Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wicken Fen

We moved on up the river Ouse to Popes Corner and turned left up the river Cam. Just a few miles on another left turn at Upware gets us to some ‘lodes’ up through a short lock. The loads are just navigable drainage ditches one of which, after an hour of slow progress arrives at Wicken Fen. This natural wet land belongs to the National Trust much of it being at or below sea level is being allowed to increase. There are many walks along the banks of the lodes.

We saw the wild ponies of the Fenland, a Konig heard which is increasing year by year.
Walking towards the wind mill across the fields gets you to the pretty village of Wicken itself.

It is worth a look round to see the thatched cottages, gardens and village pond.

We were lucky to see the mill working on Saturday, the same day as the Fete.

It is still able to produce flour using the French mill stones. We got some white flour which had been dressed using a wind driven machine. The Fete was entertaining with a dog show all afternoon. Best waging tail & Irish Brace (odd couple) among the categories to get judged. There was an assortment of stalls, roundabout, Punch n Judy, mechanical organ and other attractions.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A walk to Thetford

We walked to Little Thetford village, over the flood bank and down to the field, across the railway and passed the lovely front gardens.
I have always liked the old varieties of rose with their strong sweet scent.
Dominating the scene is a large pink thatched cottage by Green Lane, apparently once a busy pub.

Then we saw this round building said to be a Beacon House built to warn of a French invasion.
We returned to Ely because we needed to go ‘home’ to see family again. So am sorry not much has been written about our adventures on the water. Must say that we are impressed with the train service with plenty of information at the stations and in the carriages.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Heading for Ely

After several days of moving we looked forward to some rest days and headed to the local pub for an expensive drink with Sue n Vic. Then we moved on upstream to our next moorings at Little Port. Nice clean EA moorings with a water tap so we could fill our tanks again. Several miles and no locks on this stretch of wide strait river with high flood banks either side restricting the view of the flat countryside. After days of dry warm weather it has turned cold n damp so we were obliged to light the fire especially after doing some washing!
Two days later we continued to Ely, the city’s huge cathedral on the hill coming to view as we rounded a few bends on the approach. Found a space by the park and let No Problem pass to report more space by the station, plenty of room so we continued on ourselves. Found our friends on Gypsy Rover there as well. Did a quick walk round late afternoon to find a dentist who would check Ann’s sore tooth, luckily finding a private one and got an appointment. Next day we went to the market for local fresh veg. Real carrots with green tops and thin tails, not those bright orange types you get in supermarkets!
Also got some plants for our roof boxes and while waiting for Cassandra to arrive we planted most of the flowers. Need to find a mole hill for more fine earth. Then my aunt arrived with a pot plant and we enjoyed catching up with family news over freshly baked cake and a cup of tea on board.
Staggered to note that our low duty red diesel has now reached £1 or more a litre round here. So we are trying to reduce our engine runs to a minimum. The price is not far off that for road diesel. We are able to use the cheaper diesel because we do not use the roads. But Brussels has changed the rules. Later in the year we will be obliged to pay the higher duty and VAT for moving the boat. Charging batteries and heating can still use the cheaper fuel.
We are only permitted to stay two nights in Ely so we move out to find more moorings at Little Thetford travelling with a convoy of boats. EA have extended these moorings to make room for more boats but failed to dredge the extended section. So we all bunch up one end and leave the new bit for different boats.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Middle Levels

This area describes part of East Anglia between the two main rivers Nene and Ouse. We had travelled on manmade ‘drains’ to March. The original course of the Nene passes through March and beyond making our journey more interesting. The Post Office in March was less than helpful so arranged our posting to go to Upwell. We had seen several wind farms in the distance and were very impressed by their appearance and huge size as we passed by several units near the river. No smoke or steam to make clouds, just slowly turning quietly converting the breeze into electrical energy.
Are these 'green' chips?
We arrived at Upwell in time to collect the post and found several shops selling produce from the local farms. An excellent fish n chip shop providing our evening meal. Next day we continued to Salters Lode in time to catch the tide. It is here that the navigation returns to the higher levels of the river Ouse. The tidal Ouse below Denver is the link we have to use. The tide lock systems at Salters Lode and Denver are under the control of the Environment Agency and other waterways are here to prevent flooding and feed water to Essex.

We got our instructions from the lock keeper. Sue n Vic went first as their boat was the longest and needed the tide at the highest level. Due to some delay they found the tide on the turn and just managed to get away. We had to wait for a boat to arrive from Denver and watched as they struggled almost getting stuck on a sand bank!
Then it was our turn. We were a little concerned but managed to get out ok and passed another boat coming down. The tide did not seem to be going out very fast so there was plenty of time.
Once up on the Ouse we found it wide and calm so after taking on water we found moorings for the weekend.