Waving ‘So Long’ To Ely

We were the last to leave the GA moorings Tuesday. Gosh was the weather hot!

We cruised as far as Twenty Pence Marina, and decided to turn around and cruise back along the Ouse, and onto Ely.

A lonely tree – think we’re really missing the trees

We were in need of a larger collapsible table for outside use. While John was on the tiller, I popped downstairs to to order one online from Argos. I chose one that looked ‘just the thing’, and at 60cm width, it would fit perfectly under the Pulman’s floor when ‘the season’ ends.

As soon as we arrived in Ely, we got a message from Argos saying our purchase was ready to collect from Sainsburys. We thought that was pretty good service.

We moored practically next to the services, though I was rather worried in case we’d over stayed our allotted time in Ely. In the two other times we were moored in Ely, we didn’t over stay the 48 hours allowed, but I wasn’t sure if there was a stipulation on how long we had to stay away before we could return to the mooring.  I needn’t have worried; John read the notice asking boaters not to return for 48 hours. Phew, we were legal after-all!

We were ready to leave early yesterday morning, but just as we were untying Cyan’s mooring ropes, a wide beam passed us beating us to the services. They could see we were holding Cyan’s lines, obviously waiting to go onto the service moorings. When the boaters  of the widebeam was waiting to fill his water tank, he walked towards us. My first words to him was that we were in no hurry, so not to feel harassed. Think he felt relieved, though he did ‘stake a claim’ to our moorings. He was as anxious as we were that a boat didn’t come along and take the mooring just after we’d left, while we were anxious that a boat didn’t arrive and beat us once again to the services.  See how stressful life can be on the water 😉

After Elsan services, water tank filled, and rubbish dumped, we set off; mooring just before Brandon Creek. We had another bbq, and stayed outside in the pleasant evening air for as long as we could.

We rose quite late this morning, after both of us didn’t sleep very well. By the time we’d had breakfast, and showered, it was 11:30 am. Neither of us were feeling enthusiastic due to the heat to do anything today, so we stayed put. We did phone the lock keeper at Denver Sluice though, and we’re booked for a passage through the sluice at 9:00 am on Saturday.

In Search Of Cool

We left our spot at Little Thetford 48hr mooring after John carried out a couple of necessary, but horrible jobs.

John’s first job was to go down the weed hatch to check the prop for weeds. Luckily there was no problem, and while he had the engine cover open, he checked oil and water levels; all was fine!

The worse job was clean the sump that takes dirty water from the kitchen sink, shower, and bathroom wash hand basin. Uck the sump was gross with quite a build up of grease. Once cleaned, the sump was assembled again. This is a horrible 6 week (ish) job. Despite every dish, piece of cutlery, or utensil getting wiped with a sheet of kitchen towel before being popped into the hot washing up water, the buildup of grease continues.

After we’d both had a ‘cool’ shower, we set off on today’s journey.

We had tried to contact the ‘Fish and Duck’ marina to ask if they were open; their website’s down (has been for days), and no one is answering their phone. We decided to call in any case, after looking for a few clues where their diesel pump’s situated on Google maps. We sailed to an almost standstill by the marina where there appeared to be no one around, and seeing as the area where the diesel pump is situated would be tight to moor (without nudging moored boats); we pushed on a short distance to a GA mooring.

The hot weather was so intense yesterday, it was difficult to find a coolish spot. There was a ‘cheeky’ cool brease every now and again which was a welcome relief, even if it only was for a few moments. The new screens for the hatch and the bow doors have helped enormously to improve the ventilation by allowing us to leave the hatch and doors open overnight, but it is still very warm. All that steel in the hull makes for a good radiator!

Literally chilling out for the evening, while waiting for the bbq to get up to temperature!

Mum moorhen with her chicks finding lots of lovely food amongst the lily pads.

Course you do need big feet to walk on lily pads!

John, experimenting with moon shots

Cyan is literally being over run with spiders!

We only moved about 2 miles today. We’ll be moving on for a short journey tomorrow to hopefully a place where Rusty can get a decent walk, and where there’s a better WiFi signal.

Out Comes The Sewing Machine

When we moored at Littleport on Friday morning, the ‘entertainment’ was just about starting. It started off with the weed-cutter, then over a dozen cruiser boats started to arrive for a meet-up.

Weed cutter

There looked to be a meeting of SunSeaker boats for the weekend, and some of them looked very posh, though mooring them was quite a spectacle. It appears the ‘lady on the boat’s job’ was to balance on the deck ready to jump off with the mooring ropes, while their ‘captain’ attempted to moor. Several times the ‘captain’ mis calculated his approach, and had to take the boat ‘around again’, all the while the boat skipped and jumped on the water for another go. Another ‘job’ for the ladies; was to hang over the side of the boat, and use their arms and legs as a sort of fender to save their boat from crashing into neighbouring boats. We don’t now if it’s difficult to moor this type of boat….  but it was a revelation!

Once the shuffling had finished the ‘UBC’ boat crews descended on the ‘Swan on the River’ for a ‘royal’ gathering, a great time was had by all, and well into the night!

Circling around again for ‘another’ go at mooring.

We were on ‘thunder and lightening’ watch on Friday night. In this part of the world, the Met Office had a yellow warning for a thunder storm with a lot of rain. It’s shocking to say we were disappointed when the storm failed to materialise.

We left our mooring before 9 am yesterday (Saturday) morning while the ‘UBC’ members were still slumbering.

We arrived at Ely to find there was a boat on the service mooring, the boater was busy doing what was necessary. We saw a mooring further along where we could moor while we collected our new bbq, did some shopping, and bided our time until it was our turn for the service mooring.

After securing Cyan, all three of us (Rusty included), walked to Sainsburys. It wasn’t long before we’d returned with some shopping, a new fan, and of course the new bbq. John set about putting the bbq together, while I set off to visit the outdoor market, and to find the material shop ‘Sew Much To Do’.  I wanted to buy a length of material that’s suitable for fly screens.

The market’s very quaint, as was Ely, with lots of very pretty old buildings. At ‘Sew Much To Do’ I bought some white muslin – this should keep the flies and mosquitos at bay!

The service mooring looked to be continually occupied, and rather than wait any longer, John took a cassette and rubbish to the services using the fold up sack barrow, thinking we’ll forego filling the water tank as the gauge registered 6 (out of 10), meaning we could get by for a few days.

Lots of people were mulling about in the sunshine, eating ice cream, picnicking, or just having a stroll; their main point of interest appearing to be the boats.

Watched by an audience we pushed off.

Once again we saw NB Small World, we’d been playing ‘leap frog’ with them since the beginning of our journey on the Nene.

At first glance we thought this swan had managed to tangle itself with a piece of wire, when we got close it was obviously weed.

We moored on Little Thetford 48 hour mooring (as did NB Small World). In the cool of the evening we lit our bbq, and it didn’t disappoint 🙂 .

We stayed on the mooring today as I wanted to sew the fly screens for the hatch, and the cratch doors (I’m looking forward to leaving the cratch doors and the hatch open tonight). I also made a bag to keep the bbq tidy out of some white spotted on blue leatherette material. It should stop a ‘dirty’ bbq rubbing against other items in the boat.

Tomorrow we’re planning to call into the ‘Fish and Duck’ marina to exchange our empty gas bottle for a new one, top up with diesel, and hopefully water.

Catching Up In The Heat

We’ve been very lax with keeping up our diary this past fortnight. My excuse is that it’s been rather hot, and that we’ve not really travelled much over the past week, so there’s not been a lot to write about. Basically, we’ve been enjoying ourselves being very lazy, and enjoying the lovely weather.

On Saturday morning, 7th July we cruised into ‘River Island Marina’ on the River Lark (alongside Isleham Lock) for three nights. We’d booked a couple of tickets for the Corn Exchange in Cambridge, to see the Gypsy Kings, while we were moored at Abingdon on the Thames. This led us to a leisurely cruse down the Grand Union, onto the River Nene, the Middle Levels, onto the Great Ouse, and then onto the River Lark. Ann, John’s sister, very kindly offered to dog-sit Rusty, and to take us to the Corn Exchange. Think the River Island Marina was the nearest point we could get to Bury St. Edmunds where Ann Lives. We had a brilliant time, and the Gypsy Kings didn’t disappoint. (Thank you Ann x).

There’s a rather special farm butcher’s shop within easy walking distance of the marina. All their meat is home grown on the farm. Afraid I bought quite a bit of meat, including some very tasty sausages. Trouble is, unless you’re in the marina, it would be a problem to visit the farm shop as there isn’t any moorings close by.

On Tuesday morning, after we’d filled Cyan’s water tank, finished sanny duties, and receiving a huge Tesco delivery, we left the marina. We were slightly at a loss as we now don’t have an ‘aim’, nor any time restraint, we’re cut loose!

Leaving the River Lark

Back onto the Great Ouse, after leaving the River Lark

Tuesday and Wednesday night saw us mooring at Ely. It’s a lovely place, with a bit of buzz about it.

We had a lovely surprise while we were there, Christine and Mike from NB Alchemy knocked on our cabin. Thank you both for coming to see us 🙂 . We had a lovely chat, Christine and Mike know a lot about the Ouse, and they tempted us to sail further on towards St Neots and possibly Bedford. We’d been toying with turning around, and ambling our way back onto the canal system; thinking we’d arrive back on the network sometime early September.

Ely’s Civic pride – hope the gorgeous displays cope with the heat and (possibly) lack of water

Leaving our mooring at Ely

Ely Southern Bypass – under construction. Flags of St. George flying high and proud in support of England’s World Cup attempt.

Passing Soham Lode

We were still unsure whether to turn right at Popes Corner, or turn right around. I persuaded John to turn around, and to let’s think about where we want to go over the weekend.

Popes Corner where we did a ‘U’ turn.

Nearby to Popes Cornere there’s an EA 48 hour mooring, this turned out to be our ‘home’ for the next 2 nights.

It must be lovely to cool your feet

Monday morning saw us making our way into Ely again, this time with a plan to order a small, round, cast iron bbq from Ebay, to be delivered to Sainsburys where we could pick it up. We’d seen another boater with one similar, and it looked just perfect.

Ely Cathedral

Large and small boats

Ely moorings, next to the Cutter’s Inn

My ‘point and snap’ digital camera has been playing up for months, charging the battery had become a bit of ‘hit and miss’ exercise. While we were moored in Ely, my lovely husband bought me an early birthday present; a super duper Sony 64x zoom camera. It’s got lots of ‘stops and whistles’ to ‘experiment’ with, and I’m pretty sure it wont be long before taking a few pics will become ‘easy’.

Wednesday morning saw us sailing out of Ely once again, this time in the direction of the River Lark. We moored at the Diamond Moorings just before the Lark, killing time and playing with my new camera, until we’re called to collect the bbq.

Trolling? In this situation, trolling means ‘trolling for fish’ using nets, or with multiple fishing rods

Tonight we’re moored by the ‘Swan on the River’ pub at Littleport. We’ve received an email from Ebay saying the bbq has arrived, and is ready to pick up.  We plan to return to Ely tomorrow morning to pick up the bbq, buy some bbq briquettes, fresh salad and veg, and top up with some alcohol at Sainsburys. I’ve also a mind to visit the sewing shop (as per Google maps) to buy some voile to make fly screens for the hatch and the doors at the bow. The flies, and mosquitos have been a pain over the past few weeks.

After water and sanny duties once again carried out, we’ll be on our way to visit St Neots, and perhaps Bedford.

This is a new journey of 224 miles, and 94 locks, before our return to Braunston.

Nature In Distress

As we left our overnight mooring by ‘The Ship’, we both commented how impressed and delighted we are by the variety of birds and wildlife on the Ouse. There’s always something to see, even if its fish swimming around just under the surface of the water.

Not far from where we were moored looks to be a nice mooring. We’ve made a mental note to stop here on our way back.

It wasn’t long before we came to Littleport, John and Rusty stayed on Cyan, while I set off with my ‘granny trolley’ to pay a visit to the CoOp. Littleport is a quiet little place, with a variety of big/small, new/old houses. I was rather upset with the CoOp as there were no strawberries on sale. It appears to happen every year, even when we lived in Spain, as soon as Wimbledon starts; strawberries become hard to find – or so it appears to me. Still, I did manage to fill the trolley with ‘other’ fresh fruit and veg, plus various extra bits to tide us over until we can get a Tesco delivery this weekend.

We were soon on our way again, and it wasn’t long before we turned left onto the River Lark. We passed a couple of GOBA moorings, and on hindsight we should have moored on them, but we wanted to moor by Prickwillow Bridge, next to Prickwillow Engine Museum.

At Prickwillow there are two EA 48 hour moorings either side of the bridge, though for some reason, the first mooring we came to is ‘out of action’. We didn’t see the ‘no mooring’ sign until we attempted to moor.

You can just about see orange plastic fencing along the mooring, with a notice saying “No Mooring”. The waterpoint at the end looks clear of the orange fencing.

It’s not obvious why the mooring is out of use, it looks perfectly fine to us, perhaps the mooring has become unsafe?

Sadly, about 200 metres before Prickwillow Bridge, there was a dead swan in the water. We don’t recall ever seeing a dead swan before, although they obviously do die. Just as we sailed under the bridge, there was another swan which was obviously dying. It’s mouth was opening and shutting as if it was gasping for air, it’s neck was down onto it’s back, and it kept shaking it’s head.

Not far from the bridge is another mooring. This time we successfully moored, and wasted no time trying to get help for the swan. Something must be wrong.

Despite not having a good phone signal, I phoned the Environment Agency as the Lark is one of their rivers. They couldn’t help, but they passed me through to the RSPCA….. Long story short, after no one answering the phone, redialling and phoning other numbers without success for an hour, we gave up on the RSPCA. We could still see the swan, in full sunshine, in a distressed state from where we were moored. John then took charge and phoned Cambridge Police for assistance. The lady on the other end of the phone obviously had an affinity with swans, and was sympathetic to our problem. She just said “Leave it with me.” She took our telephone number, and name of our boat.

About half an hour later, we got a phone call from an RSPCA Inspector saying he was on the bridge, and was looking at the swan. John joined him, to offer any help he could. The RSPCA inspector had been coming out of  court when the police phoned him, and he was still in his best ‘court clothes’.

Donning waders, and holding a hooked pole, he prodded the bank with the pole to test where he could step to get near to the swan. At one point the swan managed to swim towards the centre of the river, but soon gave up, leaving a small breeze to push her/him back towards the bank again, and close enough for the Inspector to ‘hook’ the swan with his pole. Once caught, the swan was placed in a special bag, making it easy to carry the swan without doing any damage.

The Inspector thinks the swan has been in distress for days as it was emaciated. His thoughts were that the swan, including the dead one, had been poisoned. Maybe not from any malicious act, but perhaps through a fungus brought on by the recent hot weather. He said that when he gets back to base, the vet will probably euthanize the swan, as it is so sick.  He’ll write a report for the Environment Agency, mentioning the other swan that had died. He doubted the Agency would bother with an autopsy to discover precisely how it died, as they are expensive.

We mentioned how difficult it was to get through to the RSPCA, and how we resorted to getting help via the police. The Inspector mentioned that due to the hot weather, they are extremely busy (dogs left in cars?).

Edited to say: Strange though, after being on the Great Ouse which is teeming with wildlife, there’s hardly any other wildlife here on the Lark. No ducks, moorhens, or even any other flying birds. Very strange.

We travelled 7.5 miles, and zero locks.

Topping Up Cyan’s Tanks

Last evening’s sunset was pure magic! ‘Our’ seal had returned to his (or her) spot on the mooring, and was literally zonked out asleep as I took the photo.

We left our mooring by Hilgay Bridge, but not before taking on water.

It makes life so much easier now the water tank gauge has started working again. After two showers, and with the washing machine doing a cycle, the gauge registered ‘2’ (full is 10). We took a measurement between the hard bank and the boat’s hull to see how low/high Cyan sits in the water when the water tank is practically empty, and between when the water tank’s full. John thinks the bow sits lower in the water by approx. 6 inches when the tank is brimmed. This obviously would make a big difference when going through the low bridges on the Middle Levels.

On our return, before we attempt the Middle Levels, we’ve made a note to stop at yesterday’s mooring to brim the water tank, and of course to see the seal one more time.

We hadn’t gone very far on our journey when we spotted the seal in the water. He (or she) was swimming with about a foot long fish in it’s mouth. By the time I’d grabbed the camera he was practically out of range. Though I did manage to watch him roll in his back with the fish, as if he was playing with the fish. I expect he’s lonely, though he looks quite happy and healthy.

This is a pic from the Internet, which looks exactly as we saw ‘our’ seal today.

Babies are growing fast!

At Brandon Creek Junction, or The Little Ouse Junction, we turned left, making a note that it would be nice to visit ‘The Ship PH’ when we return.

We wanted to visit ‘The Little Ouse Moorings’ to top up with diesel. The diesel tank was topped with 72 litres of diesel at 89p per litre. As we bought diesel the owners let us use their Elsan point, and dump our rubbish which had grown into a small mountain. Turning at the service mooring, we made our way back to The Ship PH, turning left to be on the Great Ouse again, and mooring just after The Ship on an EA 48hr mooring.

Our plan was to push on to Littleport for an essential visit to the CoOp, our fresh vegetable/fruit stocks are not just low, they’re now non existent. When we get to the marina on Saturday, we’re hoping to get a big Tesco delivery.

The weather was hot, and as we were passing a pub, we moored, and popped in for a couple of cool beers, and a very tasty, crispy battered haddock and chips.

Today we’ve cruised 4.5 miles, and no locks.


We’re dragging our heals rudder a bit as we’ve got 17 miles to go until we reach our destination on the River Lark by Saturday. Since reaching the Great River Ouse, the weather has been glorious. Some might say it’s too hot, but I wouldn’t like to be negative about it; it could change all too soon.

Saturday morning was hot, yet very calm, with the river hardly moving. We’d planned to black paint the hull of the boat, and paint the gunnels with ‘Andy Russell Gunnel Paint’. Loads of ‘hay’, from long mown grass along the mooring was put on the water between the bank and the boat, just in case there were drips. It wasn’t long before one side of the boat was looking sharp and tidy. It was dry within half an hour. The ‘hay’ was gathered up and disposed of.

In the afternoon we moved Cyan to the other side of the river to paint the other side of Cyan. We never managed to paint it though; while we were there the wind got up, and kept blowing the protective ‘hay’ away. We didn’t like to take the chance of dropping any paint into the river, preferring to defer the job until we’re sure there’ll be no accidents.

Leaving our weekend’s mooring yesterday morning.

Passing a Grebe family. The little ones are diving as good as their parents. Their head’s are stripy.

River Wissey to the left.

House with a Dutch influence

It wasn’t long before we were at our planned mooring, just after Hilgay Bridge.

During the afternoon, we couldn’t believe how lucky we were, a seal was swimming around our boat.

For about 30 minutes the seal was giving us quite a show, it was fascinating how agile, and fast it could swim.

The boys (top right corner) had been jumping off the road bridge and diving into the water, showing off how fearless they were. As soon as they saw the seal swimming around, they decided it wouldn’t be a good idea to upset the seal.

The seal then became quite interested with the mooring bank.

Eventually it ‘jumped’ onto the bank.

A local dog walker said the seal has been in this area for about two years, and it’s been known to perform for people. She said often she’s sat on a seat by the river with her dog, and the seal’s come along and splashed them.

The seal enjoyed drying out in the sunshine. Amazing how it’s coat changed from a texture quite ‘slippery’ looking, to something quite fluffy.

I’m pretty sure I can see something of a smug smile.

The seal didn’t appear to be bothered by us at all. 

Rusty isn’t too well at the moment, he’s got an upset tummy again. We think it’s because he drank from a bucket of Ouse water. We had a BBQ on Saturday night; just in case as everywhere is quite dry, we kept a bucket of water close by. Or perhaps it was the treat of a few pieces of cheese which made him ill – such is his dodgy constitution. Since he was poorly several months back, he now doesn’t have any pig meat. There’s something in pork that upsets dogs, and you never see dog food with pork added.

We were moored at the end of the mooring, where the pathway comes to an end. Therefore we had to walk past the seal with Rusty; Rusty was desperately trying to make us understand he needed to go out. With the seal being just a few feet away, John held onto to Rusty’s collar tightly, keeping him as close as possible to the wooden railings. The seal just looked, but there didn’t appear to be any fear. Rusty obviously hadn’t seen anything like it, and he was definitely stopped from investigating.

At 2:30 am Rusty woke us wanting to go out, John got out of bed to take him, and again John kept him tightly away from the seal. Annoyingly Rusty didn’t ‘perform’ – probably Rusty’s curiosity was worrying him and he wanted to be nosy. At 4:30 am Rusty started crying again; this time it was my turn. When we got outside the seal had gone!

As Rusty’s tummy is still upset, he’s not eaten anything today, we thought we’d have another day here (what could be worse 🙂 ).


‘Our’ seal’s back again! 🙂

We’ve travelled just under 3 miles.

Longhorns, And Whales

We were on parade pretty early this morning, ‘time and tide wait for no man’! By 9:00 am we were ready for our ascent through Salter’s Lode Lock (can you believe that), climbing up onto the Gt Ouse, which is of course at sea level.

The Lock Keeper came to speak to John, and the other boater who was moored in front of us, for a quick pep talk. Although we’d taken off the flower pots from the roof as a precaution, the Lock Keeper was a little concerned at the height of our cratch frame, and suggested the other boater went through first allowing the tide to lower the water level in the river. He invited John to observe the Lock operation and to pick up a few tips on negotiating the river.

Waiting for a boat to come down the lock. Surprisingly we’d previously met the boaters as we shared a couple of locks together on the Nene. It appeared they had a great time visiting Ely and Huntington.

By the time our turn came to go through the lock, already the water was about a foot down, therefore we didn’t have a ‘height’ problem anymore.

Lock Keeper suggested Cyan pushes against the front gate to steady her. Opening the paddle, it really let the water in with a whoosh!

Soon the gate was opened for us to leave. You can just about see the ‘tide mark’ where the water was higher for the first boat.

So this is the Great Ouse. Cyan being put into a hard right turn, and we were out onto the tidal flow.


Lock Keeper watched us turn into the flow of the Ouse from his garden. A big thumbs up as we passed him. He (joked) awards ‘marks’ for helmsman ship to those entering, and leaving Salter’s Lode Lock.

The Lock Keeper was also on the lookout for a whale! The whale was spotted entering the Ouse at Kings Lynn at 8:00 yesterday morning, and is believed to be a pilot or minke whale.

Must remember the Lock Keeper’s advice when we return. He told us to turn into the lock as soon as we reach the ‘X on the pole’. Otherwise the current will make us ‘over shoot’ the lock entrance.

As soon as we hit the deep water, Cyan ‘picked up her skirt’ to ‘battle’ the current that was against her.

It’s a short distance to travel on the tidal stretch before we go through Denver Lock. The boat in the distance coming towards us had just left Denver Lock, and was making for Salter’s Lode.

Approaching Denver Lock, the Lock Keeper waiting for us with the gate up.

In Denver lock we dropped down to join the non-tidal Great Ouse.

Looking back to where we left Denver Lock. There’s another boat preparing to go in.

Jenyns Arms at the bottom of Denver Lock.

We didn’t travel far from Denver Lock, a mooring space was vacant at the furthest end of the first mooring we came across. A perfect place for us!

It’s been a hot day, and we’re looking forward to a BBQ when the weather turns cooler this evening.

As soon as we moored we were met by a Swan family. Already Mum and Dad are teaching their young to scrounge food. If swans can’t find enough food from this huge, and clean river then something is wrong.

No sign of the whale, but we watched this English Longhorn swim towards us, before settling for a rest on a bank of river mud. The water on this hot day must have been tempting.

Just as I started to worry that ‘someone’ should be alerted, thinking the  cow/bull couldn’t get out of the river, the beast climbed nonchalantly up the steep bank.

Baby Grebe having a ride on mum’s back.

The bank where we’re moored is rather low, making the under gunnel area of Cyan quite exposed. It’s a perfect opportunity to paint the starboard side of the hull with blacking paint down to the waterline. On Sunday if there’s space for us to go to the mooring on the opposite side of the river, we’ll do the same on Cyan’s port-side. We’d rather not be moving much over the weekend, leaving the river free for weekend boaters. But then again, plans may change.

Today we’ve only travelled half a mile, and through 2 tidal locks.

Mooring, Playing Safe

Yesterday was another day we didn’t cruise, instead we stayed on our mooring by Upwell Church. We left our mooring about 9:30 this morning.

Today we hoped to get near to Salter’s Lode/Lock for our venture onto the Gt Ouse planned for around 9:30/9;45 tomorrow morning.  Being a huge football addict fan, John’s desperate to get a good WiFi, or digital TV signal where we moor today.

England expects….

It was a super day for boating, the weather was glorious with just a hint of a cheeky breeze

We had two moorings to choose from, one was relatively nearby, and was on a 40 deg bend. This mooring was really too soon for us to stop, we’d like to get nearer to the lock.

Well Creek or Mullicourt Aqueduct between the bridges

Looking to the right while on the Aqueduct, we could see the Main Drain (this is the end of the Drain’s navigation).

A beautiful English Garden, delphiniums, roses, lupins growing with a background of different trees and bushes.

At the 2nd of our choice of moorings, we decided we’d give the mooring a miss. We weren’t sure if the wooden planks would take our weight, and the last thing we needed being miles from anywhere, was an accident. We decided to take our chance at Salter’s Lode.

The pic below is of Newton’s Bridge (no 29), we believe this to be the lowest bridge on the Creek. The picture was taken seconds before the pot of flowers near the bow was (sadly) knocked off! Luckily the other plant pots just skimmed under. On our way back, we think we’ll remove the tubs to the cratch for safe keeping, if only for the sake of our nerves. In the ‘Middle Level Navigation Notes 2018’ given to us by the Lock Keeper at Stanground Lock, there’s a list of low bridges; this bridge isn’t on the list.

It wasn’t long before we were at Salter’s Lode. We just managed to squeeze, with the help of the boat in front, onto the mooring.

There’s no Digital TV signal here, but WiFi is relatively good, though it did hiccup a few times during the football match. John remains pretty up beat about England’s World Cup chances despite losing by one goal to Belgium. He says Southgate played his 2nd best players for the game as England had already passed to the next stage, saving his best players for the next round. Some battles/games you lose, so long as the ‘war’ / ‘World Cup’ is won!

We travelled just under 6 miles today.

Through Marmont Priory Lock

As we’d booked to go up Marmont Priory Lock at 1:00 pm, we weren’t too sure how long it would take us. Plus there were sanny duties to attend, and a quick trip to the shops for fruit and salad before we left March.

The plan was to start as soon as we could, with perhaps stopping along the way for breakfast. At 8:00 am we pushed off from our mooring after Rusty had been walked, and we’d showered. The sanny station was around the corner, probably a couple hundred yards away. Elsan chores, rubbish dumped, and the water tank topped up – we were very glad of the full water tank…. more later.

From the sanny station, Cyan ‘hopped’ sideways to a mooring on the other side of the river by the library. I dried my hair, and tidied up for a visit to the shops. While passing a postbox I posted Direct Debit authorisation to the ‘Great Ouse Boating Association’ [GOBA]. We’ve been advised to join (£23 per annum, plus £2 registration fee) GOBA to access their moorings along the Ouse.

Shopping was soon done, and by 10:30 am, as planned, we pushed off from our mooring; leaving March behind.

There’s not much to see on the Fens, although we marvel at the engineering

We even got ‘excited’ by the wind turbines. John had a good question, why are there no maker’s signage on the turbines?

It was 12 noon when we arrived at Marmont Lock, the lock was empty, and we could see an elderly man on the lock beckoning us to enter the lock. I thought he must be a boater that is waiting to come down. After disembarking at the lock landing to help, and climbing up the bank to the lock, I was a bit confused. Surely our slot was 1 pm, were we allowed to jump a queue? Stupidly, (thinking the man didn’t know the ‘rules’) I asked if he’d come this way before. The man laughed…. and said “I’ve been living here for 60 years, and I’m the lock keeper’s husband!” Thank goodness he saw the funny side; he’s a sweetheart with a great sense of humour. I was so scared of doing something wrong! 🙂 Got a feeling John wont let me hear the last of this.

Leaving Marmont Priory Lock

Something we didn’t realise; the Fens are lower than sea level. Though we’re on our way to join a tidal part of the River Ouse, we had to climb up Marmont Priory Lock; it appears weird!

The area from the lock, to our now mooring was very pretty, the villages appeared unspoilt and timeless.

“Wine Down”

We were told last evening by a member of a boating association in March that the bridge by the Five Bells Pub, and the Church is low, and as we sail through the bridge, it gets lower towards the other side. After a ‘comment’ exchange with Mike on NB Alchemy who passed this way a day or so before us, he reassured us that if we passed under “White Fen Bridge”, we’d get under this bridge. Cyan cautiously sailed under the bridge, and she just about managed to limbo under, though the flowers on top of Cyan brushed along the roof of the bridge, but no damage was done. At the time of writing this, I’ve just realised; I don’t think we passed under “White Fen Bridge”! 🙁

We were pleased we’d topped up Cyan’s water tank before we started our journey today, resulting in her sitting lower in the water. Otherwise we might have had to remove the plant pots from Cyan’s roof so we could get under.

The low bridge.

Our mooring’s are lovely!

We’ll be phoning Salter’s Lode Lock tomorrow for our transit onto the Ouse. Think they will want 24 hours notice, therefore we’ll be staying here tomorrow. A good look-around the village is planned.

Travelled 8 miles, and through 1 lock today.