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.