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Index

Tour 2001

Index

Fenland Tour Summer 2001

16 - Outwell to Welches Dam - Middle Level, inc Well Creek, River Nene Old Course, Pophams Eau, Middle Level Main Drain, 16 Foot Drain, Vermuyden's 40ft Drain.

Friday 13th July 2001

After meeting up with Greg Chapman and John Chapman's wife Pat and Baptist Church day trip party we shoved off at 11.00. The sad “Chicken lady” was still hovering around....after all, all these comings and goings was pretty exciting stuff – for Outwell!!! The destination was a mid day meal at the “Red Hart” at Three Holes (now only one hole, since they replaced the old bridge.) 
It was a complete Norton family turn out at Marmont Priory Lock and we were both soon through. There was a rather large thunder rainstorm as we flew down the deep and wide Pophams Eau. Andrew Goodland and Greg went off to retrieve the good Cap'n's trusty Rover and met us at the “Red Hart”. We had a monstrous excellent cavery meal for £6. 
We set off again at 14.20, down the Middle Level Main Drain to the very low Mullicourt Aqueduct (where Well Creek comes across) and took some piccies (15.15). On the way back Neil went a little way up the dead end continuation of Pophams Eau to Nordelph - this has a weir at the other end (15.40 to 15.50) 
When back to Three Holes again we carried on up the fast and wide 16ft Drain to the junction with Vermuydens Drain / 40ft River. Here we turned left up the narrow but reasonably deep west channel. This was very weedy. Eventually we arrived at Horseway Lock at 18.15. Earnest would not go through Welches Dam Lock (52ftish narrowboat max), so we abandoned it here and got Frogmoore into the fascinating holey gated Horseway Lock. 
We could not get the top gates to shut so Terry Streeter did a magnificent job of boathooking masses of dead old weed out of the shuts. We then got the gates to within a barge pole width of shutting. We were thinking of using the barge pole to fill the gap. Next Neil found that the last person (John?) had left the single paddle up. We tried to screw it down, but this just deformed the rotten top gate timber. Finally Neil went on the rear deck of Frogmoore and with the blessing of the called out, but powerless MLC Chief Engineer – Mr Philips, managed to somewhat bang down the steel paddle with the TNC sledge hammer. During Mr Philips perusal of butchery to his lock, his glasses fell out of his pocket into the mess of weed that was the lock chamber.......we did not manage to find them for him and he was not a happy bunny! 
After this we gave up with the pleasantries and gingerly used the lock as a flash lock, using Frogmoore pushing between the bottom gates and everybody else on one gate. Eventually Frogmoore burst through and we were in the now fairly flowing and “full up” dike. There was then frantic shutting of gates and clambering down the lock gates to the boat for the crew. 
After a few minutes, JC and Pat got sick of steering and Cap'n Beeky took us to Welches Dam lock. Now it was a fair flow through the dike, due to the Welches Dam Lock Slackers (paddles) still being raised. When we got to the camouflaged in grass landing stage, Neil jumped ashore and shut off the top paddle. The bottom gates soon were able to be opened and Captain Beeky triumphantly sailed in. 
Frogmoore was soon out of the good condition Welches Dam Lock and onto the landing stage down stream on the Old Bedford. The draw down from Welches Dam Lock slackers being opened to fill the section to Horseway Lock, should have been left open all night, so getting to the Old Bedford early and closing them off had saved us a lot of wastage of water from the Old Bedford. 
We moored Frogmoore up at 22.00 and a lot of car shuffling took place. Greg said goodbye and we said that we would try to meet up with him again in the next few weeks. That night Earnest's crew were dropped back at Earnest, for a very early transfer back to Frogmoore for an attempt to get Frogmoore to Salter's Lode for a 12.00ish exit through the tidal doors and hence to Denver Sluice.

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Outwell. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Leaving the "Basin". Outwell. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Outwell. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Outwell. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Outwell. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Upwell. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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St Peters Church and Visitor Moorings. Upwell. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Upwell. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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St Peters Church and Five Bells pub. Upwell. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Upwell. Well Creek. Middle Level.

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Popham's Eau. Middle Level.

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Popham's Eau. The rain is tanking it down. Middle Level.

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Greg Chapman, Doug Goodland and Andrew Goodland. Popham's Eau. Middle Level.

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Neil using unconventional pin hammer - for the steep bank handrail! Three Holes. Middle Level.

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"The Baptists" give us a welcoming song. The Red Hart pub. Three Holes. Middle Level.

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The Red Hart pub. Three Holes. Middle Level.

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The general store. Three Holes. Middle Level.

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The village sign. Three Holes. Middle Level.

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Three Holes. Middle Level.

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Looking up the 16 Foot Drain. Three Holes. Middle Level.

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Looking down the Middle Level Main Drain from Three Holes Bridge. Middle Level.

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Looking back at the new Three Holes Bridge. Starting up the Middle Level Main Drain. Middle Level.

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Middle Level Main Drain. Stair rods again! Middle Level.

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Middle Level Main Drain. Middle Level.

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Approaching Mullicourt Aqueduct. Middle Level Main Drain. Middle Level.

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Mullicourt Aqueduct. Middle Level Main Drain. Middle Level.

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Mullicourt Aqueduct. Middle Level Main Drain. Middle Level.

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Earnest ventures up the Old Popham's Eau towards Nordelph. Middle Level.

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Earnest ventures up the Old Popham's Eau towards Nordelph. Middle Level.

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Starting up the 16 Foot Drain. Cotton's Corner Bridge. Middle Level.

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16 Foot Drain. Iron Bridge. Middle Level.

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16 Foot Drain. Middle Level.

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16 Foot Drain. Middle Level.

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16 Foot Drain. Ely - March Railbridge. Middle Level.

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16 Foot Drain. Middle Level.

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16 Foot Drain. Boots Bridge. Middle Level.

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16 Foot Drain. Middle Level.

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16 Foot Drain. Middle Level.

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16 Foot Drain. Middle Level.

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16 Foot Drain. Junction with 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain ahead. Middle Level.

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40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. We have just turned in from the 16 Foot Drain, to the right. Middle Level.

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40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Hollyhouse Farm Bridge. Middle Level.

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40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Hollyhouse Farm Bridge. Warning notice! Middle Level.

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Approaching Horseway Lock. 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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Horseway Lock. 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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Cap'n Beeky climbs down the gate. Horseway Lock. 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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Leaving Horseway Lock. 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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On our way to Welches Dam. 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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Doug and Andrew Goodland plus John Chapman. 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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The sunsets on Horseway Lock. 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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This bush got a severe pruning! 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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Captain Beeky's bug swatter. 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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Welches Dam Lock is in view. 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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Welches Dam Lock. Terry S pulls the unconventional "balance beam". 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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Frogmoore enters Welches Dam Lock. 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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Neil on the paddles / slackers. Welches Dam Lock. 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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Neil on the paddles / slackers. Welches Dam Lock. 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain. Middle Level.

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Frogmoore leaves the 40 Foot / Vermuyden's Drain and is now on the Old Bedford River. Middle Level.

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Looking up the Old Bedford Counter wash Drain from Welches Dam.

The Tour continues


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