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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