THURSDAY 19TH TO SUNDAY 22ND JULY 2012
Dinner on Wednesday evening, with Judy and Don was, as expected, good fun despite the storm clouds that gathered but the rain didn’t come too much and by Thursday morning the water level had continued to drop. I phoned the number provided by the traffic warden who was collecting the registration numbers of boats who had overstayed the 48 hours and explained our need to stay until after Dug had been back to the vets, the chap on the other end of the phone couldn’t have been more concerned and helpful and it was OK to stay until Saturday. If I hadn’t have called we would have been given a letter telling us to move on, just the first stage I imagine, but it is good to see a proactive approach to ensuring that boaters obey the rules.
Duggie pulled all the way to the vets on Friday morning, despite his plastic boot scrapping on the ground. The wound was healing well, a fresh dressing was applied and we were told to keep this on for a few more days and to still use the boot to keep it clean and dry, but we were free to move on. During the rest of Friday we explored more of Ely, including the nearby Tesco and became even more enchanted with this diminutive city and its friendly inhabitants.
The promised sunshine finally arrived on Saturday, Angonoka headed off upriver, but before we could follow them we turned and headed back to the services and am glad to report that the pumpout was working here. Everything was done in a rush as there was a couple of other boats hovering about waiting to use the facilities, but even the battered flowers tubs got a quick watering.
We caught up with Judy and Don at a GOBA mooring just before Popes Corner and had coffee before moving on. As we moved upstream after the Cam had joined the Ouse the river became much narrower and more canal like and after about twelve miles of sunny cruising, Hermitage Lock hove into view. Previously, the skipper of a boat coming the other way had advised us to take the flowers of the roof before entering the lock and the lock keeper confirmed this, he was also concerned that our roof box might not clear the road bridge which passes directly over the lock. It was decided to let Angonoka go first and she had about a foot between her roof and the bridge we thought we would be OK. As the photo shows we had about four inches clearance, the air draft guide showed 1.9 meters, we would probably scrapped through with 1.8, I must remember those numbers in a similar situation.
The other side of the lock the river is tidal for a couple of miles up to the next lock. The dead straight drains of the Old and New Bedford Rivers are immediately to the right and discharge flood water directly to the sea near Kings Lynn, but even so we were amazed to see how much land was still under water here. Our intended mooring at the abandoned Crown Inn was impossible as the pubs gardens was completely submerged, so we motored on through Brownhill Staunch and kept going to the picturesque, village of Holywell, where the public moorings were only six inches underwater.
The guide book says that the Old Ferry Boat Inn is the oldest in the country; the pub is a little more modest and claims to be’ one’ of the oldest pubs, but either way the pub and the thatched cottages provided a very pleasant back drop, so we decided to stay here for the whole weekend. Colin an old chum of mine, who happened to be in the area managed to join us for Saturday evening, whence I deployed the BBQ for the first time this summer and roasted a pork joint in it, delicious. Colin left soon after Sunday breakfast and we settled down in our deck chairs to watch the boats go by, a good decision as judging by the amount of river traffic, finding another decent mooring at St Ives would have been difficult.