Tuesday, 27 May 2014

As I was going to St. Ives.....

After debate yesterday we decided that, as the weather forecast seemed to indicate it would be the last reasonable day for a while, we would push on and find somewhere to sit out the deluge. Unfortunately we hadn't taken the fact that it had been raining further upstream into account. When we arrived at Hermitage Lock the lockie suggested lowering the contents of our roof boxes as the water was a bit on the high side upstream and the lock has a low bridge crossing it.

We safely negotiated the lock and were soon back on the wide waters of the Great Ouse, passing the bridge across the start of the Hundred Foot Drain a.k.a. the New Bedford River.

This takes the main flow of the river down a direct but tidal route to Denver. It can be used as a short cut by boaters but is generally advised against. Although a few years ago I seem to recall that, because of a blockage on the lower river, the visitors to an I.W.A. rally at Bedford used it quite safely.

Then there is the sluice across the Old Bedford river, another drain designed to take excessive water off down to Denver. By now we were starting to get a clue about what the lockie had meant. Allowing for it being a tidal stretch from Hermitage Lock to Brownshill Sluice and it being, presumably, high tide it did seem as though, perhaps, the owners of this picnic table did not usually wear wellies when barbecuing.

Brownshill staunch has electrically operated guillotine gates but the water was simply flowing over the top of both of them. Because of the electrical interlock on the operating system we had to open the lower gate, insert the boat, shut said gate and then open the top gate, all the while holding against the current that was zooming through.
Above here the river is no longer tidal but it did seem as though there was rather a lot of water about.

None of the GOBA moorings we passed looked very inviting and

the flood banks were starting to live up to their name so we pushed on in the hope of finding somewhere out of the main stream.
After working through St. Ives lock in company with a mighty white cruiser crewed by a crew of three who had never done a lock before we headed for the medieval bridge with its famous chapel.

The bridge was completed by the monks of Ramsey Abbey in 1425 and the chapel added a year later. Over the years the chapel has served as a toll house, a private residence, a pub and a doctors surgery besides its original purpose. It is dedicated to St. Leger, is he the patron saint of horse racing?
We eventually found sanctuary on the E.A. moorings at The Waits, a backwater at the bottom of town. If the weather doesn't improve I feel we may be here for a day or two.
Just for information we did not meet a man with seven wives.

Watch this space........


Sarah said...

We came back from St Ives in 2007 via the Drain - I don't recall there being any reason other than 'because it was there'. The greatest danger seemed to be dying of boredom.

Graham and Jill Findlay said...

Hi Sarah,
We were talking to someone the other day who had travelled down the New Bedford and he said exactly the same.

Halfie said...

St. Leger - patron saint of accountants?

Graham and Jill Findlay said...