Thursday, June 11, 2015

From the Old River Nene to Well Creek

A day spent moored at March was put to good use. The cupboards are topped up again, and I’ve traced a coolant leak on the engine. I’d lost a couple of litres of water when I checked the level the other day, it was all swimming about in the containment sump beneath the engine. I got it all mopped out, and now there’s a tray under the drip from a hose. I’m not sure whether the hose has split, or the clip needed tightening. It has been nipped up, but I think I’ll change the hose anyway when I can source a replacement. I don’t want to take it off just to check, it’s the bottom hose and I‘ll lose all the coolant.

Yesterday was warmer than Tuesday, and today’s been better than yesterday, so things are finally on improving. At last!

Across the park this morning, the moorings are just down on the right.IMG_5449
You can see why Meg liked it here!

Heading towards Town Bridge and the service wharf, someone’s burning rubbish!IMG_5450

March is well worth a visit, I didn’t spend a lot of time exploring but what I did see was encouraging. It seems to have developed at around the end of the 19th century, judging by the buildings, and must have been quite wealthy.

The old Middle Level Commissioners offices.20150611_093109

Memorial fountain commemorates the coronation of George V

We used the facilities, then carried on, under High Street Bridge.IMG_5453

At the edge of the town there’s a collection of military vehicles…IMG_5456


The river course winds gently across the flat fenland, passing the junction with the Twenty Foot River and Popham’s Eau. Popham’s is a short cut to above Salter’s Lode to built to carry flood water away from Upwell and Outwell,but it’s not navigable beyond it’s junction with the Sixteen Foot Drain, or Middle Level Main Drain, at Three Holes.

Popham’s Eau heads off just north of east to terminate at a sluice at NordelphIMG_5465

There is a large, 25 unit, windfarm near the Twenty Foot River Junction.

You don’t realise how big the turbines are till you get up close and personal!IMG_5464

I’m a bit confused with the water flows around here. At Ashline Lock just outside of Whittlesey we came down, now at Marmite Marmont Priory Lock we’re going back up again.

Marmot Priory Lock

At the lock we left the Old River Nene and joined Well Creek for the rest of the trip to Salter’s Lode. But I don’t know where the Old River goes…

We were intending to moor in Upwell or Outwell, but it was such a pleasant day we pushed on. The two villages are pretty well joined end to end. Upwell is first, at the UPstream end of WELL creek, Outwell is where it flows out. Although there’s negligible flow at normal levels.

Into Upwell.IMG_5478
It’s very quiet along here, we’ve only seen four boats all day. The moorings in both villages were empty.

The channel is shallow and narrow as runs through the villages.IMG_5481

There’s a sharp bend In Outwell where the Wisbech Canal used to branch off. I hadn’t realised, but Wisbech is less than 5 miles to the north.

Outwell BendIMG_5487
Pleasant moorings here, too.

Just over a mile on, the creek crosses the Middle Level Main Drain, the long, straight channel that connects with the Forty Foot or Vermuyden’s Drain near Chatteris.

Middle Level Main Drain from Mullicourt AqueductIMG_5491

Cornelius Vermuyden was the Dutch engineer who proposed and implemented the initial land drainage schemes for the fens in the mid-1650s. He’d already had a lot of experience in his native country.
If you stray off the Link Route from the Nene to the Ouse you need a good map…

Just over a mile after the aqueduct we pulled in on a short mooring on the north bank. It’s alongside the Downham Road but the bank is wide and high here. The staging has seen better days…


We could have pushed on the last 3 miles to Salter’s Lode, but it was already 3 o’clock, and we don’t have to be there till half-two tomorrow for our short tidal trip.

Locks 1, miles 11


Ade said...

Hi Geoff and Mags,

Enjoying your pictures and words of the fens, after reading Sue's take on it all recently, it's nice to read another take on it.
I should of posted a comment after your wash final round up but being on holiday in South Devon I didn't get to it, but just to say a great read great pictures as always and some great information, I trust Mags did enjoy it in the end after nervous anticipation and looking back now she no doubt has a tale or two to share!
Good stuff as always Geoff.

Steve and Angela said...

Hope to catch up with you along the way. We now live on the River Lark off the Great Ouse, though we were at Sawley when I saw you last.
I'm sure Salters will be a doddle after the Wash.
By the way the big bird you saw a few days back was a Crane, there are a few colonies of them in East Anglia. The only place you get them in the UK.