Saturday 22 July Rachel's birthday and a trip to March (8 miles, 1 lock)
|setting off from Glady Dacks staithe under blue skies|
|barley fields stretched to the horizon|
We set off along Wells Creek across Mullicourt Aqueduct
|Middle Level Main Drain / 16 foot drain|
|water pumped up to maintain canal level|
|road beside water|
|mooring for patrons|
|sharp bend with moorings|
Up-To-Date Cottage !!
The elderly Marmont Priory Lock keeper lady had lived there for fifty years, taking a small rent from the Middle Level Commissioners for the use of her garden, plus tips from boaters. Her daughter was helping.
|Liana helping the lady at Marmont Priory Lock|
The narrow waterway broadened out after we passed the far navigable end of Pophams Eau, for the last few miles to March, past the end of the Twenty Foot Drain.
|Liana saw a "tank"|
|March town clock|
|we moored on the left|
Sunday 23 July March to Ramsey (9 miles, 0 locks, low bridges)
We met friendly mum and two daughters at Fox Narrowboats Marina reception and organised a week's mooring while we see family in Leicester.
Moving on to Flood's Ferry, we turned left and continued on the River Nene Old Course and immediately met the lowest bridge at White Fen Farm, barely 2 metres, which just touched the cratch cover, without damage, thankfully, as we edged VERY slowly under. Benwick looked a nice village. We passed moored weedcutters, then hit the weed!
Mainly surface pond weed, so we coped.
At Wells Bridge we turned right, under a couple of low bridges until we turned left, past Lodes End Lock, down High Lode to Ramsey, passing Bill Fen Marina, where friendly boaters advised us about turning and mooring in Ramsey Basin.
This desperately needs new wooden boards to moor against. John got the shears out and tidied up the neglected hedges and mooring, so we could get at the bollards. Clearly, someone with vision had done a good job thirty years ago, but recent town worthies have left any work until new housing has been built around the basin ( according to locals). The Railway Inn yards away has decent beer, while food and tea shops plus a variety of other shops can be found up the pleasant high street. We had a drink and chat with locals at The Railway, until rain stopped play.
|leaving the moorings. You need a special Middle level key(from ML Commissioners fancy offices next to marina, to use the facilities the other side of the bridge|
|Middle Level Watermens Club MLWC|
|great back garden!|
|Fox's Marina, March, where we are leaving the boat for a few days|
|Middle level Commissioners fancy offices|
|Flood's Ferry touring park and marina|
|left Ramsey, right Peterborough|
|lowest bridge 48 White Farm Bridge, just touched the cratch top ...|
|floral Benwick bridge|
|Middle Level Commissioners weed boats|
|the weed boats got here next day|
|Wells Bridge junction, left for forty foot and welches dam lock, right for Ramsey|
|Lodes End lock with its locked compound, Left for Ramsey 1 mile down High Lode|
|Bill Fen Marina entrance.|
|we got advice from friendly local boaters|
|it got narrow past the scrapyard|
|approaching the basin, Ramsey Barge Dock|
|a 60 foot boat can just wind (turn) in the basin, if it is empty of boats|
|Annie moored in the Barge Dock / winding hole|
Monday 24 July Our 36th Wedding Anniversary! from Ramsey along forty foot and sixteen foot drains to Pophams Eau in the rain (17 miles, 0 locks, lots of low bridges)
Rain kept us reading until late morning, when we got water from Bill Fen Marina, helped by a boater.
We couldn't get a key to unlock the Lodes End Lock compound, as the owners were absent, so we had a long passage down the almost straight Forty Foot or Vermuyden's Drain, 8 miles to near the closed Horseway Lock.
We travelled another 8 miles along the Sixteen Foot or Main Drain to Three Holes, where Liana had read about a proposed mooring by the bridge and junction with Popham's Eau. It was there, with our thanks to Peterborough IWA branch who financed it, and was just long enough for Annie. This is the only decent mooring we have found outside towns! The little Middle level Commissioners staithes (jetties) have no bollards or rings and state " No Mooring".
|sluices at basin|
|John tidied up the Barge Dock|
|Bill Fen Marina|
|looking through Wells Bridge at the weed boats|
|the weed boats hadn't reached this end if the forty foot (Vermuyden's) drain|
|we fitted under all the low bridges today|
|left 16 foot main drain, straight on for closed Horseway Lock and Welches Dam Lock|
|weed and Horseway Bridge in the distance. The lock is twice as far|
|the Sixteen Foot is about 8 miles to Popham's Eau junction, under about 12 bridges|
|one of the low bridges we squeezed under|
|the mooring: Thank you, Peterborough IWA Branch!|
|our excellent mooring at Three Holes Bridge. The coffee shop was next to the bridge|
A young couple careered past us with their newly acquired narrowboat, before mooring nearby. He was struggling with his steering, so perhaps it was well that he didn't take up John's offer of breasting up with us (coming alongside).
Tuesday 25 July back to March
|setting off back to March|
|we passed NB Patricia once of Retford & Worksop Boat Club on Popham's Eau|
|... like a bird on the wire, like a .... (for Leonard Cohen fans!)|
|end of Popham's eau, left for March|
|some of the many huge wind turbines|