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The Tuesday Night Club on Tour


Tour 2001


Fenland Tour Summer 2001

13 - Outwell to Ely - Middle Level, Tidal River Great Ouse, New Bedford River, Old West River and River Great Ouse, inc Well Creek.

Tuesday 10th July 2001

JC said that we must be off by 07.00 as it was a couple of hours to Salter’s Lode, which is when he “thought” that Paul would want us there for a on the level lock out and a run up the tidal New Bedford. JC had not been able to contact Paul Grodkiewicz, the Salter's Lode locky, so we just went along, thinking that they must have been in telepathic connection with each other. 
Owing to a slight mutiny, we only managed a 07.30 start in the drizzly rain. The level in Well Creek was still somewhat shallow but with well cut up weed. Next we passed the sad derelict cottage and pontoon ferry that used to be occupied by a now sadly departed old lady. At Nordelph (we have never stopped there, but it has a nice looking free house pub – “The Chequers”) JC's VHF was ignored as Neil was taking piccies. JC seemed somewhat insistent so we replied. Apparently Paul was all ready and waiting and we would have to go for it to get a straight through locking at 09.00. 
We struggled on and got there at 09.20. Paul said that the level was still acceptable for a locking out (in an upwards direction), so we both locked out singly (only13ft wide, if a longer boat - over 50ft - no sharing) This was all done in indecent rush. Ian C left on his mountain bike, Captain Beeky assumed captaincy of the Frog boat and off shot Earnest. 
The flood did not seem that strong, compared with recent exploits, though the turn was quite fun! Young Beeky Doug assumed control and we pootled up, waiting for ages for the Frog boat to appear. He even tried his hand at out of gear flood tide steering! When he approached, JC Foned up, as his VHF was wonky again. He told us to speed up as he thought that we might loose the flood before the shallow bits. Neil gave some barge pole soundings and we had around 7ft. 
Rather boring trip up, at least the rain had stopped and it turned into an EXTREMELY gusty day. There was quite a bit of water splashed up over the cratch. Once passed the bridges we slowed down to let the shallower draughted Frogmoore II catch us up. It surprised Neil that for the most part, above the Welmore Lake Sluice Washes outfall, that the course was narrower and shallower than the Upper Nene outfall. When we were near the end, Neil foned Hermitage Lock and gave then an ETA of 13.00, their knocking off time for dinner! 
We were going back down the Great Ouse Old West River and to Ely, this was because JC had booked the EA to let at least one boat go through Horseway and Welches Dam Lock and onto the Old Bedford River. If we got to the “other” lock at Salter's Lode - The Old Bedford Sluice, Paul said that he would give his best shot to get us out. Although Paul is employed by the Middle Level Commissioners, he looks after the EA Salter's Lode Old Bedford Sluice. 
We arrived at Hermitage Lock at 13.05, our pair of narrowboats just got round in front a medium sized cruiser, coming down stream from Bedford. Although Hermitage Lock is only 12ft wide it was long enough for us to fit, with Frogmoore's bow beside the stern of Earnest. After we came out at 13.15 John went into Hermitage Marina to get another VHF lead to luck. 
Finally we set off, now with the largish cruiser worrying us until Twenty Pence Bridge. Here, in pouring rain, we lost John, as another cruiser pulled out behind us. By the time we got to the junction with the main river channel at the “Fish and Duck” pub, Frogmoore was no where to be seen. By now it had stopped raining, so we gently powered Earnest into the opposite bank to wait. 
Another fone call found John mooing at cows!!!.......he had stopped for the rain. We then decided to meet him in Ely. At Ely, after a damaging the senior Beeky finger / trying to get Earnest to wind on the bank / miss plastic boat / fit into 52ft mooring space, we set off back upstream and moored between the rail and bypass bridge. The Beekies then went provisioning / Terry showered. 
JC passed us later on, after his up the bank, snoozing / miss the rain session. Predictably JC said that there were plenty of moorings further up and were we not going to fill up with water and have a free self pump out? Up we went at 18.45. Self pump out machine was indeed still free and worked well. The water tap was slow and took over an hour. JC wanted to go to the Moorings Restaurant, but they stopped serving at 20.00. We were just not ready by then and the popular choice was a curry. We could not find the "Suma", in Broad Street, that we went to in 1996, so went into the “Spice City” in Fore Hill. Above average Indian Meal.

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Our overnight mooring in Outwell, by the Crown Lodge Hotel. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Outwell. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Outwell. Decrepit closed shop. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Leaving Outwell. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Approaching Mullicourt. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Mullicourt Aqueduct over the Middle Level main Drain. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Mullicourt Aqueduct over the Middle Level main Drain. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Derelict cottage and pontoon ferry. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Bridge just before Nordelph that was raised when Well Creek was restored to navigation in the late 1970's. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Looking up the blocked by a weir Popham's Eau. Nordelph. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Nordelph. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Nordelph. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Nordelph village sign. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Nordelph. The Chequers Inn. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Nordelph. Visitor Moorings hidden under the willow tree! Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Leaving Nordelph. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Fryers Farm Bridge. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Approach to Salter's Lode. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Salter's Lode Lock. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Steaming up on the flood, passed Denver Sluice. Tidal River Great Ouse.

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Looking up at Denver Sluice. Tidal River Great Ouse.

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Leaving Denver Sluice. New Bedford River.

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Welmore Lake Sluice. New Bedford River.

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Welmore Lake Sluice. New Bedford River.

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Leaving Welmore Lake Sluice. New Bedford River.

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Looking back, Frogmoore is lagging, after the second locking out of Salter's Lode. New Bedford River.

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Footbridge to Welney Wildfowl Refuge. New Bedford River.

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Welney Bridge (A1101). New Bedford River.

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Frogmoore races up behind us. New Bedford River.

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Our fast passage to keep the flood tide rather upsets some swans, obviously not used to boats! Primrose Farm pumping station and Oxlode Railway Bridge in distance. New Bedford River.

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Oxlode Railway Bridge. New Bedford River.

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Leaving Oxlode Railway Bridge. New Bedford River.

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Oxlode. New Bedford River.

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Looking across The Hundred foot Washes to Welches Dam. New Bedford River.

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Terry S at the helm - racing to get passed the shallowest section at high water. New Bedford River.

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Looking up at the bend round Mepal. New Bedford River.

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Mepal Pumping Station over on the Old Bedford / Counter Wash Drain. New Bedford River.

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Mepal Old Bridge. New Bedford River.

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The pleasant looking Three Pickerels pub at Mepal. New Bedford River.

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Looking back at Mepal Old Bridge. New Bedford River.

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Mepal New Bridge (A142). New Bedford River.

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Strange shelving to drain on NW bank above Mepal. New Bedford River.

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Sutton Gault Bridge. New Bedford River.

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Coming up from the bend round Mepal. New Bedford River.

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Near the end, looking back at NB Frogmoore. New Bedford River.

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Looking up at the A1123 Bridge at the end of the New Bedford River.

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Looking back at the A1123 Bridge. River Great Ouse.

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Looking back at the A1123 Bridge - NB Frogmoore appears. River Great Ouse.

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Waiting for Hermitage Lock. River Great Ouse.

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NB Frogmoore pulls out of The New Bedford in front of a cruiser. River Great Ouse.

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Hermitage Lock. River Great Ouse.

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Hermitage Lock. Old West River.

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Hermitage Lock. Old West River.

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Leaving Hermitage Lock. Old West River.

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Old West River.

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Fish And Duck Inn and the junction with Ely Ouse. Old West River.

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Looking back at the Fish And Duck Inn and junction with the Old West River (right) and River Cam (left). Ely Ouse.

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Old arm before Ely. Ely Ouse.

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View down to Ely. Ely Ouse.

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Looking back at the Bury St Edmunds line railway bridge. Ely Ouse.

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View down to Ely. Ely Ouse.

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The Commode D'Or and SCSI the parrot relaxing in the very tidy Earnest communications suite!

The Tour continues

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