Saturday, June 20, 2015

As I was going to St. Ives…

…I met a man with seven wives…
I couldn’t get the old rhyme out of my head yesterday morning as we headed upstream to the town. An earworm, I think they call it.

As I was going to St.Ives, I met a man with seven wives
Each wife had seven sacks, Each sack had seven cats
Each cat had seven kittens.

How many were going to St. Ives?

I did do the calculation, though.
Depending on your point of view it’s either 2043 or 1… The St.Ives in question is believed to be the Cornish one anyway.

After a bright start the day clouded over and the wind picked up, making it feel cool again. I wish the weather would settle down.

It was quiet on the GOBA mooring near Aldreth Bridge last night, although our neighbour Dobbin was doing his best to keep the vegetation down.IMG_5682
Despite his best efforts it’s still a bit shaggy..

On the lookout for breakfast

We had about three miles to go to Hermitage Lock, trying to avoid banks of the dreaded blanket weed that has a remarkable affinity for boat propellers…IMG_5690

Hermitage Lock

The lock is staffed, as it raises boats up onto the 2½ mile tidal section. You have to wait for the green light, as Mags was pointing out.IMG_5693

Looking back at the lock, the entrance to the New Bedford River under the bridge to the left.IMG_5696 The lockie told us that Denver Lock was currently out of action, so this was the only way at present to get back to Salters Lode and the Middle Levels, chasing the tide for 20½ miles.

The wide, deep tidal section is easy cruising, ending at Brownshill Staunch and lock.
The vegetation gives some indication of the narrow tidal range.


Brownshill Lock on the left.IMG_5703

The lock has guillotine gates at both ends, something Mags is not fond of.

In Brownshill Lock2015-06-19 12.08.09

Above Brownshill is probably the most attractive section of the river we’ve come across so far. Wide, deep and open to Holywell, then narrower with tree clad banks beyond.IMG_5712

Chocolate box picture at Holywell.IMG_5716

That’s proper river…


St. Ives Lock was staffed, due to a problem with the lower, guillotine,  gate. IMG_5723

Alright with us, we were in and through in short order, then heading into St.Ives itself.

Attractive waterfront and 15th century stone bridgeIMG_5729

And a familiar boat, Derek and Sheila had arrived before us.IMG_5732

The bridge was completed in 1425, with six arches and a small chapel in the centre. it replaced an earlier timber structure from around 1100. The bridge chapel is one of only three in the country, and has variously been a toll house, inn and private dwelling.

There was no room on the town wharf, and it wasn’t Meg friendly anyway, the Waits looked busy too as we crawled past the end of the backwater, so we decided to head to the GOBA moorings on Noble’s Field, just out of town.

Moored at Noble’s Field.IMG_5735

We were lucky, as we reversed in towards the bank this surfaced alongside the counter.

Navigational Hazard!
I wouldn’t have wanted that around the prop! It’s out on the bank now, at least until some oik chucks it back in again…

In the late afternoon there was some activity on the open meadow, someone was stringing barrier tape and there were a few folk milling about. So, curious as ever, I went to find out what was occurring. It turned out that today (Saturday) was St Ives’ Rowing Club’s annual regatta, and our presence would be a nuisance. We’d intended to stay here the weekend and have a look around, but we’ll have to do that on the way back.
We stayed the night anyway, but bright and early this morning we were away, heading upstream with a tentative plan to stop at Hemingford Grey.

Leaving Noble’s Field first thing, preparations for the event well under way.IMG_5737

We are definitely on a better stretch of river now. Very pretty to Hemingford Grey.

Hemingford Lock was only a mile upstream, like St.Ives with mitre gates at one end and a guillotine at the other. But, unlike St.Ives, the guillotine is at the upstream end.IMG_5740

The lock chamber is also oddly shaped to those more used to conventional locks. There’s a layby on one side so it can accommodate more craft.IMG_5742
We were on our own though this morning. It was silly o’clock…

The 13th century St.James Church stands on the riverside at Hemingford Grey. IMG_5743
The steeple was blown down in 1741, leaving the top of the tower looking oddly truncated.

We could see that the GOBA moorings on the meadow were full, but the EA moorings sparsely occupied, so pulled in there. IMG_5745The edge isn’t narrowboat friendly, though, with a concrete overhang contrived to take a chunk out of the cabin side. So at the first opportunity we took advantage of a gap appearing on the meadow and moved up.
We pulled in ahead of Teal, one of the last of the aluminium Sea Otters built in the UK. Ray and Geraldine helped us get in, then had a chat before getting away. They read this blog, among others.

Good to meet you both, have a good trip.IMG_5746

We’ll stay here till Monday, now.

Hi Naughty-Cal. Denver Lock was out of action for a short time yesterday, apparently. It’s fixed now but is known to be a little unreliable. Your plan to come up the New Bedford is a good one. Don’t worry about the depth on the Old West. The bottom is nice and soft… and sticky, too!

Locks 4, miles 13½ (2 days)


Naughty-Cal said...

Thanks for that. The section you are on at the moment looks very pretty. That will be the first stretch we will tackle coming in off the 100ft. Our aim is to get to St Ives on the first day as we have an early start from Kings Lynn, it should be easily doable.

Anonymous said...

Good to meet you both at Hemmingford.
Enjoy the rest of your time on the Ouse.
Ray and Geraldine