ahead but he just kept going.

The afternoon was spent drinking first tea and then wine in NB Balmaha while we discussed their trip across the Wash and caught up with other news since last time we stopped for a proper chat 2 years ago in Peterborough.

As we made our way along the Gt Ouse I light the stove, I know its passed the middle of May but it was only 13° in the boat, now its a pleasant 23°.

Tomorrow we will be heading to Prickwillow as on Sunday the engines will be running at the pump museum and also there will be vintage fire engines on display.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Thursday 9 May 2013 Little Ouse Moorings

Last night we had a great pie in the lazy Otter last night. It was made in a dish with a pastry bottom as well as top, not a lump of flaky on top of a spoon of meat and gravy that you normally get.

The wind touched 40 MPH last night and wasn’t much better today. We set of at 10 am. with a bit of a struggle getting off a Lee bank, in the process I managed to snap the radio areal on the back cabin.

Travelling wasn’t too bad as once we were back on narrower

water we were shielded by the banks. As  we passed the new moorings at Stretham they were digging the road up ready to connect the water and electricity supplies.a PhotoDSCF1764 At the Fish and Duck there are also busy installing electricity and water points along the bank of the Old West river.a PhotoDSCF1767 Passing through Ely we passed an unusual Narrowboat that we had seen navigating up the river last week. The top box and cratch are so high that the steerer can’t see straight ahead of him and has to look down the side of the boat.a PhotoDSCF1768 Once through Ely the wind was behind up which made things quite pleasant at times. We stopped for a short time at Little Port where I removed the stub of the aerial and fitted a stainless steel bolt in the hole in the roof, I was concerned to get this done before the rain caught up.

Arriving at the Little Ouse I felt it best to go up the river forwards unlike last time when I did it in reverse. We stop just through the A10 road bridge to load/unload the boat as it by the carpark. just as we pulled in the wind picked up, there were half a dozen spots of rain and a dust cloud came over. I was OK as the stern was under the bridge.a PhotoDSCF1769 We had taken just on 4 hours to get from The Lazy Otter back to our home moorings. Once the stuff was moved from the boat to the car we moved up the river another couple of hundred yards to our mooring.

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Wednesday 8 May 2013

Wednesday 8 may 2013 Lazy Otter

Last night was so quiet, there was no wind and not a sound, we were all alone on the GOBA mooring and for those that think its not worth the money joining for just a holiday, where else would you get a mooring like this included.a PhotoDSCF1743  This morning we were awake at silly o’clock when every bird, animal and insect was shouting its head off. Then the weather was fine, but by 7-30 we had a gentle but steady rain, however it had cleared up before we set off.

Not only do they have some very hansom Highland Cattle toa PhotoDSCF1737 control the vegetation growth there is also a heard of horses living wild on the reserve.a PhotoDSCF1749 We arrived at Upware

Lock to find the EA in attendance, a PhotoDSCF1752 the lock had been playing up and they were waiting until we and the boat in front had locked out onto the Cam before testing it in automatic mode. As you can see the dreaded green weed has started to show its presence.

Once through the lock it was down stream towards the Gt Ouse, by now the sun had gone and the wind had freshened, gusting up to 25 MPH. the sky dark and threatening, but the rain held off. We passed a pair of unlikely neighbours, a Grebe and a Coot a PhotoDSCF1756 b  nesting less than a meter apart in what appeared harmony. I wonder if that will continue when the chicks hatch out. You have to look closely but the Coot is on the left and the Grebe on the right.

At Popes Corner we changed plan and turned left along the Old West River, there is just one boat here moored at the Fish and Duck moorings and work is still progressing along the river bank.a PhotoDSCF1727 When the Fish and Duck closed at the end of the year some of the boats took over what was the GOBA moorings at Stretham. It looks as if these are to become permanent moorings as there was a team there laying water and electricity along the bank.

We have moored for the night at the GOBA moorings for The Lazy Otter where this evening we will check for you that the food and beer is still of a good standard.


Tuesday 7 May 2013

Tuesday 7 May 2013 Wicken Fen

Last night we had a very enjoyable evening in The Jude’s ferrya PhotoDSCF1669 pub, good food and a nice bottle of wine. When we turned in for the night we were the only boat left on the moorings, it was so warm I had to open the side doors and slide.

You can see from this picture how the landing stage overhangs the piling, not good for paintwork. a PhotoDSCF1667 There is loads of room to turn here by backing in to the entrance to the slipway.

We stopped on the lock moorings above Isleham Lock as we knew there was nobody coming down stream behind us and went to the marina for a chat with John and Cath. We weren’t away long but when we returned a boat had just come through the lock going upstream.
On leaving the lock the offside gate failed to open fully, it was OK yesterday but playing up last week.a PhotoDSCF1690


Around this past of the world there are acres of crops grown under sheeting, from a distance it looks like huge lakes.a PhotoDSCF1648

This converted property had some interesting chimneys made in a twist. My late dad did a lot of brickwork in this stile for different people.a PhotoDSCF1643Having seen this old mill from the river it wasn’t until I was standing on the roof of the boat to take a photograph that I realised how big the property is, you normally only see the mill tower, the rest is hidden behind the flood bank.a PhotoDSCF1647

Diana spotted this chap sitting on a tree stump by the river, he was very tame and we reversed back and took several photos of him, he was quite happy sitting looking at us in his little hole.a PhotoDSCF1701

We have not seen many aircraft over the weekend but there were one or two biggies around today making up for it.a PhotoDSCF1682 a PhotoDSCF1691





We stopped for water at Prickwillow, all the moorings are empty again now the Bank Holiday is over so we had the place to ourselves. Back on the Gt. Ouse the rowers were out in force well down past the mouth of the Lark.a PhotoDSCF1720 Work is progressing on the railway bridge at Adelaide, it looks as if they are adding electrification gantries so that the line can be electrified. a PhotoDSCF1716
There were another family of geese with their goslings as we approached Ely, these are the second lot we have seen. a PhotoDSCF1719
Later we would see our first family of Coots with the parents diving to collect food for their young.a PhotoDSCF1724

By the time we had reached Ely the rowers were congregating round the boat house, so slow progress was required which gave us a chance to have a word with Balmaha as we passed, but we didn’t really want to overnight in Ely so pushed on.

For a couple of years there has been a wooden cruiser sunk on the Little Thetford moorings, we noticed today that its gone. Last time we were this way they had a barge and piling equipment nearby, so maybe they removed it at the same time.

At Popes Corner we turned left down the Cam passing The Fish and Duck moorings, there are a few boats here now, quite a few of them wide beam moored river side.DSCF1730We met the two Fox’s Narrowboats  coming down the Cam that we met on Saturday as they were heading for Ely.Just passed The Five Miles from Anywhere we turned left again, this time Upware lock was operational and we passed through onto Reach Lode, but not for long, at the end of the moorings it was another sharp left up Wicken Lode into Wicken Fen nature reserve for the night. a PhotoDSCF1738 There was already a boat on the GBOA moorings when we arrived at 6-30 pm. so we moored just ahead of them as I didn’t think there was room behind.
After diner we went for a walk around the reserve and when we returned at about 8-30 the other boat had gone, it must have been after 8pm. when they set off?