Where Did He Come From? 29th July

Paxton Pits to Brampton Mill GOBA Mooring

The level came up last night, we had slack ropes this morning. However the flow on the river has just about stopped. Water levels around the whole system are in trouble and it looks like rivers are not going to escape. For several weeks there have been amber boards up along the Great Ouse. We’ve become used to such boards when the levels have been high in the autumn and winter, but right now it is the opposite, we really need some sustained rainfall.

A mardy strop

An early breakfast for us and we were on our way heading down stream, hoping for an early in the day arrival at Brampton to secure a space before the masses arrived.

It was a lovely morning, one where you remove your jumper almost as soon as you’ve put it on. Kingfishers chirped as we went past, zipping and zooming out of view too quickly for a photo.

Turn towards the lock

Offord Lock was around the next few steep bends, the lock cut heading away from the main course of the river. Round the first bend. Hang on, where did he come from?! Ahead of us a narrowboat, we’d not seen him until now.

Gerry can on the back

We caught him up at the lock and I went to lend a hand I asked where he’d come from. He was heading for diesel and as he turned the bend towards the lock he’d run out. So his boat was currently running on what ever he could find below, he’d managed to get about 3 litres together, citronella oil was mentioned, at least he’d be free from mosquitos for a day or two!

NO bins here !

We chatted as the guillotine gate was lowered, Offord Lock only 100ft long so most definitely not shareable. I wound the bottom gate paddle gear for him 59 turns to raise it, then we pushed open a gate each before he headed off to top up on diesel at the marina below.

Goodbye narrow locks

59 turns to close the slacker, hard work. Mick joined and lifted the guillotine gate to refill the lock. As we’d been heading up stream we’d heard that the bins here had been removed, boaters however were still leaving their rubbish! Today this is no longer possible as the fencing around the bin area has been moved, although I bet some boaters still will leave rubbish! Not a case of changing bin contracts, these bins have gone!

The A14 was busy unlike the GOBA moorings beyond it, not one boat moored on them. We still wanted to be that bit further on. Brampton Lock was waiting for us, we dropped down, wound our way around the islands, past the pub and pulled up where we’d been a couple of weeks ago, next to the big tree which would give us shade later on in the day and somewhere to sit out.

The mooring all to ourselves

We arrived just before 11am, just as a cruiser was pulling away. We had the big field to ourselves for an hour or so until NB Ivy May arrived and pulled up a few feet away on the other side of the tree. During the afternoon the moorings filled up, a cruiser leaving not quite enough space in front of us for another boat. Despite having been the first to moor we now looked like we had left git gaps around us. Mick pulled us back as far as we could go, hoping there’d be enough space for a short one in front.

Back on the cat walk

I spent the afternoon working on Piccadilly Circus and on board the ship. Finer details will be done after I’ve put everything into the model box to see if it works. So if anyone has any ideas on panto type Victorian adverts I can add to Piccadilly Circus please pass them on, who knows your idea may just make it onto stage this Christmas. I also spent sometime wading through on line catalogues and requesting samples to be sent out to me, lots of pink and purple fabrics, one with extra sparkles that I know we wont be able to afford, but I hope I get a sample of it!

Later in the day Mick contacted Paul from Waterway Routes regarding the length of St Neots Lock. On Pauls maps he uses the navigation authorities dimensions, after all they should know how big their locks are! A quick measure on google maps confirmed what we already knew. Paul plans to come out to measure the lock to get the correct dimension and then inform the EA. So in a future update Waterway Routes will be even more accurate than the EA.

2 locks, 4.86 miles, 1st boat, 1 extra rule regarding fences, 236 turns at Offord, 1 aching shoulder/neck, 1 hot water bottle, 12 episodes of Sherlock Holmes, 2 scenes, 5 barrels nearly made, 8.5 hours, 2 git gaps not of our making.