Slowing Right Down. 25th June

Waterbeach GOBA Mooring to Wicken Lode GOBA Mooring

The Geraghty zoom this morning included discussions on rust treatments, interviewing conductors and a quick whiz around Kath’s new home. So good to see her smiling face this morning.

Just before we were about to push off a rowing VIII came past bedecked in Ukrainian flags, obviously a fund raiser row. Bottisham Lock is just around a bend so we couldn’t quite see what was happening, were they turning to return to Cambridge? Were they going through the lock? Were they just taking a breather on the lock landing? Zooming in with my camera I could see oars being moved around over head, then the guillotine gate began to close, they’d be going down in the lock, the lock landing free for us to pull into.

Sure enough it was a fund raiser to help support families displaced by the war, the group were rowing to Ely and back today. It took quite a while for them to pull their boat out of the lock by which time we’d been joined above by a sailing dinghy.

Sharing the lock

By the time I’d reset the lock the crew on the dinghy had dropped their mast, there was plenty of space, so no danger of us getting a touch too cosy with them. With the strong winds they thought they’d catch us up and maybe even over take us on the way to their lunch date at the Five Miles from Anywhere Inn at Upware. Going back later however would be a different ball game, plenty of tacking required! They didn’t manage to catch us, but their sail was seen.

We pootled our way along past the asymmetrical cows again.

Upware Lock approach

Reaching Upware we turned right into the wind at the junction heading for the navigable Lodes. Here a shortish lock sits, 61ft 4″. This is used to help regulate the water levels in the Lodes, the lock resets itself automatically with bottom gate open top closed, the height difference only being about 4″.

A boat was waiting to come down, the lock in our favour. The chap meant well as he chatted away about flashing lights as I was trying to read and digest the instructions on the panel, regarding the flashing lights. The lock worked for us and once we were clear it looked like it would work for them also despite the flashing lights meaning not to use the lock.

Getting narrower all the time

Narrow and slow, passing moored boats. An EA length of moorings at the junction with Wicken Lode were full, we’d not be able to return to moor there if all spaces were taken at the end. We swung under the wooden bridge the navigation now even narrower and shallower and very very slow going!

We’ll get to use our membership cards soon

It is 1.5 miles to the end of the navigable section, our guide book suggests it should take half an hour, Waterway Routes suggests an hours cruise, we just about managed an hour twenty five, it was very VERY S L O W going. All the more time to admire the views, the dragonflies and waterlilies that lined the narrow water.

Just wider than Oleanna

At first the route wiggles back and forth, how would we manage if something was coming the other way? Our progress slowed to slower than walking pace, engine off to check the weed hatch. There was weed, luminous bright green tagliatelle weed in 8 inch lengths.

Once the wiggles were out of the way we could just about make out the straight course of the Lode ahead. Walkers sped past us, binoculars at the ready. We discussed changing a supermarket delivery we’d booked for a few days time, nudging it by a day or two as we might still be battling our way back!


A Marsh Harrier, a tall bird hide, a black and white windmill all came and went.

Then up ahead we spotted a few heads, a National Trust trip boat out from Wicken Fen. They pulled to one side and waved us on. Would they catch us up on their return journey? Of course they did, but the wind was too strong for us to be able to keep Oleanna’s bow in for them to pass, so they followed us to where Wicken Lode meets Monk’s Lode.

Cheery chap at the helm

Here a cruiser was on the GOBA mooring, a look of panic in their eyes. They were about to set off, wanting to get moving before they’d be in the way of the trip boat on it’s next trip. All was fine, we pulled up just past them, the trip boat headed to it’s landing and the cruiser managed to wind and head off.

Once moored up the doors were opened and Tilly headed off avoiding the many walkers and woofers, plenty of friendly cover to keep her busy.

Not a bad mooring

Being a sheltered place we decided that we’d get the barbeque out, burgers and buns were defrosted, kebabs made up and some cabbageslaw made. We were joined early evening by a cruiser who also had the same idea. What a wonderful mooring, still quite busy with walkers into the evening. Soon after we’d eaten dark clouds came overhead, so we retired indoors to avoid the possibility of rain.


2 locks, 5.3 miles, 1 right, 1 left, 1 shared lock, 8 rowing, 1.5 miles very very slow, 1 missing D, 1 happy cat, 4 kebabs, 2 burgers, 1 bowl of slaw, 1 lovely mooring, 55.5 today.

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