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70 now and our five wonderful years aboard our narrowboat Skyy seem along time ago. Jacquie, allowed me to build my replica three wheeler kit car, which was a great success. Now it's time to start on a bigger project and that is to make a good Triumph Stag even better, here goes.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


THURSDAY 23RD TO SATURDAY 25TH AUGUST 2012                         

It has to be said “The Middle Level is very boring”  OK the big cloud splattered blue sky does help a little to alleviate the boredom, but from Upwell to Marchmont Priory Lock, the gong is narrow, weedy and very slow. We did call ahead to the lock, this time and the elderly couple who operate it, were very helpful. Shortly after the lock the water opens up to dead straight stretches and you can get a move on, with just the wind farm to stop you from falling asleep. Eventually the outskirts of March arrived to spice things up a touch and then the copper covered tower of the Town Hall came into view and we found a mooring right under it. We sallied forth to the shops and a well stocked card and gift shop provided all we needed for forthcoming, birthdays etc.

Moored just in front of us were Mike and Sally from NB October House and their Whippet, Socks, who, enjoyed playing with Duggie. We also enjoyed their company as we swapped our cruising experiences. The next morning we waved goodbye and made way for the arrival of the first of ten narrow boats that were all decked up with white ribbons and balloons, a couple who keep their boat at Floods Ferry were getting married in the Registry Office in March and were then going to be towed back to Floods Ferry in a pedalo and fortunately it looked as if the sun was going to shine on the happy occasion.

We moved on to Whittlesey, a pleasant market town and moored for the night just beyond Ashline Lock. Tina from Stanground Lock said it would take us about an hour and al half to get to her lock from here and that gave us plenty of time for our midday passage. Friday night passed peacefully and we left just after ten o’clock on Saturday. Once again the going was very slow and we arrived only just before our appointed time. Tina said that she had been very busy as many boats were travelling to Peterborough for the Bank Holiday weekend beer festival.
Just before we turned onto the River Nene, I grabbed this shot of a real pirates house, without doubt the most exciting place on the Middle Levels and the only thing worth getting the camera out for.

We could just hear the rock band from our chosen mooring spot on the river and as we walked into town we were very glad that we hadn’t moored closer, as the crowd in the football stadium, on the other side of the river were in competition with the band. We took the precaution of taking our golf umbrella with us, which was just as well as it took the brunt of the sudden torrential rain storm as we scurried into the shopping centre.

Considering all that was going on in Peterborough, we again had an undisturbed night, so if you are planning bringing your boat to this town do not be put off by mooring on the so called Embankment, our experience has showed to be a pleasant untroubled place, although the pumpout facility is still not working.

Sunday, 26 August 2012



Thank you Carol and Kevin for your comments and the good news for Kevin’s wife, is that now she won’t have to worry about competition for that lovely riverside home at Ely.

The weather was as forecast, very warm and sunny as we left Buckden Marina, the locks slipped easily passed and we stopped for the evening at the public mooring by the delightful village of Hemingford Grey. On Sunday we reached the isolated GOBA moorings on the Old West River, having passed through the tidal section of the Great Ouse, the heat was quite exhausting and I did take a dip in the river to cool off whilst watching the sunset

On Monday we were again in Ely for the night and on Tuesday morning I called Denver Sluice and booked in for a passage to Salters Lode, midday Wednesday I was told, so we moved on from Ely and settled down to about twelve miles of easy, lock free, sunny, cruising, stopping at the EA mooring just before Hilgay Bridge, leaving just an hour’s cruising for Wednesday morning before we would arrive at Denver.

We left in plenty of time in the morning, as I wanted to pumpout and fill with water at Denver before joining the queue for the lock. We left the service pontoon in a bit of a rush, which is the other side of the lock island, as it was; we were still number eight in the queue when we tied up. I called to Jacquie that I would take Duggie and see what was happening, but no Duggie!! We must have left him behind when we finished with the services, I collected his lead and briskly walked over the lock and down towards back of the services and to our relief Duggie ran up when I called his name, Phew, what bad parents we must be!

There was a little silt pusher doing its best to remove the mud bank, but as the tide rapidly fell away it was very much still there. We were the last out at 2.30 pm and with a stiff breeze blowing I couldn’t get my nose round in time before we were on the mud. I pulled back into the lock and repositioned so that I could exit at an angle and on full throttle, this time the bow came into wind and we were on our down to Salters Lode. It was a clumsy turn into the narrow entrance, but we were in without touching the sides and the relief lock keeper was not on hand to witness or score my effort out of ten.


The Middle Levels are so slow after the river and two hours later we arrived at the flower bedecked landing at Upwell and tied up for the night.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012



The river was empty and so beautiful as we travelled downstream to stop at Buckden Marina, we initially moored river side for two days and paid the £10 a night fee at the bar/restaurant reception, the good news was that 50% of the fee is deducted from your bar bill, there is lovely terrace overlooking the attractive marina and the surrounding wooden lodges, there is also a swimming pool and gym here and a mile up the road up the road lies the old village of Buckden with all this thriving community has to offer.

To cut a long story short we were very taken with the place and decided to stay longer. We moved the boat into the marina and hired a car so that we could fully explore the area and potential properties. We had considered that this might be our last year of cruising, but were also discussing cruising plans for next year. We had agreed that we would instinctively know when the time to step ashore for the last time arrived and this definitely felt like the right place.

We have found a bungalow very close to the river which comes with a mooring, so now we are in the usual selling and buying situation, but hope to be able to complete early next year. We could keep SKYY on this mooring, but it would be inappropriate, a small river cruiser would be great for messing about on the river.

Our immediate plan is now to return to Napton, we need to clear the Northampton Arm by the 10th September as it will be closed for three weeks for maintenance and once back spruce SKYY up ready for sale. In the meantime I will continue to blog our return trip up the River Nene, but sadly the adventures of SKYY is coming to an end.

Yes I’ve said it SKYY IS UP FOR SALE, if any readers out there are interested just leave a comment with an email or phone number, comments are only published when I authorise it, so any personal information will not be shown on the web.

Tomorrow we start our return journey, the weather forecast for the weekend looks wonderful and the river is gentle, so hopefully our last cruise will be very enjoyable.

Monday, 20 August 2012


WEDNESDAY 1ST TO WEDNESDAY 8TH AUGUST 2011                  

I have been very tardy with the blog, but such a lot has happened during the last week, all good, but I will explain later. For now I will try to catch up.

On the 1st of the month we did enjoy the river from a proper, twin engined river boat, courtesy of David and Angela, we retraced our journey to Barford, unfortunately catching the lowered windscreen on the narrow arch of the old bridge, shattering the glass and twisting the frame. It seems that most boaters have made contact with this bridge and having done so you gain automatic membership to the BBC (Barford Bridge Club). It was decided that when the screen will be repaired the hinges will have pull out pins, allowing them to be placed well in board and out of danger, fortunately this incident wasn’t allowed to spoil this lovely day on the beautiful river.

The next day in our rented car we sped south, to spend a few days with friends and family returning the following Monday. On Tuesday Duggie had a haircut, not so good this time according to Jacquie, but he looked fine to me, Jacquie also had a haircut, but hers turned out to be the best she had had in a long time. A visit to a local dentist assured Jacquie that her detached crown would not cause her a problem and could wait until we returned to Wigrams to have it sorted, these matters can be a real problem when cruising for many months.

We returned the hire car on Wednesday settled our bill at Priory Marina and headed back downstream to stop just below Barford Bridge, which being much narrower than our friends boats, we managed to navigate without any problem.