No Room At The End. 21st May

Second GOBA mooring to Second GOBA mooring via the end of navigation

Tilly was allowed shore leave this morning whist we had breakfast and joined the Geraghty Zoom. Brown muffin cases one of the topics covered today. As soon as we’d signed out the trip computer was started and we were pulling out our mooring spikes, time to see what else the River Wissey had to offer.

Narrow rover cruising

Not far upstream someone has made themselves quite a little mooring, no photo I’m afraid as it was hard to take one with their boat in the way. Steps cut into the flood bank, branch handrails, places to sit in amongst the trees, a kind of Robinson Crusoe affair.

48hr mooring at Hilgay

I’d been told of an old fashioned butchers in Hilgay, it seemed to be the only shop we’d come across today. We pulled in at the 48hr public mooring and walked up through the village to reach AJ Dent, obviously a butcher with a sense of humour.

Inside the butchers counter was empty, all their meaty goods hidden out of view. I either know exactly what I want from a butchers, so this doesn’t matter, or I want to window shop, see what there is that might take my fancy. Sadly today I wanted to window shop, so came away with a newspaper and a small pork pie for Mick, well it is still his birthday weekend!

A chap and his dog sat at the bus stop whistling away the time as we walked on through the village. A lychgate led to a long lime tree covered lane, the other end another lychgate and most probably the village church. We had to go and see.

All Saints

All Saints church is a medieval church built from carstone, the tower from white brick which replaced an earlier tower which collapsed. It was restored in 1862 by GE Street. It could almost have been built from gingerbread and royal icing. One face of the clock has seen better days, the others not telling the correct time anyway.

Did this Yew tree grown around the gravestone, or has it just ended up resting there?

Today we could only look round the exterior and graveyard as out of the two doors, only one had a handle and that was padlocked shut.

A very well kept village, even the more modern houses seemed to have immaculate gardens.

Pristine hedges and an old Standard

Back at the mooring we’d been joined by a cruiser who’d stopped for lunch, we followed suit. The chap we’d seen at the bus stop had returned from his trip and was starting up the small engine on his little dinghy, he headed off downstream as we headed upstream.

Plenty of white with blue covers

Plenty of cruisers moored along here, helping to keep our speed down. All different shapes and sizes were represented here.

Catching lunch on the wing

Then out into the countryside again. Here damselflies flitted here and there, their turquoise, green and black flashing as they flew past. Terns swooped for insects. We wondered if the same terns were following us, but looking back it was obvious that the whole river was being dive bombed by them!

The views opened out a touch, followed by the not so picturesque sugar Factory. Pipes cross the river and end up at large piles of white. Are these the equivalent of the salt mounds around Middlewich? Giant sugar mounds?

Wide. Keep to the right side of the islands

Now the river widens out into a large pool. Knowing which way to head is handy. A mooring here would be great, a kind of Fenland Tixall, someone could even build a fake gatehouse to complete the look!

No Himalayan Balsam just a lot of this blue/purple plant. Anyone know what it is please? Possibly Comfrey according to Debby

A cruiser was pulled up on a bend, the chaps having just cut themselves a hollow in the friendly cover. Later on they’d dug themselves a fire pit and collected a lot of wood.

We looked forward to the view we might get at the Wissey Aqueduct, but large concrete walls gave us disappointment. Here the Cut Off Channel takes water from the Wissey, Little Ouse and Lark. In the summer months the water heads to Essex for drinking water, but in times of flood the excess water flows in the other direction to Denver Sluice, it’s main purpose when it was built in the 1950/60s.

One space already taken

Nearing Stoke Ferry and Whittington moored boats line the banks. One last chance for us to moor before the head of navigation would be reached. At Grange Farm Touring Park the one GOBA mooring space was already taken. Mick tired calling the park to see if they might have space for us elsewhere, but the answer came back no, we could of course breast up, but we didn’t fancy that.

That would be nice

On towards the end of navigation, we passed a rather lovely barn shouting out for a conversion.

What a lovely spot

Where Lode Dyke meets the River Wissey is as far as we could go. Someone has built themselves a nice little hut, with a landing and ladder for swimming here. A Kingfisher darted across our path and watched as we winded.


Our choices now were to either find a bit of bank we thought we’d be able to moor on without getting nettled too much, carry on back to Hilgay or even further back to where we’d started this morning. No bank showed itself, so we continued.

Harry or Harriet?

Just after the sugar factory on the north bank sits an expanse of greenhouses. Recently a cannabis farm had been discovered in the next street from our house in Scarborough. We joked that maybe tomatoes were grown in these greenhouses disguising the cannabis plants. Reading up in Mick’s new book later we discovered that we were almost correct in our jest!

In 2007 Wissington became the site of the first bioethanol power plant, spare heat was used to power on site greenhouses which produced 70 million tomatoes a year. In 2017 the greenhouses switched to producing cannabis plants for medical production. At harvest time that year a sweet smell spread over East Anglia emanating from the greenhouses!

The Pumphouse

The Pumphouse stands out from its surroundings, now converted into holiday accommodation. It sleeps 14 in 5 bedrooms and commands views across the Wissey Valley Nature Reserve.

Back in Hilgay there was space on the mooring, but we decided we’d rather wake up away from the road and would chance finding space back where we’d started the day.

Doves live under Hilgay Bridge

Passing the boat on it’s homegrown mooring, the chap chatted as we passed, the same man who’d been at the bus stop and behind his narrowboat was his small dinghy, his dog lying watching the river slowly flow past.

At the GOBA mooring there were already a couple of boats moored, but thankfully there was plenty of space for us. We pulled up right on the end, hopefully we’d get away with Tilly thinking it was a whole new outside in the morning, it was now far too late for any shore leave.

0 locks, 18.65 miles, 1 wind, 1 butchers, 1 Saturday paper, 1 pork pie, 2 lychgates, 0 space, 2 kingfishers, 5332 terns, 90 minutes shore leave, 1 spun round outside left or tomorrow, 1 river ticked off.

2 thoughts on “No Room At The End. 21st May

  1. Debby

    I think your purple plant is comfrey, aka knitbone.
    We hope to be on the water again before too long – fingers crossed the survey (next week) doesn’t turn up anything too drastic!
    best wishes, Debby

    1. Pip

      Thank you.
      How very very exciting!! We shall have our fingers crossed too for you. X

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