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The Tuesday Night Club on Tour
Fenland Tour Summer 2001
20 - Ely to Upware - River Great Ouse and River Cam, inc Soham Lode, Burwell Lode and Reach Lode.
Tuesday 17th July 2001
While still breasted up we reversed back to Lovey’s Marine and filled up with diesel (28.5 p/L) JC was still penniless, so Neil had to put Frogmoore's share on his “account”. Also JC and Neil wanted the newest Imray guides (so they could send lots of updates to Greg Chapman!!!)...total bill was a shade under £140!!! After this we ambled up to Tesco's moorings just by the upstream by-pass bridge, for a shopping expedition.
Eventually we shoved of proper at 11.00. Peter Wright was assigned to be second man on the Frog boat. First ditch on the agenda was Soham Lode , this was started at 11.25. It was very narrow, but virtually weed free with a gravely bottom (to start with!) Just beyond the first sharp turn was a particularly bushy willow, right over the Lode.....Neil had a good quarter of an hours fun with the saw!!! We both, after much dredging and poling, managed to negotiate the first bridge (quite high) and carried on along the next straight.
Earnest was leading and ground to a halt half way to the next bridge. Frogmoore managed to pass and we abandoned Earnest, with young Doug Beeky as caretaker. Frogmoore was also having difficulty and struggled on to the next set of bushes. Here a few weed clearing run ups were needed to grind a channel through a pole sounded shoal. After this it was fairly free until the next bridge (also navigable height) here we just ran up a single bar under the bridge and did not even get up to the rocks and bricks that were dumped in the bridge hole (12.50).
By 13.10 we had reversed back to Earnest and Earnest led the way out. We were back to the Great Ouse at 13.45. Earnest went slowly to enable Frogmoore to catch up. It had been particularly difficult to extract ourselves, owing to the fierce wind that had been blowing up........obviously rain to come.
At Popes Corner (14.10) we carried on straight up the River Cam and at 15.00 we turned left up Reach Lode and straight into the waiting Upware Lock. This double guillotine lock will now accept narrowboats of up to 63ft, though if sharing with another narrowboat, make sure it is not over 45ft and stays at the bottom of the lock! 63ft was found to be the deciding length of the Lodes above, as Earnest winded easily at the end of Burwell, Reach and Wicken Lode.
It now started to rain rather seriously. Burwell Lode was attempted first, as we did not know if the farm access lift bridge would be up (historically it was only left up at weekends) This Lode, though deep was suffering from quite bad blanket weed infestation, but being deep enough Earnest managed to trash it as we went through. This weed was strangely worse on one side - probably due to the prevailing sun.
The lift bridge was thankfully up (one of the electric control boxes seemed trashed), so at least we would be able to come out bow first. At the end of Burwell Lode there are two small brooks coming in at right angles. Earnest reversed up the right hand one to enable the Frog boat to go straight up the one to the left, then followed Frogmoore up. Frogmoore got passed all the little end of garden boathouses and just beyond, but Earnest gave up after passing a couple of small cruisers.
After extracting ourselves, Earnest managed to just get up to the navigable height bridge to the right hand channel, then came out and started back to enable Frogmoore to have a go. Here we lost company for a bit, as Frogmoore got passed all the small cruisers (two were side by side and Frogmoore just squeezed between) Frogmoore eventually got up to a substantial fallen tree.
Next Earnest went up Reach Lode and managed a rather untidy turn from Burwell Lode (angled V junction) - 16.40. This Lode was free of weed and was fairly deep, up to a point where the channel width really closed in. From here on the 2ft 2ins draught Earnest was stirring and dragging its self through a lot of reddy brown silt.
At the V junction at the end Earnest first turned up the river course to the right and got right up to a non navigable height (would not quite have gone with cratch down) bridge. Anyway when we stopped, the counter was nearly out of the water! Earnest then ground its way back to the left hand channel and stopped at a willow tree. right across the waterway. A token tree pruning was done to show we had been here.
It was a fairly easy extraction, as we had put a lot of silt into suspension. We were going to attempt to do Wicken Fen that night, but because of the lagging Frogmoore and bad weather, we called it a day just downstream of the entrance to Wicken Lode - 20.10 - (little wooden footbridge over the miniscule channel)
Doug had foned the “Five Miles Up and No Hurry” pub, they were doing food until 21.30. We all set of for the pub at 20.45 still in light drizzle. The pub was very quiet, but good range of well kept beers - two Cambridge brewery and a frightening Viking looking ale. Nice rump and chips. The friendly chef came out and served us himself. We went back to the boats in pissing down rain and had to turn heating on to dry out our coats and trousers. After a brief whiskey sampling imbibe, we all crashed out knackered. Not exactly very far travelled that day, but a fair bit of “fun”!
Filling up with diesel at Lovey's Marine. Ely, Ely Ouse.
Ely, Ely Ouse.
Coming off the Ely Ouse and entering Soham Lode.
Starting up Soham Lode, leaving the pumping station / flood doors.
Signs of TNC tree pruning! Soham Lode.
Barway Bridge, funny angle, but otherwise OK. Soham Lode.
We abandon Earnest and start up to the second bridge in Frogmoore. Soham Lode.
Near the second bridge we grind to a halt, then managed to get over a shoal. Soham Lode.
Stuck on the bottom at the navigable height second bridge. O^S 552753. Sheet 143. Soham Lode.
Stuck on the bottom at the navigable height second bridge. Soham Lode.
Stuck on the bottom at the navigable height second bridge. Looking back at the abandoned Earnest. Soham Lode.
We have a go at the other side of the second bridge, but no go. Soham Lode.
Passing the Fish and Duck Inn at Popes Corner. River Cam.
Leaving Dimmock's Cote Bridge. River Cam.
Five Miles From Anywhere pub moorings. River Cam.
Five Miles From Anywhere pub. River Cam.
Coming up to Upware Lock and Reach Lode. River Cam.
Upware Lock. River Cam.
Upware Lock. The old pointy gate recesses show how short the lock used to be. River Cam.
Upware Lock. Doug Beeky on the buttons. Reach Lode.
Leaving Upware Lock. Reach Lode.
Leaving Upware. Reach Lode.
Looking back at Upware. Reach Lode.
At the junction with Burwell Lode (left) we head up Burwell Lode. Reach Lode.
Footbridge and lifting bridge. Burwell Lode.
Looking back at the footbridge and lifting bridge. Burwell Lode.
Burwell Lode - weedier to the right hand side.
Burwell Lode - the end, heading up the brook to the left..
Burwell Lode - the end, heading up the brook to the left - as far as Earnest got.
Burwell Lode - the end, heading up the brook to the left - as far as Frogmoore got.
Burwell Lode - the end, heading up the brook to the right.
Burwell Lode - the end.
Continuation of Reach Lode.
Reach Lode - shallower and narrower near the end.
Reach Lode - the end.
Reach Lode - as far as we got up the brook to the right.
Reach Lode - as far as we got up the brook to the right - looking back.
Reach Lode - as far as we got up the brook to the right.
Reach Lode - as far as we got up the brook to the left - looking back.
Leaving Reach Lode, we have stirred up the silt a bit!
The Tour continues
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