We left the Old West River today at Pope’s Corner, but instead of turning north for Ely we turned south towards Cambridge.
Duck and Fish Marina
We’re now on the Cam, 12 miles or so to Cambridge itself. But we’re not heading there this trip…
It was cooler for a start this morning, in fact we even had a little light rain just before 8 o’clock as I returned from my morning run.
The Cam runs wide and deep to Upware, passing under the concrete bridge at Dimmock’s Cote about half-way there.
Just under the bridge there’s a Dutch barge with a tall wheelhouse. I thought “there’s no way that will go under the bridge”. A closer inspection reveals that it telescopes vertically. Neat huh?
At Upware, Reach Lode branches off to the left, around the corner and into Reach Lode (or Upware) Lock.
The Lodes are ancient channels, possibly defensive ditches of Saxon origin, but more likely Roman drains. Lode is a medieval name for a waterway and there are 5 in Cambridgeshire, three of which are navigable to some extent. Burwell Lode has the longest navigable stretch, at 3¼ miles, Reach Lode is just under 3 and the shortest is Wicken Lode, leading to Wicken Fen National Trust nature reserve and the village of Wicken.
Mags comes out of Upware Lock, after I’d figured out how to operate it!
It’s used as an automatic sluice, so self adjusts to maintain the level in the Lodes. When we arrived both guillotine gates were slightly up, an absolute criminal offense on a canal. But we’re not on a canal…
Flashing lights and clamorous sirens warn of an impending automatic adjustment, apparently. All quiet today though, so after closing the upstream end we locked through as normal. It would reset itself if there was no boat traffic for 15 minutes.
Just above the lock there’s a length of private moorings, then EA 48 hour ones just before what’s known as a cock-up bridge.
Looks alright to me…
It’s a tight turn in, but we’re about the longest boat you’d want to take up here anyway.
The lode is narrow and shallow, anything much above tickover and the wash would damage the bankside flora. And there’s a lot of it!
We were dismayed to see three boats at the end already, two were breasted up, it's tight for space. But then one chap said they were leaving, and another would be following in an hour so we roughly tied up with the fore-end stuck out till we could move to a better spot after lunch.
Moored at the end of Wicken Fen
I shared my lunch with a damsel fly…
…while a Brown Hawker watched from the other side of the channel.
We came up here on the recommendation of Sue, NB No Problem. Thanks Sue, it’s everything you said!
We can’t stay more than tonight though. Back to Ely tomorrow.
Locks 1, miles 5