Monday, 30 June 2014

Twitchers special.

It was a wrench but we finally left Wicken this morning. Definitely the best mooring we have had.

At the lock the swallows have grown since last weekend, not surprising with the amount of food the parents are bringing in. They also now have some neighbours.

A grey wagtail is rearing her brood in the side wall.

Out on the Cam we passed several families of great crested grebes

and swans.

I'll throw in a couple of young herons just to round it off.

Once we were back on the Great Ouse Ely Cathedral was soon dominating the skyline.
We've tied up close to Ely station, handy for Tescos.

Watch this space........

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Who decides our fete?

Strolled up to The Maids Head for a lunchtime chota-peg and discovered that today was Wicken Village Fete. These are occasions we cannot resist.

The stalwarts of any village shindig, the local Morris side performed on the green by the pub as we scoffed our butties and quaffed our ale.

What would a fete be without the dog show? The local mutts were paraded before the critical eye of the local canine afficionados. All taken very seriously by the doting owners.

Are the cars and 'bikes really classic? I remember them as objects of desire in my youth.

The beer tent, no further comment required.

Especially for the children,

they were entranced by the tale of domestic violence, child beating and assault on the police.

The miller and the mill were decked out in their holiday finery.

There is no finer sight than the English when they let hair down.
We made it back to the boat just as the heavens opened.

Watch this space........

Friday, 27 June 2014

Vegetation control.

The latest in vegetation control at Burwell Fen.

Watch this space..........

Thursday, 26 June 2014

We wandered in to Suffolk, much to our surprise.

We spent yesterday at Burwell and after topping up the store cupboard at the local Co-op we had a quick look at the village.

Like Reach it was once an important inland port, originally dealing in agricultural produce and clunch, a hard form of chalk much used locally as a building stone. In the 1850's the Burwell Chemical Works opened, by the 1890's it had become the The Patent Manure Works and around 10,000 tons of goods were shipped along the lode annually, using three steam tugs and a fleet of lighters. Subsequently owned by Fisons, boats were used to ship fertiliser until 1948 and commercial use only ended in 1963 when the traffic in sugar beet finished.

 Just a glimpse of some of the houses. Mostly clunch, local brick or a mixture of both. Lots of lovely red pantile rooves as well.

This wondrous chimney is attached to what appears to be an old chapel.

Or possibly a school? Whichever it was it must have had one hell of a central heating system.

The Fox, unusual in having a Mexican restaurant, not bad either. There's also an Indian next door.
Having viewed the village we strode off up some local footpaths passing

ginormous thistles. They were outside a house that stands beside a long closed railway line. The house is ironically called Beeching House.
Having walked two sides of a rectangle we were heading back towards the village when we were amazed to see

Well we thought we were already in Cambridgeshire but looking back we saw

that we were leaving Suffolk, no idea how we had wandered into the next county but we obviously had at some point.
We are now back in Wickham and looking at the weather forecast I think we may be here for a day or two.

Watch this space.......

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

And now, Burwell.

Good grief, did we really navigate up there? It doesn't look wide enough for a canoe. This morning we retraced our steps along Reach Lode with Jill perched on the front looking like Boudicca wielding her spear as she kept us clear of blanket weed

with well timed thrusts of the boat hook.

It was a relief to make the turn at the junction and head up Burwell Lode, much wider and relatively weed free until we passed cock-up bridge when we encountered a fair bit.

Not sure if this is Cock-Up Bridge or just a cock-up bridge, possibly just a generic local term for a lift bridge? It was soon after that this we saw a Marsh Harrier hunting across the fields.

 Something else you don't see every day, an abandoned hovercraft sits forlornly beside the lode.
We are now at Burwell for a day or so.

Watch this space........

Monday, 23 June 2014

Reach and Devils Dyke.

We tore ourselves away from Wicken this morning. We intended turning left at the junction and heading up to Reach, the wind had other ideas. It's a tight turn and the wind was across it so we ended up heading in the wrong direction. It was the work of but a moment to nip through the lock, do a quick pirouette on the Cam and head in the direction we were after.

The swallows have claimed a niche under the bridge that crosses the lock.
It was actually helpful that we went down to the lock, it gave us a chance to take on water and dispose of the empties rubbish.

Right turn here and we were headed for Reach through typical fenland.

There was much evidence of old peat workings, now waterlogged. On Dartmoor they are known as peat hags.

The lode became narrower and we were soon combating

rafts of blanket weed. We had no choice but to push on, literally.

Middle of a field, middle of nowhere, we found these sculptures. So it's not only C.&R.T.

Just before the end of the lode we came across a merry band of E.A. chaps who had put a line across the cut which forced us to come to a dead stand.

It turned out they were doing a head count of the fish. They didn't keep us long and we arrived at the GOBA moorings. I will bring in a touch of caution here, yes you can wind a fifty-seven footer, but not if it draws more than twenty-two inches, we had to plough through mud to manage it.

Here we are safely(?) moored. That's as close in as we could get.
But Reach is a pretty little village with some attractive houses.

The Anglo-Saxon earthwork known as Devils Dyke runs from Reach for seven and a half miles to Wooditton near Newmarket.

There is a footpath along the top and we walked out along it for a way. Good views over the farmland,

Nice field of 'taties.

We also spotted a couple of windmills.
We had just got back to the boat when the heavens opened and we had thunder and lightning just to add to the entertainment.
Tomorrows aim is Burwell, will the lode be as weedy as this one?

Watch this space......