Wednesday, 7 May 2008

What a scorcher.

2 locks, 12 miles, Now moored at Floods Ferry on the Middle Level Navigations

The time had come to leave Peterborough so after breakfast we both moved up to the facilities centre for water and a pump out. We had contacted Stanground lock and booked to go through at 12 and 12.15 so we were in no great rush. We actually arrived at the lock just after 11am just as a boat was coming up through the lock. After filling out the paper work and buying a special windlass for the Ashline lock and a Fens facility key we were under way. Kalimera was the first through without a hitch and then it was our turn. After the water had been released and the gates open we tried to leave only to find that the stern was sitting on a ledge and we couldn't move. Eventually we managed to free the boat by pushing the boat away from the lock wall until it slid off the ledge. The lock keeper was only relieving for the day and being a young fella may not have been aware of it. He gave us no warning about the ledge but there is definitely one there.

The first stretch of water to Ashline lock is King's Dyke and in places is only 14 feet wide with 1 right angle bend which is a bit tricky. At Ashline lock we spotted the 36 hour moorings which we will use on the return trip. As the lock is only 11'6" wide we had to go through 1 at a time as we had at Stanground.

After Whittlesey the channel widens out and at one point is dead straight for 6 miles with only 1 slight curve and we were heading into a head wind with the sun powering down on us. Needless to say we finished up very wind and sunburnt. Its times like that when you wish you had a speed boat and could open the throttle but the Fens are limited to 4mph. We had been told about moorings at Floods Ferry but had no idea where and of course when we arrived were unable to find any sign's. Eventually we found them by Staffurth's bridge and they are operated by the camping ground operators who charge £5 a night with electricity and 1 free drink at the bar. We thought that was OK until we were told that the bar was closed for the night but the proprietor did reduce the tariff to £3 to compensate. Derek on Kalimera didn't worry about the power but we did as we still had a bit of washing to do after having had visitors over the week-end. Looking at the map the moorings are shown back at the marina which is about 500 yards behind us but there is no indication of this. Still, we are quite comfortable where we are and all set to go in the morning.

1128 locks, 1473½ miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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