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.

Seals!

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 🙂 ).

PS…

‘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.

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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.

Through The Deep, and Straight Dykes

Once again we had a day off yesterday as we’re not really in a rush.

We’ve now changed our destination, and will be turning around at Isleham Lock on the River Lark. We’ve managed to book into a marina at Isleham Lock for £20 a night, electricity included! Marinas appear to be expensive in this area, we even met a boater the other day who paid £35 a night at one marina. We have also arranged to go by train from Ely to Cambridge to avoid the £75.00 return taxi fair. Being a tourist is an expensive business!

After a bit of a shuffle around because a boat had breasted against us, we headed towards Ashline Lock. As I worked the lock I found it rather awkward, the windlass is worked using the same motion as ‘stirring a cake’. If the windlass was dropped it would be lost, and so would we!

Some of the bridges are quite low. The one in the pic below was quite deceiving; I saw the bridge approach, yet because the sun was in my eyes, I didn’t realise there was a metal girder beneath. It was John that suddenly realised I hadn’t seen the girder at the last minute, and yelled for me to duck. Seriously think this girder should have red and white stripes on it.

Whittlesley Dyke was quite boring, couldn’t see many landscape features being down below the dyke.

Leaving Whittlesey Dyke, and onto ‘Old Nene’

Twenty Foot River Junction. Not many turn in that direction with a 1.6m headroom!

“Fer lob a dob”

We had thought we’d find a ‘wild mooring spot’, but that proved impossible. Nothing for it but to continue to March.

John was getting a bit agitated as 1.00 pm was approaching fast – the England vs Panama game. He did manage to hear the first two goals on the radio, before we eventually found a 48 hour mooring on the edge of March. We frantically moored. The air turned a deep shade of blue for a while as the digital TV reception, and the wifi connection wasn’t too stable. Still, all was well in the end, thanks to the endless replays!

Edited to add today’s diary (25/06/2018)

Once again we’re having a ‘day off’ from travelling. The sun is glorious, and John’s busy polishing Cyan. At least one side of her is looking pretty smart.

Tomorrow we’ll be moving through March, and through Marmont Priory Lock, we’ve booked a 1:00 pm passage with the lock keeper.

Yesterday we travelled 10.5 miles, and through 1 lock. We’ve 34 miles, and 3 locks until our present journey’s end.

Hello Middle Levels

We left our mooring on the Embankment at Peterborough, moving a short way to use the sanny service, top up the water tank, and to dump our rubbish. We’d planned our journey to leave for Stanground Lock at 9:30 am, to arrive at our 10:30 am slot. We shouldn’t have rushed as we arrived at the lock half an hour early.

We shared a mooring in Peterborough with a boat that was moored next to us at Overton Lake. After a chat with the boater he shared a website link he’d been given (by the owner of the website) which is brilliant. The website shows where mooring, and potential moorings are, services, locks, and lots of other information. The web address is boatsatnav.co.uk/. Access to the guides/maps can be via an app on mobiles phone (sorry not a windows phone), and tablets. On a laptop or desktop you don’t need anything other than a web browser.

What does it show?
  • Lock positions
  • Junctions
  • Services – fuel, water, pump out…
  • Moorings
  • Winding holes
  • Winter & emergency stoppages
  • Shops, post offices, cash points
  • Pubs, restaurants, take aways
  • Bus and rail connections
  • Surgeries, chemists, pharmacies

And we’re adding new information all the time. Eateries for instance will soon have food hygiene ratings shown, and, because all of the data is online, it’s quick and easy to keep it up to date

It’s free, and it’s a continuous project. I understand the owner uses information given to her by other boaters. It’s a brilliant website, which is basically boaters sharing information with boaters.

When we return back this way, we’ve a plan to continue on the Nene (instead of turning right for Stanground Lock) to visit Wisbech.

UK’s own Little Venice

At Stanground Lock we had to tread water as there was a boat on the landing waiting to go through before us, which meant there was no room for us to temporary moor. We didn’t have to wait long, before Cyan was tied to the lock landing. John went to meet ‘Tina’, the very pleasant and helpful Lock Keeper, and to purchase the services key, and windlass we’ll be needing. Tina also gave John two free pamphlets (one for him and one for me) about the Middle Levels.

It wasn’t long before we were through the lock

We were impressed on our first view of the Middle Levels

The water is ever so clean

At the end of King’s Dike, we cruised through quite a narrow channel

With the sun in our eyes, Cyan turned right at a very sharp 45 deg turn, and onto Briggate River (Drain)

That was close, we just managed to squeeze round

It wasn’t long before we moored for the day at the mooring just before Ashline Lock.

Today we’ve travelled 5 miles, and through one lock.

All Set For The Middle Levels

We left the beautiful Overton Lake mooring at about 11 am.

These moorings are brilliant, but not all that great for big dogs due to the ‘Cheese Grater’ surface of the pontoons. A lady from a neighbouring boat asked us “How long has your dog been suffering from hip dysplasia?” Rusty doesn’t suffer from hip dysplasia; such was the way he was walking on the pontoon’s grating. Poor lad! If we return, we’ll reverse Cyan onto the pontoon, he’ll then have less of the grating to walk on.

Leaving Overton Lake

Sometimes modern art passes me by!

It was a lovely journey getting to Peterborough.

We moored far enough away from the town, but within an easy walk with ‘granny’s trolley’ to Asda. We’re also near to a sanny station and waterpoint.

We’ll be going through Stanground Lock tomorrow, fully provisioned, and organised. Even the weather is going to be on our side as we cruise through the ‘Middle Levels’.

Today we’ve just under 4 miles, and one lock.

Historical Water Newton

We had another day without travelling yesterday. We did try and moor by the Nene Valley Railway Station (museum) moorings, but unfortunately there was no room for us on the pontoon. As there was a strong breeze once again, and we are in no hurry, we had the idea of staying put for the day. We’re hoping that on our way back this way, there maybe a chance for us to moor at the railway station for a good look around.

Within a short distance from the station mooring, we saw what looks like a new marina in the making. ‘Sibson Marina’ is expected to be open Autum 2018 – see their website for details.

Talking of marinas, in a couple of weeks around Ely, we hope to moor in a marina for 3 nights. Looking for suitable marinas we’re struck how expensive they are in these parts; one marina we’ve found charges £20 per night.

Though the wind was still strong, the weather was glorious, and we had a lovely cruise to our first lock of the day, Water Newton Lock.

Water Newton Mill – now lovely homes

Could these gentlemen be the ‘last millers’?

At the top of the lock there’s the beautiful ‘St. Remigius Church’ which is within yards of the river bank. There’s also a notice saying ‘Moorings’ – not sure if it’s a ‘free’ mooring, or if there’s a small charge to the church. Looking at ‘The ‘Friends of the Church’ website Water Newton is crammed full of history.

In 1975 a Roman Hoard of 27 Roman silver items was discovered while a farmer ploughed a field, the hoard is now in the British Museum, with replicas of the hoard in Peterborough Museum see wiki link

Water Newton’s used to be called ‘Durobrivae’, and was a Roman fortified garrison town located where Ermine Street crossed the River Nene. More generally, it was in the territory of the Corieltauvi in a region of villas and commercial potteries. The name is a Latinisation of Celtic (or more accurately Brythonic) *Durobrīwās, meaning essentially “fort (by the) bridges” see wiki link

Water Newton Lock on the right of pic

Old photo of Water Newton Lock

Thoughts are going through my mind on what the journey will be like when we return, as these locks, particularly Water Newton Lock, the water appears to be pretty violent when filling. Must make sure the lock paddles are cranked just a bit at a time when going ‘up’ until the water equalises somewhat.

The locks are very well maintained with the grass being sharply cut.

Alwalton Lock

At Alwalton Lock we noticed two things, the first was a ‘Friends of the Nene’ mooring next to the lock which looks to be a lovely place, and maybe we’ll moor there on our return.

The other ‘thing’ we noticed was several ‘discarded’ mussel shells on the grass. A Google search brought up: this article

Britain faces a massive increase in its rat population – because they’ve discovered how to eat mussels.

The rodents are diving down to a rich new food supply and coming up trumps.

The phenomena has been discovered for the first time by Cambridge University biologist David Aldridge.

Piles of discarded mussel shells can now be found on the banks of the River Nene near March in Cambridgeshire. They remove the back third of the molluscs to get at the meat inside, which can be up to 10cm long.

‘The rat population has already exploded and will continue to explode,’ said Dr Aldridge from the University’s Zoology department.

‘They’ve tapped into a new food resource and have learned how to feed on fresh water mussels. They swim into the middle of the water, dive down and pull the mussels out.

Cruising on was very pleasant, especially with birdsong that kept us company. We’ve spotted our first grebe since leaving the Thames, and we even saw a cormorant diving and fishing for his dinner.

Milton Ferry Bridge

By 10:30 am we turned into ‘Nene Park – Overton Lake’ and what a fabulous place this is.

We were soon moored, where it was time for breakfast

Rusty’s not too happy as the pontoon has one of those grated surfaces, which must feel like he’s walking on a cheese grater. Still, he’s prepared to run the gauntlet as there’s a fabulous park for him to play.

The mooring part of the lake is run by the Environment Agency. There’s a facility for rubbish, but no Elsan services. Someone did whisper that if we offered a donation to the camp site that shares the lake, they might let us use their’s but we will give that a miss.

We’ve phoned Tina who is the Lock Keeper at Stanground Lock, she’ll help us down the lock to the ‘Middle Levels’. She’s booked us in for Friday at 10:30 am.

We should have plenty of time on Friday to travel 4.5 miles, including one lock, and stop for the Elsan and waterpoint at Peterborough Embankment, and be at Stanground lock on time, providing of course we start the day early.

This is such a treat!

Today we’ve travelled just over 4 miles, and through 2 locks.