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Saturday 13 July 2019

Trying out a tributary.

At 0730 the equivalent of Fountains parked up by the moorings and were soon strimming the area. They seem to have the message about cutting next to moored boats, as they didn't! I must stress that I was actually up and making the tea. Fortunately it didn't take them long and peace descended once more. The River Lark rises near Bury St. Edmunds and indeed that was the head of navigation. It has been used for transport since at least Roman times. It was officially abandoned in 1888 but still had cargoes running in 1928. In fact the upper reaches locks at Barton Mills and Icklingham were rebuilt in the 1960's but the era of joined up thinking had not dawned (I don't think it has yet either) and soon after the new A11 was rebuilt at a height to not allow boats to pass!!

We were soon underway and it looked like the duck weed was getting thicker. Fortunately it didn't become a problem for us.

Surprisingly down the River Lark there were more boats than we expected. This one didn't look as if it had moved for a while though. There were online moorings at Fenland Boats that had a right mix from old cruisers, to new wide beams and 'normal' narrow boats.

Just before the Isleham Lock there is cut that goes round to River Island Marina. There seemed to be plenty of boats down here, far from anywhere. The lock looks like it has normal gates at the down river side, but oh what luxury they are electrically operated as well as the guillotine gate. Just as we were lowering the guillotine two little EA weed cutter boats turned up so we worked them through. They are off to the head of navigation of the Little Ouse, or Brandon Creek. That will be a couple of days trip. They did tell me that the other day they had a 72' boat wind at the end so we needn't worry.

This memorial tablet has been erected for Rev. Charles Haddon, the Prince of Preachers, was baptised here on May 3rd 1850. It seems that at this spot total immersion baptisms took place for hundreds of years. There was a chain ferry at the spot with a pub handy too. Later the event moved to the otherside of Isleham Lock and didn't cease until 1970 as the water became too unhygienic. I wonder if they will start again now as the water appears to be gin clear.

The flood banks seem to disappear now and you get extensive views across the country. We also were treated to plenty of aircraft taking off from Mildenhall USAF Air Base.

The views may get longer, but the river definitely got narrower and the weed on the bottom got a bit more of a bother. 

There isn't much to arrive at really. The 'winding hole' is just before the jetty to the left. The pub, Jude's Ferry, is not that much to write home about but we felt we should celebrate our arrival anyway. We had a nice chat with a guy who I thought was listening to the Cricket Test Match but was actually listening to the airbase. We soon finished our pint and were on our way again.
He was able to identify a plane that Helen had seen the other day and had never seen before. It seems it is a V22 Osprey that can take off vertically.

On the Fenland Boats mooring there was this structure. It seems it is literally a caravan on some sort of plastic floats. The cladding seems to be incomplete.

Just around the same place is the 'Pepperpot'. This octagonal building is one of the few surviving examples of a Fenland wind pump used to drain the fens before steam pumps were introduced. It is now in private hands.

We were soon back at the River Great Ouse and heading north. We stopped just before the junction with the Little Ouse/Brandon Creek. I did like these gates with the 'E' on the pedestrian gate and the 'A' on the vehicle gate.


Brian and Diana on NB Harnser said...

They were doing good food at Judes when we were moored that way

NB Holderness said...

Hi Both, they only had one beer on Green King Abbots, and at £9 for a baguette we thought soup aboard was a better prospect. I did enjoy the beer mind, but I do like to try new ones.