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Friday 26 July 2019

Cruising down the Cam.

We were away from Ely by 0900 and were soon at Pope's Corner and turning down into the River Cam.

There were large floating islands of penny wort once we were in the river, but actually the rest of the weed was not restrictive at all, thankfully.

Dimmock'sCote Bridge is the first encountered on the river Cam. It looks like it may have been built in the 1930's. Perhaps after WWII it wouldn't even be this ornate.

The flood banks are not usually close to the river so the views are distant as a rule. It was not what I expected it to be like.

There are a couple of branches off the Cam, Reach Lode, and this one Swaffham Lode, where there is a lock. It

This is a bit of a beast of a weed cutter and it seems to belong to the Cam Conservators. I thought that their bailiwick started above Bottisham Lock that you can see in the distance. This lock and the next are both fully automated which Helen really enjoyed, with s guillotine gate at one end.

Above the Bottisham Lock is the historic Cam Sailing Club. It was founded in 1899 mainly by the middle class of Cambridge and not tied to the university colleges. Their first race was in 1900, and they moved to this location, close to the station at Waterbeach in 1905.

They seem to have plenty of land that stretches right up to the lock and there are also chalets and caravans, and there were plenty of tents too. It seems there are races most weekends, and with the school holidays I expect there are summer schools etc. Just next door are the premises of the Cam Motorboat Club.

A little further on at Clayhithe is the Cam Conservancy Depot. It seems that The Conservancy was set up to administer the water way from Clayhithe to the Queen's Mill in 1709. The house in the background was built in 1842, as you may just about make out on the gable end. It was designed as a multipurpose building providing a residence, offices, committee room and workshops. It was also the toll house. The workshops were extended as you can see from the new building dated 2016. As far as I know the current Waterway Manager still lives on the premises.

The temperature rose though the day, and the highest ever English temperature was expected. This heron near Fen Ditton had his mouth open and was panting his wattle! to try to cool down.

There was a chicane in the river. I wondered if it may be to slow you down but it is really to catch weed. There was only duck weed there and the set on the right was partly broken, so I suspect a failed experiment.

Baits Bite Lock was built in 1700 following an Act of Parliament for improving the waterway that had been used since Roman times. Just to the right is a thatched cottage that was the lock keepers abode but is now up for rent at £1200 a month. The lock office is also rented out and has been a small consultancy and now seems to be a photographers. The foot and bike traffic along the tow path here is quite heavy so we thought it would make a great cafe, or just ice cream parlour.

The A14 road bridge seems to have been painted by Newnham College. I think this area is where the yearly bumps occur where the rowing teams set off at timed intervals and have to catch the boat ahead and bump them.

The grass is certainly suffering from the heat, as you can see above. There is plenty of green space around the river and this is Stourbridge Common. I was surprised to see that there were no boats here.

This will have to be part one of our journey into Cambridge as we are now just approaching the Green Dragon Footbridge, which is still about a mile and a half from Jesus Lock.

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