Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Three Holes to Benwick, via the Sixteen Foot and the Forty Foot.

Yesterday afternoon, as we returned to the boat after a walk from Three Holes to Upwell and back, there came to our ears the sound of a fast, piston engined airplane. A small dot in the sky resolved itself into what appeared to be P51D mustang. A quick shot with our compact camera and,

I know it's not a brilliant shot but it is a P51D, carrying D-Day stripes. It flew past a few times but never close enough for a better picture.

This morning I tried to catch the fog but I mist.
At about 0830 we left Three Holes and set off down the Sixteen Foot Drain, from here it runs virtually straight for ten miles to its junction with the Forty Foot Drain, a.k.a. Vermuydens Drain after the Dutch chap who was responsible for its construction, indeed for a large part of the drainage system on the fens.

A last look back and before long we were approaching the aptly named Bedlam Bridge.

Imray gives the headroom as 1.93 metres so I had removed just about everything from the top boxes,

Just as well really, the radio aerial scraped the underside, it really is looking a bit part worn, after its close encounter with Salters Lode and now this.

As you look forward the drain stretches off seemingly to infinity and looking back

you just have to remember that parallel lines never meet.
After two hours we reached the junction with the Forty Foot. I have no idea why it is called that, or indeed why so many of the drains have a name that would seem to reflect a distance in feet. This one was cut about 1651 from near Ramsey to Welches Dam Lock where it joins the Old Bedford River. The lock is now inoperative, cutting off an alternative route from Stanground Lock to Denver Sluice.

The weedy ditch in the background is the now lost route via Horseway Lock and Welches Dam, to the left is the Sixteen Foot from which we had just emerged.

Ahead was the navigable Forty foot. In the distance we could see a bridge, it took us twenty five minutes to reach it. Bridges come and go as you cruise along. Ramsey Hollow Bridge

was, until 2005, too low to navigate. In December 2005 Royal Engineers from the 53rd Field Squadron, 39 Engineer Regiment, using new steel work provided by the I.W.A., jacked the bridge up to its current height, opening up the route down to the Sixteen Foot. The pump house next to the bridge has an owl nest box on the end, there was a kestrel sitting on top feeding a chick. Jill was below and I never had time to grab the camera so you will have to take my word for it.

After two hours we had reached the junction with the River Nene, Old Course

and a sharp right took us under a splendid new bridge and off up the old river to Benwick where we have moored.

At least the neighbours will be quiet.

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

No comments: