GT. 1st July

Ewell Fen GOBA Mooring to West View Marina EA Mooring

Today we had a rendez vous around midday so no shore leave for Tilly whilst we had breakfast. We pushed off and pootled our way towards Hermitage Lock passing more pumping stations, a cruiser and quite a few canoes. The canoes were almost certainly a batch of Duke of Edinburgh teenagers, maps out, rucksacks getting dribbled on and plenty of smiles.

Four of the twelve boats we saw today

A sign came into view, 3/4 mile to go to the lock, call the lock keeper. He was just penning a boat through, so would reset the lock for us.

The lock has a road bridge over the middle of it, chains hang from the chamber sides as well as below the concrete bridge, we’d have plenty of head room today going up onto the tidal river. A sign on the top gates and one before we’d entered the lock warned us of low water levels on the next stretch. A little like at Cromwell on the River Trent the tide only really affects the river here on spring tides and the lack of fresh water coming down stream isn’t helping with levels at the moment. So if you are deep drafted you need to keep it slow and steady coming out of the lock.

Left 4.5hrs cruise compared to 8hrs to Denver on the right

Once out of the lock the Hundred Foot Drain or New Bedford River heads off to the north east, tidal to Denver and Salters Lode. This is the fast route back to the Middle Level, we may or may not go this way on our return.

Another route to Denver but access is denied

Then pretty soon the Old Bedford River follows off to the north east too, a straighter version of the new river, on our maps it’s marked as none navigable for nearly half of it’s length, we won’t be going that way.

That’s a bit of a haul up out of the water

Earith soon comes into view a village that was once a port. Most of the wharves and warehouses have long gone, but there are still a few signs of it’s past. This is where Jewson and Son’s was founded.

Egrets today but no seals to watch

West View Marina was soon upon us, would there be room on the pontoon for us today. As we approached it appeared to be full, but two narrowboats hid the visitor moorings from us, they were empty, we pulled in a little before midday.

Heather with chilled medication

A quick tidy up ready for our visitor who soon arrived by bus, calling in at the marina office to pick up a chilled medicated lunch for us all, Magnums which had to be eaten quickly as Heather had been waylaid on her way to us.

We spent time catching up on news and on one of the many tangents we went off on we discovered we’d both worked for Theatre Projects. Heather had been a PA to Richard Pilbrow and I’d made models of new theatres for them over a couple of years as I finished college, possibly twenty years apart but we both knew the directors of old.

Heather’s new boat

With a cuppa consumed after the ice creams we walked over to take a look at Heather’s new (to her) boat, a Pedro. Every now and then on rivers we’ve started to spot Pedros and found their shape pleasing and being made from steel a touch more solid than your average cruiser.

Guilden Tass was bought last year with the intention of taking her over to Ireland to cruise the waterways there. Work is on going, taking it’s time, but one day she’ll have her prop back on, have had her hull blacked and be back in the water.

Loads of room to sit, a touch out of place due to on going works

Cruisers are a different beast to narrowboats, width and an indoor position to steer from as well as one right on the very top, but most of all they have wheels not tillers. Indoor is spacious, although the toilet/shower less so. All very exciting, I wonder if she will be back on the water before we leave the area?

Covers over the outdoor wheel and morse control

We left Heather to have some boat time on her own, she beamed as she slid the door closed behind herself. Another cuppa later on before we walked her to the bus stop to say goodbye and then have a nosy around the village. Have to say there wasn’t much to see other than a few nice looking houses and a very busy road. We did find the post office which may provide us with a newspaper tomorrow morning.

Ice skating at Earith, is that GT in the back ground?

1 lock, 3.66 miles, 1 visitor, 3 magnums, 1 Pedro, 2 boat Heather, 2 many cushions, 0 prop, 1 steep ladder, 0 shore leave for complaining Tilly, 2 Egrets, 1 list of places to visit, 1 very small world, 6 courgette fritters still needing a touch more refining.