Saturday, 15 July 2017

St Ives to Godmanchester and back

Sunday 2 July to St Ives
already done in blog

Monday 3 July St Ives to Houghton visiting the Hemingfords
The sunny morning saw us enjoying the scenic journey past Hemingford Meadow to Hemingford Lock. Mooring near thatched cottages on decent public moorings, we toured Hemingford Grey village, admiring all the thatched cottages and tudoresque houses. The community tea room, staffed by volunteers, served excellent drinks and cakes, too. The church next to the river was also lovely. We guessed the only drawback was the price of houses …
Returning to the river, we still felt fresh, so passed Annie on our way to Hemingford Abbots, half a mile away across the meadow, past pretty pastoral GOBA moorings. More lovely cottages, some dating back to the 1500s, and the delightful church made our circuit of the village memorable. We were able to return to the boat via the main road, which had a path.
Continuing past Houghton Meadow and fishermen, we found the island EA mooring was uncut, unfenced and had no mooring bollards (like a GOBA mooring, in fact!), so we continued up Houghton Lock with a cruiser. The local boaters recommended the Three Jolly Butchers mooring, which we found a short distance above the lock, in a lovely setting. It was long enough for Annie, and reasonably strong, if a bit rough. As it was a four hundred metre trek to the pub, it was a good job that the grass path had just been cut, as there were loads of nettles. Our friend Elisabeth comes from Houghton, so we had a good walk around her home village, which has its share of historic and pretty houses. I was not allowed in the inviting Three Horse Shoes pub, in the centre of the village by the “clock tower”, a butter market type building in the small market place. However, a pint in the Three Jolly Butchers set me up to make a tasty spaghetti bolognese meal with red wine, while Liana watched Wimbledon. After a sunny, scenic evening in this quiet setting, Liana read while John watched more Game of Thrones dvd episodes, a present from daughter Rachel (thanks!).

Tuesday 4 July Houghton to Godmanchester and back
Leaving the rather ricketty but beautifully scenic moorings at the Three Jolly Butchers, we moved slowly along the mirror-like river, enjoying the countryside after our fen sojourn, past fishermen, boat yards, moorings and marinas. Above St Ives it is particularly pretty. On our left were various river meadows and commons, usually with a backwater behind them, paralleling the river and sometimes bypassing the locks with a weir. John had organised to leave the boat back at St Ives Marina for five nights while we see old friends at home, so today is a trip upriver. There were boats on the Huntingdon mooring, so we just skirted the town on the river, under the A14, through Godmanchester Lock. Here, John turned Annie and we went up the arm to the large but sadly neglected town basin, which was full of blanket weed and a foot deep! What a shame this fantastic setting seems unappreciated by the town council. Talking with the owner of the Great Ouse Ferry trip boat, trying to cope with unsatisfactory moorings in the park near the basin, he echoed our feelings. Apparently, pilings could be fitted to divert winter silt from the basin, so it would remain deep enough for boats to moor on suitable pontoons and make this a real asset for the town. It has a ramp, too! It would be easy to sort, and soon canoe and small boat hire would appear, I am sure.
There are a few shops, including pubs and tea shops, and the church tower is impressive, with tuneful clock bells marking the time. We returned to moor at Hemingford Grey, where we found ourselves surrounded by wooden rowing boats practising for their regatta this Saturday. John met friend Alison Atkinson's daughter, Helena, who recognized him from schooldays and lives nearby - and rows!

Wednesday 5 July back to base
Today we enjoyed the short trip back to St Ives Marina in the sun, and left Annie there for nearly a week (£55/week) while we went home to see old friends and garden.

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