Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Cold cruise to March

We’ve been having warm sunny days following cold nights, today we had a cold day following a cold night! And it’s only 12 days to the Summer Soltice. After that the days start to shorten again…
Whittlesey has two churches, St Mary’s earliest parts date from the 15th century, while St. Andrews is a little later. St. Andrews has a tower, while St. Mary’s boasts a steeple.

St. Mary’s, looking across the playing fields from the moorings.IMG_5396

Just down from the mooring is Ashline Lock, the first time we’ve had to employ our new Middle Level windlass.

Ashline Lock, remarkably flimsy looking gates, compared to those on the main canal network.IMG_5400

We’ve got to learn a new lock vocabulary. Lock chambers are pens, Paddles are penstocks, gates are doors.

It doesn’t seem right to leave the bottom gates doors open, but those are the instructions.IMG_5401

Whittlesey Dyke is narrow in places.
There’s not much to see over the high flood banks, but they have the advantage of keeping the wind off!

On the straight section to Angle Corner I was entertained by a Sandwich Tern looking for lunch.


I was so surprised when it dived that I caught the splash but not the re-emergence with a fish! Or was it a sandwich?...

Angle corner is a cross-roads where the Twenty Foot River heads off under a low bridge to the north-east,…IMG_5417

…and Bevill’s Leam goes the opposite way to Ponder’s Bridge.IMG_5418

The Twenty Foot bypasses March and rejoins the Link Route below Marmont Priory Lock.

Posh Swan! Even got an address! No 172 Whittlesey Dyke, Cambs.IMG_5419

Unlike these two, who’ve yet to get on the electoral roll…IMG_5433
Nice kids though.

From Angle Corner to Floods Ferry and the junction with the Old River Nene it’s pretty straight. I had my iPad out on the hatch running the Waterways Routes map of the Fens so I knew where I was. I’ve got a Scrabble app on there too, so I wasn’t bored! Only time for one game, though…

A little more excitement as we approached Floods Ferry, one of the many wind generators was having a bit of maintenance.
Photos a little fuzzy, maximum zoom.

A cable runs out from below the nacelle… IMG_5434

…lowering a cradle.

I’ve got a mate who repairs these things for a living. I’m not too bothered by heights, but it must have been very windy up there today!

The navigation changes once you join the old Nene. It’s wider and deeper, making easier going, and it bends a bit too. Unfortunately it also runs generally north-east, straight into that cold wind.IMG_5443 I‘ve no doubt that cruising along here is delightful on a warm, sunny, windless day. But today it wasn’t a lot of fun.

Also, just beyond the junction, the river crosses the Greenwich Meridian.IMG_5436

The sign could do with a bit of TLC, but it’s right!
Well, close enough.

Greenwich is the Prime Meridian, used globally as a reference for navigation. Before 1884 several maritime countries had their own prime meridians, complicating chart-making and navigation. At a conference in Washington, USA, that year it was agreed that the Greenwich Prime Meridian would become the global standard, because many charts used across the world by many countries were the product of English cartographers.
Of course there’s always a fly in the ointment, in this case a French one. Our cross-channel neighbours continued to use their own Paris Meridian up until 1914, while everyone else used Greenwich. Old habits die hard…

It’s around 5 miles from Floods Ferry to March, a long hour and a half in the wind. Too bendy for Scrabble, as well!

Coming into March, now sheltered from the wind.IMG_5447

There are three mooring sites in March, either side of Town Bridge and one a little west, next to the park. I wanted to get on this one, it’s better for Meg, and there was just enough room for us.

Moored near the parkIMG_5448

It’s market day here tomorrow, so we’ll toddle up and have a look. Oh, and the sun finally came out this evening…

Hi Naughty-Cal. Not sure how long we’ll be on the Ouse, but we’ll keep an eye out for you.

Locks 1, miles 11

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