A Lock! 14th June

Prickwillow EA Mooring to Jude’s Ferry, West Row

Bye Prickwillow

Time to follow the straight River Lark further upstream today.

Straight on please!

This at one time used to be the original course of the River Great Ouse, but the Ouse ended up being sent down a manmade channel, straighter and quicker to reach the sea, helping to move excess water away to help prevent flooding. Even so there are miles of straight river here on the Lark with banks masking views for some of the way.

Pumping stations sit alongside, date stones on their walls, now worked by electric engines.

It almost looks like a Monet painting taken on my phone

An old mill sits close, now converted into a home, the chimney from a stove jutting out from the ground floor.

A US Airforce plane circled around over head, a secret flight not marked on our flight radar app. This was followed by an Amerijet taking off from Mildenhall.

Further upstream the banks moved away, ponds and reeds stretching out to the sides of the river, a few more bends to keep us on our toes.

A large wood cabin has had some of it’s shingles replaced around the windows. I could almost smell the fresh wood. We once used some shingles on a set in Scarborough and the smell was addictive. Given time they will loose their honey colour and silver up to match those around them.

Much bigger than the one we saw on the Middle Level

One of the huge weed cutter boats came towards us, the conveyor belt out of the water. It must have been returning to base near Ely having done it’s work. We hoped our way ahead would be weed free.


Then round a bend the sight of a lock. A lock! Blimey there was something to do! A chap stood on the bank in a newly mown fishing peg, he threw out a long pole with long folks on the end. He was dragging out large chunks of weed, clearing the way for the return of fishing on the 16th.

The bottom gates were open, I hopped off and went to see what was needed, armed with my Abloy Key of Power. The bottom panel was open and had a lot of lights and buttons. I closed the pointing gates behind Oleanna, made sure the slackers were closed and then walked to the other end.

Here the panel required unlocking. The guillotine gate raised a few inches to let water in raising Oleanna up the 1ft 1″. Then the guillotine gate could be raised up overhead and out came Oleanna.

Alongside the lock was a forest of wild flowers, a bench perfectly positioned. Wish the flower bed at the house looked like this, maybe we should scatter a few different seeds into the mix and get a more colourful display, rather than one that just looks unkempt!

Now we met large clumps of weed. Had the weed cutter boat missed these or had it removed a lot more than it had left? Progress was slow, just as well as there was a line of moored boats, but at times we were hardly moving at all. With nowhere to moor up and being on a river the option to clear the weedhatch wasn’t attractive, so blasts of reverse were used to assist. It would work for a while and then our progress would slow again. Give it another month, the amount of weed, if not kept in check would make the trip impossible.

Like heading up the amazon

Now the river is a river, with twists and turns, it was getting narrower all the time. The number of damselflies flitting about on the reeds at the side was incredible, sadly not filmable so you’ll have to take my word for it. Blimey it was slow going, but just over an hour after leaving the lock we reached our destination, Jude’s Ferry Bridge, the limit of navigation.

Jude’s Ferry

Here is Jude’s Ferry pub with it’s moorings and a little inlet where you can wind. We had an audience with people sat in the pub garden alongside the moorings having their lunch and drinks. Then there four people who were just getting into their canoes down the little inlet. Presumably they had paddled to the pub for lunch and were now heading back.

As I was stood at the bow I got a very good view of what happened next. The two chaps slid one canoe into the water, then held it for a lady to climb aboard. She got herself comfy. Then one of the chaps started to do the same, one leg in the boat and just when he’d reached the point of no return his weight pushed the canoe further out from the bank, he fell in and the other fella holding the nose of the boat slid in too! Only the ladies remained dry. Now I could have taken photos but that would have been mean and I was too busy trying not to laugh out loud as we were now in a good position to get moored up. It took the chaps quite a while to get out of the water, nicely refreshed on a hot day!

All moored up

The current pushed us towards the mooring which had a big overhang. A fellow eating his lunch asked if we needed a hand, but I explained we needed to sort our fenders out before we got too close otherwise the cabin side would tell the tale of when we went to Jude’s Ferry!

Health and safety conferred, even though I suspect Tilly would make her own mind up not to step off the boat we decided not to give her the option, just in case. So instead we had to contend with her shouting for much of the afternoon. I so wish she’d listen when I explain such things to her!

The Fretan was washed off the rust spots on the roof, then the tin of primer found from a bow locker. The lid isn’t a very good fit anymore so a crust had formed. Once I’d broken through it was given a very good stir then a coat applied to all the rusty bits. The last ones to get done were by the solar connection box. One of the panels didn’t seem to be contributing any power, so Mick had a look at it, disconnected it and has left it for another day, so we will cope with one panel for a little while whilst a better way of connecting the cables is being mulled over.

Primed under the solar connection

Inside Oleanna the radio was on, Cricket. I don’t mind the commentary, I tend to easily zone out of it leaving it all for Mick. But the test match this afternoon deserved to be listened to. Yesterday when they’d announced there would be free entry today at Trent Bridge in Nottingham Mick looked at how long it would take us to get there by boat. Even if we crossed the Wash without having to wait for the tide it was gong to take 30 plus hours, so not worth the effort!


As we were moored right outside the pub we decided we’d best spend some money with them. It is a vast pub, best features their river side location and lots of model planes suspended from the ceiling. The menu wasn’t extensive and asking the person behind the bar about gluten free things I ended up ordering a burger and Mick fish and chips.

An exciting looking gluten free bun

The food was mediocre. My burger a touch too dry, the chips a touch too crisp and the batter on Mick’s fish was a very orange colour with quite a lot of pepper in it. Fine but we won’t be rushing back. Thankfully most people were there for food and the tables alongside Oleanna emptied quite early leaving us with peace and quiet.

1 lock, 7.84 miles, 1 wind, 54327831 damselflies, 4432 geese, 1 weedcutter, 1 weedy river, 2 soggy chaps, 1 big overhang, 1 coat primer, 1 panel working, 1 cats digestive system not keen on damselflies, 37 continuous hours cruising, 1 burger, 1 of each, 0 peas, 1 pint, 1 glass wine, 1 very sunny day.


One thought on “A Lock! 14th June

  1. Brian Anthony Holt

    Shame about your food, it was first class when we cruised that way several years back now. Its one of the reasons I don’t recommend places, they can change so fast

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