Friday, June 12, 2015

A bit of a delay, but we’re on the Great Ouse!

We had a free morning today; there was no point in arriving at Salter’s Lode Lock before 14:30 as there wouldn’t be enough water in the river to float a plastic duck, let alone us! The time wasn’t wasted though, Meg had a good brushing, a shower, worming pills and an application of flea and tick stuff. We were both ready for a lie down after that!

Four boats had passed us this morning, two weed cutters and two narrowboats.

Just up from Nordelph we went past the end of Popham’s Eau, unpassable due to the change in level.

We’ve come up Marmont Priory Lock since we saw the other end. Complicated, innit.

Popham’s Eau at Nordelph

Yet another low bridgeIMG_5501

I do believe that this is a rather fine Lagonda…IMG_5503

We caught up with the weed cutters outside Nordelph, they pulled over to let us pass…IMG_5512

…before continuing with the work.
They’re powered by twin hydraulic props on swivels, giving them good manoeuvrability.

Despite they’re best efforts the weed was a problem, and combined with the very shallow channel made the going pretty slow.

We arrived at Salter’s Lode Lock at around half-past one, pulling in behind the two boats that had passed this morning.

Salter’s Lode.IMG_5514

Waiting for the tide

Too low yet but it’s on the rise.IMG_5517
That sandbank gave NB Pamela a bit of grief later.

The bottom of Salter’s Lode Lock
Meg’s not sure what to make of it…

The first boat went through on the level, waiting in the lock till the creek and the tide were even. Then we had to wait for a boat coming the other way, against the now rapidly-flooding tide from Denver Sluice. It all went a bit wrong when he turned in too early for the lock entrance and was carried by the tide to broadside on that sandbar.

NB Pamela, a bit stuck.IMG_5526

It took a bit of toing and froing to get clear, then he moved further downstream before attempting the turn again. This time he got it right…
Paul the lockie isn’t playing air piano, he’s telling the steerer to turn in.

The second boat went down without incident, and an uptide boat made the turn with aplomb. He’d done it before…IMG_5530

Then it was our turn. It’s a good job that the last boat didn’t take too long, the tidal window for passage was rapidly closing… If the water reaches the top of the concrete bank opposite we’d have to wait for the ebb.

In the lock, filling now up to the tide level.IMG_5531
We had to wait a couple of minutes while a motor-sailor went past the entrance, then ducked under the downstream guillotine with only a couple of inches to spare, and out onto the tideway. Our turn out was far less exciting than the previous two boats, they heeled over as they crossed the flow but by now the flood was slowing down as the river channel filled.

Looking back at Salter’s Lode.IMG_5533

Heading up the slackening tide to Denver Sluice.IMG_5535
The lock is on the left, the guillotine gate open ready for us.

And out, having dropped down about 5 feet to the river level.IMG_5537

Wide river

It was getting on for half-four by this time, so we pulled in on the EA moorings on the right.IMG_5540

We’ve got three weeks on the river and tributaries, before our EA licence expires. We’ll need to be back on the Middle Levels by then (no licence required) heading for Peterborough, where we can purchase another 14 day permit to get us back up the Nene to the Grand Union. From there it’s north again, all the way up to Ripon for early September. All go, isn’t it!

Hi Ade, yes Mags did enjoy it, after being a little nervous. The fens deserve a bit more time than we’re able to give them this time, I reckon. The same might well apply to the Great Ouse. We’ll use this trip as a sampler…

Hi, Steve, Angela. We’d followed your relocation here, so knew we’d be in your neck of the woods. Look forward to seeing you, the Lark is on our “must do” list!

Locks 1, miles 4


Sue said...

Gosh it wasn't long ago we were right there!! Enjoy!

Naughty-Cal said...

We are going to be watching you blog with interest over the next few weeks in readiness for our upcoming trip to the Fens at the beginning of July so please give us your recommendations as to where to moor, visit and eat.