Wednesday, 1 May 2019

End of April 2019 journey

We arrived back in our marina at lunchtime after a 5.16 mile journey with 2 locks.  The weather was fairly warm and there appeared to be more people on the river.   For the first time time this week we shared a lock with another narrowboat.  After a quick snack on board we packed our clothes and unused food and were back home by 1pm.

Total journey statistics: 53.83 miles, 22 locks, 25 hours cruising over 10 days

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Nearly home

River scenery north of St Neots

Passing under the new A14 bridge, opening next year

Greylag geese with family
Todays trip took us most of the way home from St Neots.  A pleasant but largely uneventful journey downstream through attractive mainly wooded scenery.  Highlight of the day was a good view  of another cuckoo.  I had heard it calling apparently nearby and after looking at the surrounding trees for a while through my binoculars was able to find it.

After a couple of locks and passing beneath the new A14 bridge over the river we are moored out in the countryside a mile or two from Brampton.

6.57 miles 2 locks 2 hours 20mins cruising

Monday, 29 April 2019

Back to St Neots

 We went out yesterday evening looking for otters but sadly did not see any.

After an uneventful but quick journey down the Great Ouse from beyond Great Barford to St Neots we are moored again next to the Priory Centre.

8.48miles, 3 locks 2 hours 55 mins cruising

Sunday, 28 April 2019

On our way home - no wind

After the very windy day yesterday we were pleased to awake to a sunshine with no more  than a light breeze.  We left our mooring in Bedford at 9:40 and made good progress as we are now travelling downstream.

Densie in Castle Mills Lock
Through the same 4 locks as on Friday all of which were set in out favour so we could enter immediately.  The picture shows the 3rd one - Castle Mills Lock which is the deepest on this section of the river.   I may be wrong but it seemed that the Environment Agency who manage the river may be deliberately holding water back around Bedford possibly for use during the summer as this winter has been very dry.  During the journey we saw no other boats on the move.
Densie moored at Barford Old Mills

Barford Old Mills - Lock Keepers House

Barford Old Mills Lock - nw derelict

We moored up at 1pm just before Great Barford off the main river on an island at the now derelict Barford Old Mills Lock.  As well as the lock there is the lock keepers house dating from the 1840s now looking rather neglected with overgrown vegetation climbing the walls.  Nearby is a sign asking people to keep their dogs on a leash as otters are believed to be active here - we will have a look this evening.

6.91miles 4 locks 3hours 15 mins cruising

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Wild and windy day in Bedford

Last night we went to a Thai rstaurant, Tana Thai, about 5 minutes walk from the boat.  It was one of the best Thai meals we have ever had, recommended to anyone visiting Bedford.   You had better book - we did not and had about an hour to order and eat the meal.  This was no problem as the service was quick.

We spent the whole day in Bedford, and are planning to leave on Sunday morning.  A very god decision as it happened because the conditions have been so bad moving at all would have been difficult.  The wind has been very strong with white horses on the river and the boat has been banging against the stone bankside.

One bit of excitement:  there were a couple of young ladies in a canoe trying to make their way against the wind with little success so they tried to turn around but the canoe was blown over depositing them in the water near our boat.    We tried to help from the bank as they would not have been able to get out of the river unaided but they were obviously experienced and after some initial difficulty were able to empty the water from the canoe, turn it over, and get back in.

0 miles 0 locks

Friday, 26 April 2019

Into Bedford

Much more enjoyable weather today - no rain, some sun but quite breezy.

We set off from Great Barford just before 10am.  The often narrow and shallow river  is isolated with few signs of habitation, the river bank to the east is mainly woodland whereas that to the west is agricultural.  We have left the wide flood plain and are beginning to see more hilly scenary.

Bedford Lock brings boats into the town centre.

Cruising through Bedford

Reaching the centre.
Moored up in Bedford

By lunchtime after 6 miles and 3 locks we were entering Bedford.  As usual from the waterways you dont see much of the towns until you reach the central area.  The final lock tooks us up onto the wide  and impressive waterway that passes through the centre of Bedford.   Nowadays it really is just for show, navigation ends a mile or so further upstream and downstream is only really suitable for narrowboats and smaller rivercraft.  Whether larger boats could get this far inland in the past I dont know.

We moored all on our own just before 2pm near the town centre.

7.48 miles, 4 locks, 4 hours cruising

Thursday, 25 April 2019

April Showers

A PS from yesterday: we were delighted to see a grass snake right in front of the boat swimming towards the river bank .

We were undecided about whether to set off this morning as rain was forecast.  However since the weather actually looked OK and the weather forecast changed every time we checked we decided to risk it .  But the first job was to fill out water tank since there was one available on the St Neots mooring pontoon and there are very few elsewhere on the river.

The Great Ouse is now narrow in places

Waiting for Denise to open the gates at Roxton lock

Moored at Great Barford

A  fine Georgian(?) frontage in Great Barford

It appears that they did not get any further
This was complete by 10am and we untied the mooring ropes and started our journey which took us through isolated countryside with three locks, arriving at Great Barford at 13:20.t The moorings were empty, in fact we had seen no other boats on the move the entire day. The weather had been showery with one long period of quite heavy rain but we were well dressed for  the conditions and did not get too wet.

7.92 miles, 3 locks, 3 hours 25 mins.