Burlow Lode EA Mooring to Stretham Old Engine GOBA Mooring, Old West River
Time to do some boating again and leave the Loades behind.
What a grey morning! The waterproofs were at the ready. After a long chat with the fishermen who’d set up behind us about the National Trust wanting to flood the land, how bad the fishing was and how much the house across the way was on the market for (£1,050,000, it comes with a building plot with planning permission), we were ready to push off.
Slow going again until the way ahead got wider, followed by the Terns again.
Is this a hovercraft sat in the field?
At the two bridges there were several dog walkers, one lady on one side of the water another two opposite, they were waiting for us to pass before getting their dogs to swim across to each other. The dogs were being very patient and loving it at the same time.
NB Ivy May turned out from Wicken Lode a short distance in front of us, they’d had two days moored at the end and really enjoyed it. Today there was space on the EA mooring despite some overstayers, but who knows their circumstances.
A boat was moored in the middle of the lock landing which is also a water point. NB Ivy May just about managed to get in front of them and we did our best to squeeze in behind, but had to stick out across the cut as we were about four foot too long for the gap. Our next water point wouldn’t be until Friday, a load of washing had just finished, so we needed to fill the tank. NB Ivy May disposed of rubbish and then made their way through the lock whilst we filled with water. Eventually the boat in the middle moved up after Mick had suggested that the owner may believe he can moor anywhere for 14 days even water points, but that it was very selfish to other boaters requiring to use the services. He didn’t have a hose and was going to fill up using jerry cans, I also suspect he didn’t have a key either as he looked a touch perturbed when he returned to see the water point closed and us heading off into the lock.
By the time we reached the lock it had reset itself. The top gate almost closed, letting a small flow through and the bottom gate open that bit more. It took a little while for me to work out what was what as you can see next to nothing of the lock from the controls at either end, but we were soon through and on our way again.
Straight on past the pub, the river view tables all full, people waving as we went past. A narrowboat came towards us, quite a long way over and heading for a big willow, thankfully the two dogs on the roof managed to stay onboard.
The heavens opened as Ely Cathedral showed itself again on the skyline.
Popes Corner, time to turn towards the west and onto the River Old West. There are several EA moorings on the first bend but we had our sights set on the GOBA mooring at Stretham Old Engine, hopefully there would be space for us and it be a suitable place for a supermarket delivery.
Another speed check, we were well within it at 42 seconds. Plenty of others were going that bit faster!
The chimney of the old engine showed itself, then the mooring. One boat and a handful of fishermen, but plenty of space for us. We pulled in and settled down for the rest of the day, making amendments to our big shopping order.
A little walk round late afternoon we had a little nosy at the museum. Sadly it is only open on Sundays, maybe every Sunday or maybe the second one each month! Too long for us to hang around to see inside.
Stretham steam engine replaced four windmills that had been trying to drain the surrounding fens for years, they’d struggled to cope with flooding and were at the mercy of the weather. The engine was built by Butterleys in 1831 costing £4950 and it scooped water up into the Old West River. The coal to drive the engine arrived by barge, chunks of 2 to 3ft piled high in the yard, these had to be broken up before they could be burned, the engine using a quarter of a ton an hour. It was one of only three drainage beam engines left in the Fens. It was used for over a hundred years and then was replaced by electric pumps. What a shame we won’t see it running.
1 lock, 8.05 miles, 2 straights, 1 left, 1 shower to be missed, 14 days! 1 full water tank, 1 empty wee tank, 0 rubbish,1 order completed after 12 goes, 1 closed museum, 1 fishing tennis fan, 1 looping the loop Spitfire.