Thursday, 29 May 2008

We thought we had it tough!

Just been reading Dot's sister Mary and her husband Tony's blog on their recent trip to Fiji from New Zealand aboard their Yacht Windspirit.



At least we were in sight of land all the time not like them. Rather them than me, glad they are both safe.

Believe it or not!

Still moored at Eaton Socon, Great River Ouse

The boards are up!

After a sleepless night with having kept one eye on the potential flooding all night we found that the river had risen by a foot overnight and that EA workmen had arrived to secure and lock off the lock and post the strong stream warnings. We were strongly advised NOT to move for at least 48 hours. Oxford 2007 all over again.

According to EA our moorings are reasonably safe

Just after breakfast the engineer arrived with a new alternator tucked under his arm. The old one could have been repaired but as it was 4 years old it was prudent to replace it. The actual fault turned out to be a dead MOUSE, yes, you read that right, a mouse. It must have crawled into the alternator for warmth and possibly been electrocuted. The dried up carcass had then fallen across the terminals shorting out the system.

The power of the water, high water levels and strong currents on the Great River Ouse

After the engineer had departed we caught a bus into town to collect my train tickets for my trip to Plymouth on Friday for my uncle's funeral. It was a really interesting experience with the buses because we had to catch 4 buses in total from the marina to town and then to the railway station and return. With 4 bus companies operating in the district the local's are well served.

Back on the boat we found that the river had risen another couple of inches while we had been away and that the other Derek had been busy adjusting our mooring ropes. We have moved the boats back closer to the lock so that if there is any likelihood of the river bursting it's bank's we can quickly get the boats into the lock for added safety.

Again we have been amazed at the amount of boats still being moved even with the flood conditions. Two narrowboats and 1 cruiser arrived this morning and are now moored above the lock with nowhere to go. One skipper has threatened to take his bolt cutters to the padlocks on the lock gates but that won't do him any good as EA have probably switched off the power to the guillotine gate so he still won't get anywhere.

1159 locks, 1616 miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Crash, bang ,Wallop.

6 Locks, 13 miles now moored at Eaton Socon, Great River Ouse

Despite yesterdays rain the water level in the marina had been up overnight but by breakfast time this morning had dropped. After checking EA's floodline and website there appeared to be no reason why we couldn't set off towards Huntingdon. Getting out of the marina and heading off to Cardington lock there didn't seem to be a problem. Approaching the lock which is at right angle's to a weir we saw that it was open so I started to line the boat up to go straight in. The theory was correct but in practice it didn't work because the flow over the weir started to take the stern away from the lock quicker than the bow was entering the lock. Applying full power we managed to crash and bounce our way in but not before a dent was put in the main rubbing rail. Once into the lock I make a quick evaluation of the situation inside the boat to find things thrown all over the place but no serious damage. When it was Kalimera's turn we helped by keeping the boat close to the bank and pulling the bow around and then Derek blasted his way into the lock.

This was just a taste of what was to come. When we left Bedford I noticed that my ignition buzzer had not shut off fully and there was just a faint buzzing noise but as the day wore on it got louder. At Castle Mill Lock we expected to find EA workmen clearing the faulty gate but no such luck. From an Email we got this evening they are not now going to repair it until Thursday. Anyway we got in OK but due to the flow from the weir alongside there was no way that we were going to be able to stop on exiting the lock and help Kalimera through so we just had to carry on and hope they were able to get themselves through. Apparently they had to summon every ounce of strength between them but they got there.

The further down river we got the worse the conditions became but there was no turning back  now. At Great Barford the road bridge just crosses the river at right angles and you would think the flow of water through the bridge arches would be straight forward but it pushes you sideways going through the archway. I lined the boat up and was heading in the right direction but then we started to get carried sideways and in doing so we swapped paint and mortar with the bridge, it could have been worse.

At Roxton lock the gates were set against us and upon trying to stop on the lock landing the speed of the water just shot us straight past so the only solution was to go into the throat of the lock and work around it that way. Luckily Kalimera managed to stop on the landing but nearly demolished it in the process.

By the time we reached Eaton Socon lock which is the first double lock we were all feeling shattered so we locked down and then pulled round onto the sheltered lock landing. We have breasted up just in case any other boats arrive.

As my alarm buzzer was getting very loud by now I rang the boatyard at St Neots that repaired Kalimera on our trip up river to Bedford and asked them if they would come and have a look at my alternators, which they did very promptly. They have diagnosed a possible regulator fault so have removed the alternator and taken it back to the workshop for a full evaluation. This gives us a good excuse to stay here overnight now. The engineer did suggest taking the boat down to the yard but had second thoughts with that idea as trying to get into the yard with the river in full flow could be like putting a bull in a china shop if you get my drift.

Since mooring up for the night we have received an email from BW stating that the Ouse and its tributaries are now on flood watch.  The forecast is for heavy rain overnight, lets hope they are wrong!

1159 locks, 1616 miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Monday, 26 May 2008


Still moored at Priory Marina, Bedford, Great River Ouse

Castle Mill Lock closed for investigation.

Yesterday we spent the day in Bedford after walking to the railway station for Christina's trip to Nottingham and to meet Tracey from London. There was plenty to see with the Saturday market in full swing as well as general sight seeing.

We went and had a look at the town visitor moorings to make our own opinion of what was available. The moorings themselves are good but they share the same stretch of waterway as the local canoe club who have a slalom course and water polo court set up right alongside. Any boats moored there while these water sport's were being played would be likely to suffer damage from being rammed or hit by misplaced paddle's or the ball. I don't know who dreamed up that idea but I think it needs to be changed. We had also been warned about a low bridge that quickly becomes impassable at the slightest rise in water levels. Well we didn't want to put ourselves in that situation especially as there is a lot of rain forecast for the week-end so we are quite happy to stay in the marina.

Sunday morning dawned with heavy rain so it was a lazy sort of morning. This afternoon we saw Tracey off and then walked to Tesco's for a few bit and pieces despite drizzly rain. Back at the Marina we enquired about the price of diesel and was pleasantly surprised at 70p per litre so without another ado we took ourselves over to the diesel pump for 112 litres worth thank you very much. While this was going on Kalimera was moved to where we had been moored so that on our return we could pull onto the pump out point and do a pump out.

While filling the water tank an elderly gentleman came across and spoke to us with the unwanted news that EA has closed Castle Mill lock until Tuesday when they plan to put a diver down to find out what is causing the problem with the bottom gates. Apparently EA have received daily complaints over the last 3 days about this lock so it looks as if they are forced to do something. Our plan was to leave here early tomorrow morning but we will have to stay another night and leave early on Tuesday so that hopefully we will be on the spot when Castle Mill lock re-opens. Fingers crossed as I have a funeral to attend in Plymouth on Friday!

1153 locks, 1603 miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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Saturday, 24 May 2008

Lock Dilemma's.

4 Locks, 7 miles. Now moored at Priory Marina, Bedford, Great River Ouse

Just as well there is no shortage of water, this huge lock for one small canoe

Today started out fine both in weather and cruising. The first lock we reached went without a hitch but upon reaching Castle Mill lock we found a CANOE in the lock going up river. By the time he exited the lock and 2 GRP cruisers came down, the owners of which requested we lock them through, we had been waiting close on an hour due to the size of the lock. After all this it was finally our turn.

Kalimera was the first to go into the lock and this is where our troubles really began. First of all one of the bottom gates wouldn't shut properly. We thought that perhaps the weight of the water of a full lock would fix the problem, wrong, the lock filled to within 3 inches of the top and that was it. After waiting half an hour we rang EA to tell them of the problem and our plight. Their recommendation was let the water out, open and close the lock gates several times and it should correct itself. We did this without success so we then opened the gates, opened the top paddles and gave the lock a good flushing, bingo the gates shut nice and snug. The lock filled to within an inch and then stopped filling again. The EA man did say we may have to use a bit of brute force so with 3 of us on the lock gates, Derek on Kalimera bought the boat right up to the centre of the gates and excerpted 18 ton of forward momentum against the lock gates and we were finally able to prise them open.

Now it was my turn and the bottom gates opened and closed OK this time. The lock filled OK but then stopped short of the top again. Nothing for it but to excerpt some more brute force but only 16 tons worth this time. The whole episode took us 2 1/2 hours to get both boats through that one lock and we were knackered.

A reminder what the force this river can do, a remnant of the floods

Pushing on we had been told the next lock was electric and would be easy, excuse me while I fall off the chair laughing. We were the lead boat and the lock was open so we went straight in. One gate shut OK but the other only closed half way and then jammed. No amount of pushing or pulling would shift it. Nothing for it but to secure the boat, put it in forward gear and do some more water blasting with propeller wash, problem solved and the gate shut. Just as Dot was lowering the guillotine gate after I had exited the lock 2 GRP cruisers arrived from Bedford so we did the decent thing and opened up the gate to let them in. Once they had exited the lock after a faultless locking procedure it was Kalimera's turn. Into the lock without a hitch and then shut the gates behind him, not on your life, the same gate jammed half way again, I couldn't believe it. So we carried out the same trick I had done blasting water past the open gate and bingo it worked again. While all this was going on there was a thunder storm rumbling all around us.

It had been suggested that we moor on the visitor moorings at Priory marina as it was supposedly only 10 minutes from town. Well we pulled into the marina looking for the moorings but only found one on what they call the sales pontoon and the other is the water and pump out point. Ah well, stop here and go and talk to the marina staff. The 3 members of staff were all at a loss as to what or where the visitor moorings were. Eventually they shifted a pontoon pump out facility to allow us to moor in its place. However we are still both blocking the water and land based pump out facilities but that's where we were told to moor. We are beginning to wonder whether or not we have made the right decision as town is not as close as we were led to believe but a good half an hour away down a gravel track.

While moving the boats to where the marina staff directed us, the thunder storm that had been making it's presence felt suddenly became a downpour and in a matter of 5 minutes we were soaked.

1153 locks, 1603 miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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Friday, 23 May 2008

Mechanical delay.

4 Locks, 13 miles. Now moored at great Barford, Great River Ouse

After yesterdays cruising Derek on Nb Kalimera discovered a fault with his electrical system which we both worked out as being a faulty alternator. This morning he contacted a Marina at St Neots who said they would have a look at it. After 1 lock and 1 hours cruising we arrived at St Neots where we pulled onto the council moorings by the Priory Centre while Kalimera went on to the Marina.

River Great Ouse 135

Nb's Kalimera and Gypsy Rover in St Neots Lock

During the course of the day Dot and Christina met up and went into town a couple of times but I stayed on the boat which was just as well because it turns out that the Priory Centre is a meeting place for the local youths good or bad. It transpires that only strangers to St Neots would moor overnight on this mooring as there have been many incidents of trouble. As it was, several youths , male and female, came down to the pontoon moorings and left graffiti on the decking, rubbish all around and were generally unruly. It's a shame that so much money has been spent on these moorings and boaters are unable to safely use them. The council need to fence the site off and secure it as BW have had to do on some of the Northern canal basins.

Eventually after 6 hours Nb Kalimera was under way again. The alternator had failed and cooked the starter battery. Even though it was late we opted to try and reach Great Barford as it was a lovely warm sunny evening just right for cruising. When we arrived here the local scout group were playing something like water polo or soccer in kayaks just above the weir but they were no problem. There was just enough room for both of us on the EA mooring next to the beautiful and very ancient bridge. While mooring up, a couple on another narrowboat that we had been crossing paths with lately came and gave us a helping hand. While chatting they told us that they had mistakenly moored on the Priory Moorings at St Neots when they first started cruising only to be threatened with wilful damage. The threat of being set on fire and let loose during the night frightened them off so they vowed never to return. Their home base is Bedford and apparently all the local plans their trips so as to avoid St Neots. I think that this sort of situation is intolerable and needs to be addressed by the powers that be.

1149 locks, 1596 miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Just cruising.

3 Locks, 8 miles. Now moored close to St Neots, Great River Ouse

Leaving Huntingdon was a bit of guess work as to which channel to follow. There are several channels which appear to be wide enough to be the main channel but there are no navigation signs to indicate the correct one. We did pick the right one and soon found the first lock. Approaching the second lock was strange as the navigation sign sends you to the left of an island and a right angle approach to the lock and yet there is a direct approach to the lock on the right hand side of the island. Admittedly there is a weir in the latter section but nothing like what we have had to deal with on the river Thames in the past. However we followed the EA signs to be on the safe side.

Brampton Mill with waterwheel

Godmanchester and Brampton locks were again big enough to accommodate both boats but Offord lock was only big enough to handle 1 boat at a time even though it is 30m long. As we have had a slight change of plans we decided that we could afford to moor up earlier than planned but the only moorings are GOBA moorings along the stretch of river past Offord lock but we have managed to find a nice stretch of bank near Little Paxton which is not covered in stinging nettles and where we could get ashore without to much trouble to moor so we will spend the night here. Paxton Pits which is away to our right is an area of aggregate pits still partly in use and a wild life and nature reserve. Famous for its summer wild flowers and Nightingales it has 27km of walkways around the pits.

Peace and solitude on the River Great Ouse

1145 locks, 1583 miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Earith to Huntingdon.

4 Locks, 13 miles. Now moored Rotary 24hr moorings, Huntingdon, Great River Ouse

Well the day started out OK with some nice fine weather. While having breakfast I noticed the boats were moving, however we were breasted up and the other Derek had decided to pull up to the water and pump out point, no problem. After securing both boats again he started the pump out machine but it only ran for about 2 minutes before falling silent. No amount of coaxing would get it to restart, luckily we are not desperate for a pump out. I rang 2 EA phone numbers without success and in the end rang the Hermitage lock keeper and left a message to say that the machine was out of action.

After this little disaster we set off for Huntingdon. The scenery was a definite improvement on yesterday. The river was forever changing from straight and wide to narrow and twisty but that makes things more interesting. We have seen quite a few pairs of Great Crested Grebe's but no chicks yet and the swans have been busy around this neck of the woods with quite a few sitting on nests and 2 lots of cygnets probably only days old. One sighting new to us was of an Oyster Catcher with its bright Orange bill and black and white plumage.

We had a pleasant surprise with the locks because the info books we have, including the one given to us by the EA lock keeper at Bait Bites lock, led us to believe all the locks would have to be done individually but they have all been modified with one wall being recessed so that you can probably get 3 or 4 boats in at a time. Even with our 2 boats at 55ft and 58ft there was still room for 1 more. At the St Ives lock we arrived just as a cruiser was leaving and somebody on the lock structure was waving us in. It was the crew of N/b Charlie Beere waiting their turn to come down through the lock. So with their help we were soon on our way again. At Houghton lock we appeared to be out in the middle of nowhere but there were people all around the lock so we became the centre of attraction for a while.There are several walkways crossing farmers fields but no sign of any housing nearby but there must be something around for all these gongoozlers to be about.

Lunchtime was spent at St Ives which is an ancient town with lots of history. As we have a schedule to adhere to at the moment we will spend more time there on the way back, pity the Milton Keynes /Bedford Link hasn't been built yet. Bring it on!

We had a good run today and arrived in Huntingdon around mid afternoon. We have had to breast up again on the moorings but we are used to that. I think we were lucky to get this mooring because as we were pulling onto the quay 3 boats approached from the opposite direction and we could have easily missed out.

Huntingdon Church in the market square

Now I mentioned before about not seeing any Grebe chicks well I have just spotted a couple out of the window. They are so tiny they are hard to see. I will try to get some photo's.

If you click on the photo and look at the original you will see the chicks on her back
1142 locks, 1575 miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006
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Tuesday, 20 May 2008

A bit on the boring side.

2 Locks, 16 miles. Now moored at Earith Junction, Great River Ouse

As much as we would have loved to stay on at Wicken Fen we had to start making tracks towards Bedford. After a long chat to Linda on Nb Kanbedun Again and putting some grease into the top bearing on her tiller, it was looking a bit dry and rusty, we said farewell to this lovely little secluded hideaway.

The run down the Wicken to the Reach Lode was again on the slow side due to the river being so narrow. Before we went through the Reach Lode lock we took advantage of the water point to top up the tanks. After this the trip to Earith was a pretty dull and boring sort of affair. Other than a few sunken boats, one of which was on the GOBA moorings at the Lazy Otter, and 2 had EA Infringement notices attached, the only excitement was at the narrow section just past the Lazy Otter where we met a very large cruiser, not quite a Gin Palace, coming towards us at speed in the centre of the navigation. Well we held our ground and at the very last moment he moved over narrowly missing Nb Kalimera in the process. We thought that by his behaviour that he must be the owner of the river.

As today's heading suggest's the Old West River is not a beauty or scenic spot and there are not a great deal of moorings either so we pushed on until we reached Hermitage lock at Earith where our timing couldn't have been better as 3 narrowboats had just come through from the Great Ouse and the lock keeper signalled us to carry on into the lock, so we were through, one at a time, fairly rapidly. The lock keeper told us where to find the new EA moorings and facilities where we are now moored.

Where do we moor then?

Earith lock and traffic light.

1138 locks, 1562 miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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Monday, 19 May 2008

Eco Friendly boaters.

2 Locks, 9 miles. Now moored at Wicken Fen, Wicken Lode

We were in no great hurry as we left Clayhithe at about 9.30am. The sky was overcast with a very cold stiff breeze blowing. As we headed off to Reach Lode lock we passed several small craft all flying the red ensign and all powered by
electric propulsion. They were an assorted lot with dinghy's, canoe's and one that had the decking covered in 7 solar panel's making it very eco friendly. Anyway they all seemed to be enjoying their day out on the water. Their AGM was held
this weekend at the 'Five Miles From Anywhere Inn' at Upware yesterday and today they were all travelling to Cambridge and back.

Interestingly the Lock keeper at Baits Bite Lock had told us the River would be very busy in Cambridge today as there was a big boat race on. Good luck chaps.

Once we reached Upware we turned right into Reach Lode where the lock is a double guillotine type which made things interesting. First thing was that the bottom gate was already partly open which it does automatically 15 minutes after the last lock operation as part of the flood control. Secondly we had to lift all the fenders on both boats so that we could both fit in the lock together because it was a bit of a squeeze. Once the girls starting operating the lock red and green lights starting flashing telling us when to enter and exit the lock, oh what fun.

Once through the lock we only travelled a short distance before we turned onto the Wicken Fen. Now this was something different again as the waterway is probably not much more than 3 - 4 feet deep and only about 15 - 16 feet wide in places so we hoped that we didn't meet any boats coming out. Our speed was kept to the minimum with the engine barely going above a fast idle. At the navigable end of the waterway is a wide 'Y' junction with another creek which is plenty wide enough to wind our boats. There was already a boat on the moorings but they were just preparing to leave so there was plenty of room available.

We were just getting lunch when we became aware of another boat in the winding hole and we found it was the lady on Kanbedun Again who shared the moorings at Waterbeach with us last night, unbeknown to us she had followed us. To make things easier she breasted up with Kalimera and still left plenty of room should any more boats arrive, but I think with Cambridge FC playing at Wembley today that is not likely as the locals will all be glued to the TV or at the match.

Later on Dot and I, accompanied by Christina went for a walk up to the Wicken Fens visitor centre to look at the wind powered water pump and then into the village to see the restored windmill. It was interesting to note all the rods and wires which make the windmill sails fully operational. From there we found the public footpath which took us across the wetlands and back to the boat. At the wetlands it was interesting to see the twitchers (bird watchers) getting all excited over spotting Lapwings, Ring Plovers and a Shoveller duck. The Lapwings were busy chasing off Crows. Oh that's too much excitement for 1 day, I think I need a rest.

1136 locks, 1546 miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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Sunday, 18 May 2008

Charismatic Cambridge.

Still moored at Clayhithe, River Cam

Kings College Cambridge

This morning the 4 of us walked into the village to catch the bus into Cambridge so that we could do some sightseeing in this historic city of learning. We caught the Go Whippet bus into town which unbeknown to us ran 15 minutes before the Stagecoach bus which we had planned to catch and uses a different route.

Due to the fact that it was exam time all the colleges were closed to the public so we had to make do with just a quick peek inside the gates at the magnificent interior quadrangles and gardens that are hidden behind these halls of learning. It no wonder that education at this level is expensive as the upkeep on the buildings must be astronomical let alone paying the tutorial masters.

One of our objectives for the day was to find the section of the river where all the punts operate. Even the wet weather didn't dampen the spirits of many who had come to enjoy a leisurely punt ride up and down the river. It was fun watching novices being instructed in the art of poling and how to control the punt without falling in.

At around lunchtime the skies decided to open up again and rain so we took cover in a coffee bar for lunch after which the weather improved until we were on the bus back to the boat when there was another downpour. As the last Go Whippet bus for the day had left we had to use the Stagecoach service for the return trip and although it was a different route it didn't take any longer to make the journey and yet it was £2 dearer.

Now I would like to thank of all you who have taken the trouble to email us with the name of the butterfly we showed a couple of days ago. I would also like to thank Jason who took the time to text the info to his Mum Christina, our travelling companion, who passed it on to us this morning.

1134 locks, 1537 miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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Saturday, 17 May 2008

We Came, We Saw, We Left

2 Locks and 12 miles. Now back at Clayhithe, River Cam

After heavy overnight rain it had eased to light drizzle by the time we set off for Cambridge just before 9am. Other than a couple of of rowers and 1 narrowboat it was quiet trip. At Bait Bite Lock, ( who dreamed that name up,) we met the lovely lady lock keeper who gave us some new maps and an information pamphlet and had a good chat about this and that. This is another easy lock as it is electric/hydraulic so only the digital finger gets a work out.

As we neared Cambridge the presence of run down live-aboard's started to become obvious just after we passed Two Trees boatyard. We also found a new water point with a stainless steel standpipe on the left bank just before a new white walk/cycle bridge which is not yet officially open .

After watering up we carried on past the depressing site of more and more run down vessels all the way to Jesus Green lock. On the bank beside the swimming pool the 48 hour moorings were full of boats that looked to be more permanent than temporary and only a couple of moorings were available on the opposite bank below the weir.

The grass on the bank had only recently been cut and being wet we could see it being traipsed all through the boats. We did speak to the lady on N/b Kanbedun Again who was on the water point by the swimming pool and she informed us that she had been moored by the weir for 48 hours and found no problems. Despite her reassurances we opted to return to Clayhithe where it was quieter and probably the best mooring site on the river Cam.

Regarding the state of the resident boats in Cambridge we have read that repairing and maintaining of boats while on their moorings is forbidden so its no wonder that the boats are in a hell of a state. Do the council or river conservancy expect the boat owners to race off to a boat yard which are few and far between around here or take the boat out of the water every time something needs fixing? Come on guys get real, I feel certain that if the boat owners were allowed to work on their boats on the moorings some of them would at least be a lot cleaner and tidier than at present. As Cambridge is renowned for its water sport and the river I'm surprised that more pride is not taken in the river frontage. All the rowing clubs have clean and well kept premises along the bank so why not the rest of the river?

Mr and Mrs Duck and family, not usually seen together

1134 locks, 1537 miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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Friday, 16 May 2008

Train Trip to London for the day

Still moored at Waterbeach, River Cam

Today we left Derek and Christina in charge of the boat and we went into London by train. Its very handy here at Waterbeach as the station is only a 10 minute walk away whereas at Cambridge the station is a long way from the river. With 2 changes, one at Kings Cross and one at Vauxhall it took 2 hours to reach Wimbledon where we met up with Tracey for lunch at her favourite watering hole , The Walkabout.

On the return trip we took a different route and travelled with Thameslink from Wimbledon to St Pancras International and just had a short walk to Kings Cross to catch the First Capitol Connection home.

We seemed to have missed most of the forecasted rain but Derek told us that it had been raining in Waterbeach during the day. This evening we are again being rocked by the swell from the rowing skiffs that are out training, coxless 4's, coxed 4's and 8's have all been flying past our window this evening. Still we shouldn't complain as this is one of the things that Cambridge is famous for and that is only 6 miles down river.

Yesterday on our travels we spotted a Great Spotted Woodpecker and found his nest hole. So last evening I went back armed with my camera and managed to get these lovely shots. Unfortunately some better shots didn't come out quite so clear so I will go back again with my tripod and have another shot and see what transpires.

1132 locks, 1525 miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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