Category Archives: River Cam

2022 Back To Exploring

Time for the annual round, a long post so sit back, put your feet up and enjoy.

The New Year kicked off with winter maintenance in the house. Having two hallways proved time consuming refreshing the woodwork and patching up the worst of the wallpaper. But this was broken up with weekly walks to see the sea. I resumed work on the development showing of #unit21 for Dark Horse and a Christmas present of a cheese making kit proved very tasty in creating my first ever Yorkshire Curd Cheese Cake from scratch. I plan on having a second go at this soon!

In February work progressed in Huddersfield towards opening night, the floor painted, final costume fittings and then the set and lighting added. All while Mick serviced our life jackets and Tilly grew more and more bored of life in the house.

Once the show was opened we had a trip down to London to catch up with the London Leckenbys for a belated Christmas, on our way back we visited Oleanna. When ever we could we visited Blue Water Marina to do jobs and have a pack up lunch. The stove was reblacked, walls washed down and cupboards sorted through.

Then at the end of February, Mick and I left Tilly in charge of the house, we packed enough clothes and food for a couple of days boating and headed to Thorne to move Oleanna through Thorne Lock before a winter stoppage began. Blimey it was chilly out there, but wonderful to be back afloat and moving Oleanna to Goole. Now we were all set to move back onboard and have a few weeks of pootling about in Yorkshire.

Back at the house we made it ready for the first of this years lodgers. Our boat Christmas tree was retired into the back garden where we hoped it would thrive, this of course was before we knew a drought was on it’s way! Tilly said goodbye to the dragon that lives up the chimney, left Seville and Valencia to look after the house before having to endure the car trip back to boat life.

After a few days sorting ourselves, including having one of Joan’s gluten free Chinese takeaways, we unplugged Oleanna and backed out from our mooring at Goole Marina (Boat House). We spent the next three weeks bobbing about between Pollington Lock, Doncaster and Goole. Maintenance jobs were ticked off the list.

Alistair did engine and weedhatch jobs, Frank joined us a couple of times to do carpentry jobs, our galley drawers no longer have a life of their own, the covers had a good scrub and a spray of Wet and Forget to help them keep clean.

In March I’d set myself a charity challenge, to knit as many pairs of socks in the month as I could. Nine pairs knitted for people in return for sponsorship, I also got a very generous donation of yarn from Lisa on NB Summer Wind.

Our plans had had to change as Thorne Lock still hadn’t closed, but was about to! Plans to visit York and West Yorkshire were abandoned, we’d bought ourselves a Gold Licence for the year so wanted to make the most of it. So on March 24th with all the jobs done we turned our backs on Goole and set off into the sunset to see where 2022 would take us, all three of us grinning from ear to ear.

We made our way to Keadby ready for our booked passage on the tidal River Trent, the fast route south. A phone call from a boating friend in need of support meant we’d be doing our best to make use of the spring tide to reach Cromwell in one go despite the weather forecast. We spent a couple of days doing what we could to help in Newark before we needed to be on the move again.

On upstream to The Trent and Mersey keeping up our cruising hours and Tilly hoping we’d stop with enough time for her to explore each day before cat curfew.

Up to Fradley then onto the Coventry Canal, we played leapfrog with NB Free Spirit for a couple of days.

Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, up the Curdworth Flight then a turn left onto a section of the Grand Union we’d not been on before at Star City. Up Garrison Locks, Typhoo Basin and then the Ashted Locks where we now have the measure of that Tunnel! A mooring space at the top of Farmers Bridge had our name on it. This was handy for a road trip to swap lodgers and for visits to the dentist. It also meant we were in shot when a group came to jump the top lock!

Fast forward to 6:15

Our route out of Bumingham saw us through Edgbaston Tunnel, down Lapworth followed by Hatton. A pause was needed for Tilly’s annual visit to a new vet, the one here the closest to the canal we’ve visited so far, also handy for The Cape of Good Hope!

At Napton we joined the Oxford Canal and headed for Braunston, pausing to stock up on goodies from the butcher. On the Grand Union we made our way up over the hill and started our descent down The Long Buckby flight back towards tidal waters.

On the 1st of May we turned left at Gayton Junction onto the Northampton Arm dropping down the flight to the River Nene. We’d only been this way once before and that was when we’d just bought Lillian (NB Lillyanne) back in 2014. We bought ourselves a second Abloy key, showed our Gold Licence to the chap at Northampton Marina and started our journey down stream, time to explore.

A decision was made to head down to Peterborough taking note of places we’d want to visit on our return journey. We worked our way through the guillotine locks, many button operated and others with the wheel of cardiovascular overload.

Tilly loved many of the moorings apart from those in Peterborough where crowds surrounded the boat and meant returning from shore leave was impossible for several hours.

In two weeks we reached the end of the river at the Dog in a Doublet Lock. Here the river becomes tidal, we’d save that trip for another time and turned back upstream to head for the Middle Level.

Here we wanted to explore all the drainage channels, but decided we’d do that on our return too. So we took the direct route and crossed the low lying waters in three days arriving at Salters Lode on Mick’s birthday. The levels out on the tidal stretch of the Great Ouse needing to be just right to get through the lock, turn and head upstream to Denver Sluice.

A lovely GOBA mooring was found on the River Wissey and eventually the sun came out for a birthday barbeque, we’d made it to the Great Ouse.

The remainder of May was spent exploring the River Wissey, Ely and The Little Ouse. Brandon Lock sits at the most easterly point on the connected navigable network for boats Oleanna’s size. Sadly a build up of silt stopped us from getting her bow into the lock, but we did get her as far east as was possible, ticking off the fourth point of the compass.

There was a trip to Hull Truck to meet old friends at a gala evening followed by a meet up with Micks family back in the Fens. At the end of the month we got to know Neil the seal at Ten Mile Bank moorings as he basked in the sun and took sunset dips in the river.

The Jubilee was seen in at Denver, we lit our guiding lights as a Lancaster Bomber flew overhead heading to see the Queen. The Relief Channel gave us a good mooring to be able to have a trip away to celebrate Dawn and Lee’s 50th Birthdays in Scarborough, we went as Wallace and Gromit and won an Oscar!

Another visit to Ely to see the Cathedral, Farmers market and meet up with Heather from NB Bleasdale, the first of many this summer. The River Lark was explored, the end of navigation reached with a handy mooring outside a pub.

We headed for the Cam, our paths crossing for the first time with Ken and Sue from NB Cleddau. Then onwards in to Cambridge where we visited colleges, ate chilled medication and had a day trip to Duxford so that Mick could sit in the pilots seat of a Trident 2, a seat his Dad had sat in on many a flight.

Oleanna squeezed along each of the three Lodes, Wicken, Burwell and Reach. Wicken Lode a magical place and a day visit to Anglesey Abbey with it’s wonderful gardens.

Then we headed onto the Old West a river with a very different feel than the Ely Ouse. A pause was needed when we reached Earith for us to have a tour of Heathers new to her boat GT. Once off the tidal water we were on a different Great Ouse again. Here St Ives, St Neots and Hemingford gave us sunsets, D shaped locks, huge meadows and wonderful towns and villages to explore.

As the temperatures started to rise I needed to do some work. Cruising happened in the mornings, my Panto script and sketches were done in the shade of what trees we could find. White sheets were bought and we hoped for a mooring with shade for the really hot days that were to come. Tilly took to lying on the floor and we took to wearing wet t-shirts to help us to keep cool. Thankfully the hot blast only lasted a couple of days then the temperature dropped and we could continue to head upstream.

July 21st we reached the navigable limit of the River Great Ouse, having to reverse some distance to be able to turn round and return to Bedford for the River Festival.

Here we met up with Ken and Sue, Jennie and Chris from NB Tentatrice and Heather again. Plenty of things to see, do and hear. The boat parades, raft races, vintage cars, all sorts kept us busy for the two days.

Now at the end of July we alternated the days between cruising and my work. More beautiful days cruising and more wonderful sunsets, one day off to visit Cambridge for some more chilled medication and to see the Hockney exhibition.

August saw more hot days. Trips to London to celebrate birthdays, panto meetings, catch up with best friends and travellers over from Australia.

On the 15th August we crossed back from Denver Sluice to the Middle Level having really enjoyed our three months on the Great Ouse. Now water levels were a worry along with having enough time to reach Oxford for me to go to work in October. We made the decision to come back and explore the Middle Level another year, maybe we’ll cross The Wash to get there!

By the end of August our progress up stream on the River Nene slowed to a halt. First one lock broke then another two ahead of us. We’d recently been accepted to join the Reflections Flotilla on the Thames to mark the Queens Jubilee in a few weeks time, now that time was ticking away.

When we did get moving again we had to make up our cruising hours. With the news of the passing of the Queen we didn’t know if the flotilla would still be going ahead, we carried on at pace waiting for news. Back up the River Nene, turning onto the Grand Union, working our way southwards. The news came through that the flotilla would go ahead, but now in remembrance of the Queen.

With a couple of days to spare we squeezed into the Eco-Moorings by Islington Tunnel. Two days of catching up with family and more friends over from Australia before we joined boats heading along the Regents Canal towards Limehouse Basin. An afternoon of activity saw numerous narrowboats festooned with white lights.

On the 24th of September the Thames barrier was closed and we all headed out of Limehouse Lock up stream to Chelsea where we clung onto buoys until the early evening when the flotilla started to muster.

Getting on for 150 boats all displaying white lights got into formation and headed down stream. Crowds stood on the illuminated bridges and Tower Bridge opened up in a royal salute as we passed underneath. What a truly amazing day.

Now we had to head towards Banbury, back round the Regents Canal as a leak in the engine bay needed testing on the calm waters of the canal rather than the tideway. By the time we reached Brentford we were confident with Oleanna’s engine again. On the Thames Tilly got a birthday present of a night on a Cliveden Island. Sadly we got an unexpected present on our arrival in Oxford, a second red line on a covid test! Panto painting couldn’t be put off so we made our way gradually up the Oxford Canal keeping our distance from people at locks and taking maximum doses of paracetamol.

A week of painting in Banbury before I moved to Chipping Norton to stack up the hours over the next four weeks getting the 50th anniversary panto ready. Rendez Vousing with Oleanna at weekends in Banbury and Coventry kept me sane. Mick had to single hand across the summit of the Oxford Canal to avoid the first of the winter stoppages.

All three of us were back onboard by mid November, covid free and vaccinated. We took things slowly now, time to rest up, meet friends, gather family and pootle towards Christmas. Our 20th Anniversary was celebrated with a Chinese takeaway at Alvecote Marina, a planned stop which ended up being extended due to plummeting temperatures. The canal froze, there’d be no moving the outside for Tilly!

Temperatures lifted dramatically and the ice just about vanished in a couple of days, we could now be on our way to Christmas. Alrewas was a good place to spend the festive days, a very good butchers and a village with lots of character and humour.

Bookings in the New Year had been made for passage on the tidal River Trent for us to reach Yorkshire, but this would not be. The Trent had risen before Christmas, Cranfleet Flood Gates were shut ahead of us, so no New Year at Hazelford Lock. Instead our alternator played up and we sought out a mooring to hook up to and see in 2023.

This year we’d been wanting to explore again. This year we cruised miles of new water, made new friends, got too hot, got iced in, got stuck, got to be in the first illuminated flotilla on the Thames for 300 years. What a great year it has been.

So our vital statistics for 2022 according to Canalplan are

Total distance is 1249 miles, 6½ furlong and 555 locks . There were 88 moveable bridges of which 29 are usually left open; 156 small aqueducts or underbridges and 18 tunnels,  a total of 7 miles 2 ¼ furlongs underground and 8 major aqueducts.

This was made up of 227 miles, 1 1/2 furlongs of narrow canals; 363 miles, 2 furlongs of broad canals; 85 miles, 5 furlongs of commercial waterways; 269 miles, 1 furlong of small rivers; 234 miles, 7 1/4 furlongs of large rivers; 69 miles, 6 furlongs of tidal rivers; 176 narrow locks; 232 broad locks; 54 large locks; 2 locks on major waterways.

731.7 engine hours

1156.1 litres diesel, 5 (although we’ve got 1 empty now) gas bottles (used for central heating as well as cooking), 28.5 litres oil, 3 oil filters, 1 fuel filter, 2 air filters, 1 water pump, 2 new belts, 690kg coal, 1 overnight guest twice, 6 packs Dreamies (not enough!), 56 friends, a record breaking 41 Mrs Tilly stamps of approval (4 in one day!), 15 pairs socks, 2 shows designed, 9 lodgers, 2 lots gluten free puff pastry, 9 supermarket deliveries, 30 boxes of wine delivered, 2 lost unicorns.

Thank you all for joining us on our journey. Wonder where we’ll get to in 2023?

14 Days Anywhere! 29th June

Burlow Lode EA Mooring to Stretham Old Engine GOBA Mooring, Old West River

Time to do some boating again and leave the Loades behind.


What a grey morning! The waterproofs were at the ready. After a long chat with the fishermen who’d set up behind us about the National Trust wanting to flood the land, how bad the fishing was and how much the house across the way was on the market for (£1,050,000, it comes with a building plot with planning permission), we were ready to push off.

Slow going again until the way ahead got wider, followed by the Terns again.


Is this a hovercraft sat in the field?

Labradors at the ready

At the two bridges there were several dog walkers, one lady on one side of the water another two opposite, they were waiting for us to pass before getting their dogs to swim across to each other. The dogs were being very patient and loving it at the same time.

Looking up Wicken Lode

NB Ivy May turned out from Wicken Lode a short distance in front of us, they’d had two days moored at the end and really enjoyed it. Today there was space on the EA mooring despite some overstayers, but who knows their circumstances.

Following NB Ivy May

A boat was moored in the middle of the lock landing which is also a water point. NB Ivy May just about managed to get in front of them and we did our best to squeeze in behind, but had to stick out across the cut as we were about four foot too long for the gap. Our next water point wouldn’t be until Friday, a load of washing had just finished, so we needed to fill the tank. NB Ivy May disposed of rubbish and then made their way through the lock whilst we filled with water. Eventually the boat in the middle moved up after Mick had suggested that the owner may believe he can moor anywhere for 14 days even water points, but that it was very selfish to other boaters requiring to use the services. He didn’t have a hose and was going to fill up using jerry cans, I also suspect he didn’t have a key either as he looked a touch perturbed when he returned to see the water point closed and us heading off into the lock.

The water point above the lock

By the time we reached the lock it had reset itself. The top gate almost closed, letting a small flow through and the bottom gate open that bit more. It took a little while for me to work out what was what as you can see next to nothing of the lock from the controls at either end, but we were soon through and on our way again.

Goodbye Lodes

Straight on past the pub, the river view tables all full, people waving as we went past. A narrowboat came towards us, quite a long way over and heading for a big willow, thankfully the two dogs on the roof managed to stay onboard.

Ely and gulls

The heavens opened as Ely Cathedral showed itself again on the skyline.

Popes Corner, time to turn towards the west and onto the River Old West. There are several EA moorings on the first bend but we had our sights set on the GOBA mooring at Stretham Old Engine, hopefully there would be space for us and it be a suitable place for a supermarket delivery.

Good lengthy EA mooring

Another speed check, we were well within it at 42 seconds. Plenty of others were going that bit faster!

The chimney of the old engine showed itself, then the mooring. One boat and a handful of fishermen, but plenty of space for us. We pulled in and settled down for the rest of the day, making amendments to our big shopping order.

Bookend pigeons

A little walk round late afternoon we had a little nosy at the museum. Sadly it is only open on Sundays, maybe every Sunday or maybe the second one each month! Too long for us to hang around to see inside.

Our mooring for the night

Stretham steam engine replaced four windmills that had been trying to drain the surrounding fens for years, they’d struggled to cope with flooding and were at the mercy of the weather. The engine was built by Butterleys in 1831 costing £4950 and it scooped water up into the Old West River. The coal to drive the engine arrived by barge, chunks of 2 to 3ft piled high in the yard, these had to be broken up before they could be burned, the engine using a quarter of a ton an hour. It was one of only three drainage beam engines left in the Fens. It was used for over a hundred years and then was replaced by electric pumps. What a shame we won’t see it running.

1 lock, 8.05 miles, 2 straights, 1 left, 1 shower to be missed, 14 days! 1 full water tank, 1 empty wee tank, 0 rubbish,1 order completed after 12 goes, 1 closed museum, 1 fishing tennis fan, 1 looping the loop Spitfire.

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.

Topping Up At Jesus. 24th June

Fort St George to Waterbeach GOBA Mooring

Jesus Lock and weir

Another night of fireworks and music into the early hours, thankfully the fair shuts down promptly and we didn’t get too much footfall past Oleanna afterwards. This morning it was very much time to move on, we’d stayed an extra night and had only just managed to tick off the top things on our list. We may need to return as there is the Fitzwilliam Museum and a David Hockney exhibition to go to amongst other things, oh and some more chilled medication needs sampling!

Booze from a punt

A top up shop was needed from the nearby Co-op, once this was stowed we pushed off and headed up towards Jesus Lock to do the necessaries, water and yellow water. We’d been pipped to the post by a hire boat, so we waited and watched the daily trip by the chaps with a bar on a punt, two fridges packed with beers, Pimms and Gin and tonic.

Once we’d finished our chores we pushed Cambridge away, winded and headed down stream. Novice crews sat in rowing boats being shown how to move their oars. The fair had it’s shutters down, resting before a busy Friday night. Tilly took up position on top of our washing that had been drying under the pram cover.

Heading downstream was that bit quicker. We swapped sides by Fen Ditton, the moorings at the pub filled with the two local hire boats. Cormorants sat drying their wings, they just look so evil to me!

Going down Baits Bite Lock

Baits Bite Lock was in our favour so we just slid in and I stepped off, closing the guillotine gate behind Oleanna and then lifting the bottom paddle to empty the chamber. If you are coming to Cambridge in the next few months it looks like there will be a sculpture trail along the river bank which might be worth keeping an eye out for.

There was space where we’d moored at Clayhithe but we hoped for a space at the GOBA mooring where we’d met NB Cleddau last weekend. As we approached we could see one, then two narrowboats and a cruiser. We knew you could fit three narrowboats along the mooring so Mick called out to the chap in the middle to see if he’d mind nudging up. He pulled back, the chap from the cruiser in front came and took a rope from the bow then hammered in a spike for us at the front as the bank was very uneven to get off with any ease. Brilliant we’d got a space, just a shame it was going to be too windy to have a barbeque!

Might there be enough space for us?

Shortly after we’d moored up, Tilly was allowed out. The covers on the boat next door look interesting so she needed to be discouraged in her calculations. Then the smell of the woofer next door brought her inside, just as I was putting down the covers. I heard a sploshing noise, had Tilly fallen overboard? Had she tried jumping onto our cratch cover and fallen in? I looked round, no sign of her in the water, maybe she was under the hull? But there were no ripples in the water. I turned round to see her standing in the doorway Some people have no faith! It was the water tank overflow, even I knew that! But what was more worrying was the two Toms heading straight for us aided by their big blue sheet!

Beware Toms with sheets

Once Tilly had got past the flood bank we didn’t see her for the remainder of the day until DingDing time. I got on with writing up blog posts, it’s hard to find the time when there is so much to see and do, in fact I’m writing this post before the one before!

It smells of woofer!

1 lock, 5.92 miles, 4 meals planned, 1 full water tank, 1 empty yellow water tank, 1 wind, 1 windy day, 2 gaps made into 1, 1 swimmer, 1 Kamikaze dinghy, 1 Friday night roast chicken, 1 blog post still to write.

A Tale Of Two Colleges. 23rd June

Fort St George, Cambridge

When in a University city such as Oxford or Cambridge we feel we should visit a college or two. With a lot to choose from we chose two which couldn’t be more different from each other.

The choir

First was the tourist attraction of Kings College. I wanted to visit the college as it is where a chorister kicks off Christmas Eve singing Once in Royal Davey Daddies City. To be honest I hadn’t come across this until Mick came into my life, now every year either the TV or radio are on for us to listen. The chapel is also quite a visual treat.

The way in

Entrance is best booked in advance, if you can book a week in advance you’ll get £1 off your ticket. The entrance is down Senate House Passage which leads to the north door of the chapel.

Just look at that!

As soon as you walk in the ceiling and stained glass grab your eyes. I love fan vaulting so I was always going to enjoy our visit. A sit down was needed to appreciate the pleasing structure way over head. One area caught the eye, a very smiley sun just off symmetry, a helium balloon that someone had lost grip of. I wonder how long it will take for it to loose it’s attraction to the ceiling?

King Henry VI laid the foundation stone in 1444, King’s one of his two ‘royal and religious’ foundations, the other being Eton. Both the school and college were to admit a maximum of 70 scholars drawn from poor backgrounds, boys from Eton were guaranteed entry to Kings. From his original plans only the chapel was ever built and that took almost a century. Subsequent Kings took on the college, it’s building paused during the Wars of the Roses.

Lots of light and detail everywhere

The anti-chapel is overwhelmingly carved. Half crowns stand out from the walls, back lit. Tudor heraldic emblems fill every space left around the stained glass windows.

The west window

The dark oak screen which houses the organ was a gift from Henry VIII and bears his and Anne Boleyn’s initials. It’s not as elaborate as many choir screens, but not many date back to this time. He also commissioned the stained glass windows for the north, south and east sides of the chapel, split in two with Old Testament at the top and new Testament below. Sitting looking up at them there is a lot of bright blue sky.

You get big choirs in Cambridge

The choir stalls line the sides, seats going on forever, no wonder the choir is famed.


Below the East window stands The Adoration of the Magi, painted by Rubens in 1634. During my A level Art I studied Rubens, I think the best essay I ever wrote at school was about his portrayal of naturally curved women.

Dodgems at Dawn

You then get the chance to walk around some of the outside areas. Today the Front Court was off bounds as the May Ball was being cleared away. It appears that this years thing is bumper cars, we came across them elsewhere in Cambridge today too. The gatehouse and screen, separate the college from the city’s streets and it’s people, the architecture ornate and delicate dates from the 1820s.

Flower meadow

Behind the court lies the Back Lawn, the majority grass. Don’t stand on it whatever you do! Then directly in front of Kings Chapel the grass has been sewn with wild flowers, a sea of waist high daisies with paths leading down to the River Cam. Very pretty and tasty for the bees.

As we crossed over the Bridge we looked back, the whole place shouted MONEY at us. We’d done THE tourist college with it’s spectacular ceiling and old masters, and Keep of the grass signs, now it was time for something very different.

Murray Edwards College

On the north west side of the city, up Huntington Road lies Murray Edwards College. Originally founded as New Hall in 1954, the first year had just 16 women students in buildings on Silver Street, it set out to try and address the low number of women undergraduates at Cambridge University . It was able to relocate to Huntington Road when the Darwin family donated their home The Orchard. The college buildings were opened in 1964 with the capacity for 300 students. In 2005 the college was renamed after it’s first President Dame Rosemary Murray and Ros and Steve Edwards who made a large donation to the college.

Fountain Court

Architects Chamberlain, Powell and Bon had designed the Barbican and Golden Lane Estates in London, they were chosen along with the builders WC French who had built the original motorway bridges on the M1. See, I told you it was completely different.

The Dome

The dining hall known as The Dome is made up of precast concrete, 4 inches thick, flanged so that they overlap each other with glass panels in between. The dome soars high above the first floor, your eye naturally pulled to it’s centre. Four staircases spiral down to the ground and lower floors, one in each corner.

More of the Fountain Court

Large wooden glazed doors invite you into rooms where the texture of the concrete has either been left ruff almost like the sea bed, or polished smooth. Cream brickwork on curved walls surrounds the Fountain Court with its blue lined troughs of water and of course it’s fountains.

Long glazed corridors with large windows, many open today for fresh air create open walkways from parts of the college to the next. For me this was reminiscent of parts of York University and parts of the house my Dad built as our family home.

The Porter was very friendly, gave us both a sticker for the Women’s Art Collection along with a big white folder with details of where we could go and the artworks held within the college and it’s 14 acres of gardens, and yes we’d be allowed to walk on the grass!

The collection is formed of modern and contemporary art by women, the largest of it’s kind in Europe. It was founded in 1986 and has expanded since then with donations and loans from artists. The college houses more than 500 works, including pieces by Barbara Hepworth, Tracy Emin, Rebecca Fortnum to name just a few. Every corner you turn there is another work, at the bases of staircases sculptures sit.

As we left we turned round, numerous potted plants sitting on the front steps a black cat lurking in there somewhere, we decided that we preferred it here to Kings. More inclusive, relaxed, warm, arty, airy, grass between your toes friendly. Well worth a visit and it’s free! Thank you Bridget for pointing us in the colleges direction.

Todays Menu

We now walked back into the city, one last thing on the list of essential things to do in Cambridge to tick off the list, Jack’s Gelato!

That’s better!

The queue was far shorter late afternoon and it was just the right length to have made the very hard decision of which flavour to have. To save any bickering between us we both chose Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt. Mick had a standard waffle cone, I paid the extra for a gluten free one, a rare thing! We sat down on the wall outside King’s College our backs turned towards the money and enjoyed our well earned chilled medication.

0 locks, 1 walked over twice, 0 miles, 7 miles walked, 2 colleges, 513 years apart, 1 spectacular ceiling, 1 mesmerising ceiling, 1 organ screen, 1 walkway of roses, 1 Ruben, 2 Tracy Emin and a Barbara Hepworth, £11, £0, 2 chilled medications well deserved.

Midsummers. 21st June

Clayhithe Moorings to Fort St George Moorings, Cambridge

Clear clear water

The river was so clear this morning, all the reeds and plants intermingled with the fish below us. The sun was out again with the temperatures requiring shorts and shady hats.

We pootled our way in towards Cambridge, much of the journey we were surrounded by trees offering us some shelter. Baits Bite was to be our second lock of the week. Accompanied by a Lock Keepers hut and behind that a rather shy thatched cottage hiding behind high fencing.

Okay then

By The Plough Pub in Fen Ditton there are signs asking you to keep left, this means passing boats on the wrong side. A rowing boat came round the bend ahead of us, a touch too close to the bank and old man in the pub garden shouted across to them about a painting of the Bumps at this location.

Maybe this is the one he was on about. The bend here is known as The Gut, keeping to the left is because of the difficulty in steering a 60ft rowing VIII, as the boat ahead of us had just found out.

Wonder if these cows have better manors than those at Lechlade?

We’d been surviving on what water we had left since filling up at Prickwillow so we gladly stopped in between the moored boats along Stourbridge Common. Here cows graze right up to the river, leaving their calling cards on the banks. Thankfully today any cowpats were dried out making stepping off to tie up easier than it would have been otherwise.

Whilst the tank filled up I had a shower hoping we still had far enough to go to heat up another tank full for Mick later on. Some bins were found nearby, including recycling which was a relief as our rubbish mountain was getting close to engulfing us.

Under Riverside Bridge where two lanes cross the river, one for pedestrians the other bikes. Past Cambridge Museum of Technology with it’s high brick chimney. Terraced houses were soon replaced with boat houses, one for each college, the river narrower than the Thames through Oxford, but still full of boats.

College Boat Houses

We kept our eyes peeled for spaces, the first one too close to a bridge and right outside a pub. Midsummer Fair was set up on Midsummer Common ready to draw in the crowds later this week, maybe we’d be better further in. Then a space with some wonderful shade, we couldn’t let that go to someone else!

Only a few poles to tie to meant the spikes came out. Mick bashed them into the ground, on the final hit the hammer flew out of his hand and straight into the river! A mental note was taken to it’s location and the Sea Searcher magnet earnt it’s keep assisted by the river clearing a touch and the handle of the hammer being bright yellow!

Despite Tilly’s protestations the doors remained shut for her. The amount of foot fall, bikes, scooters and proximity of a busy road means that sadly she won’t be exploring Cambridge.

First port of call was a visit to Heffers. Heffers was established 140 years ago and was the equivalent to Blackwells in Oxford, the university bookshop. In 1999 Blackwells bought the shop, it still retains it’s name. In a previous life I was a book and map seller at Blackwells in York, so time to have a browse was on the cards. With aircon and some birthday presents to purchase I was going to be kept busy for a while. Mick browsed from a chair near the front doors whilst I headed off to find the Crime Section. One title I was after was easy to find, another however wasn’t there. A friendly chap asked if he could help, the other title was currently being considered for reprint. He then suggested various authors that might be suitable, this was a man who knew his stock inside and out. In fact he turns out to have worked in bookselling for 40 years, 38 of them for Heffers and he is also a judge for the Golden Dagger Awards for thrillers. So I purchased a wild card paperback suggested by him, hope Andrew will enjoy it.

Kings College on the left

A couple of hours had us bimbling around the city along with many thousands of tourists. We did have a couple of aims.

Mathematical Bridge

The Mathematical Bridge which crosses the River Cam at Queens College. The bridge was designed by William Etheredge in 1748 and built by John Essex in1749. It spans the 50ft wide river using short lengths of timber. These short lengths of timber are held in a state of compression by the action of gravity on the whole structure, based on a voussoir bridge requiring strong abutments to balance the compressive forces created by the spring of the arch. The triangulation in the structure makes it very strong. Since it was first built it was repaired in 1866 and then rebuilt to the same design in 1904.

Below on the river the punts were in use, several with experienced guides gliding the punts along with ease showing up those having their first attempt. Just beyond Silver Street Bridge is the limit of navigation, although it is only possible to bring powered craft into The Backs between October and March with permission from the Cam Conservators, between March and October the furthest we can go is to below Jesus Lock. Today we weren’t tempted to have a go on a punt.

At weekends they have a second shop elsewhere in the city

Walking back through the city we headed up Bene’t Street. As soon as we’d turned the corner I could see the queue, at least thirty people standing in line. Slow decisions at the head of the queue very necessary. Jack’s Gelato will be visited before we leave, but I didn’t really want to stand around for half an hour today, so we even refrained from looking at todays flavours as that would have been torture.

The Fair

The walk back to Oleanna passed numerous other University buildings and colleges, the bus station (possibly handy for tomorrow) and then across Christ’s Pieces a park filled with trees offering walkers wonderful shade. Then along and across Midsummer Common which one end was almost totally taken over by the fair, we’ll see how noisy it gets tomorrow when it opens.

1 lock, 4.96 miles, 1 full water tank, 2 clean boaters, 1 miffed cat, 1 big splash, 1 handy magnet, 1 first perusal of Cambridge, 2 long a queue, 1 list, 1 joint membership, 3 options, 1st to read the letter, 2 presents, 1 vat of bolognaise sauce.

Waterbeach 20th June

Clayhithe Bridge


Last night we were treated to a rather good sunset. The trees across the way glowed from the setting sun and the sky looked like dragons had been breathed a huge smoky sigh.

A slow start to the day, yesterday we’d decided to wait another day before heading into Cambridge. I’d hunted around places that we could visit locally. Anglesey Abbey 4 miles away, too far to walk there and back and using public transport would take well over an hour. Another Abbey, Denny, still a 3 mile walk and only open Thursday to Sunday.

Then Waterbeach Military Heritage Museum caught my eye. Sadly only currently open on the first Sunday and Wednesday of every month. Oh well, we’d go and see what we could see in Waterbeach, maybe try to find the airfield.

From Clayhithe Bridge you can walk through Cow Hollow Wood a local nature reserve. We took the path to the Remarkable Reedbed, not very remarkable, but the areas were named by school kids when it was first put together in 2000. It makes a nice walk into the village avoiding the road.

We followed Station Road into the village, now classed as a new town since 2018. Plenty of nice looking smart houses around the place. A triangular village green with a post office, convenience store and a couple of pubs.

St Johns

A stop to look round St John the Evangelist, dating back to the 12th Century the tower and spire collapsed and were replaced in 1821. It undertook a Victorian restoration in 1871 by JM Fawcett and John Ladds in 1878. The mosaics on the pulpit and behind the alter most probably date from this time.

Life buoy halo

There was a plaque and book of remembrance for 514 Squadron Bomber Command who were stationed at RAF Waterbeach between 1943 and 45, just how many had given their lives.

We carried on walking through the centre to try to reach the airfield which is quite obvious on Google maps. But today an area of it is now used for NHS staff accommodation. We walked down to the cemetery to see if we could see anything from there, sadly failing. It kind of looks like the airfield is being redeveloped, most probably for housing.

Wonderful reflections

We walked back to the river on Bannold Road crossing the railway line which brought us to Bottisham Lock. A wonderful view upstream to be had from the weir.

Loads of room today

Today there was plenty of space on the GOBA mooring, NB Cleddau and the others having moved off this morning. We then followed the flood bank back to Clayhithe, at times having to lift our arms to avoid the masses of nettles.

All blue and green

The list of places to visit in Cambridge is long and could get expensive. I think this evening we will have to pin the tail on the donkey to choose which things we’re going to do and see.

0 locks, 0 miles, 4 miles walk, 1 church, 17 hollyhocks, 0 airfield, 2 abbeys 2 far away on foot, 2 far away for the bus, 2 sessions of shore leave, 8 times no, 8 courgette and pea fritters for the first time.

At Last! 19th June

Fidwell Fen EA Mooring to Clayhithe Bridge Public Mooring

Tilly was given an hour and a half whilst we had breakfast and discussed our next move. There are so many things we want to do in this area, Wicken Fen, Burwell church, a long list of places in and around Cambridge, all to manage around 48hour moorings in a popular area!

We decided to keep heading south towards Cambridge, if we couldn’t get moored there we’d return and get the train in, but that also needed to be thought about with the train strikes looming. However today we’d only be moving so far, we had our eyes and hopes set on the next GOBA Mooring at Waterbeach.

Wonky horns

Odd horned cattle grazed the banks as we moved along.

The geese had sorted themselves, Greylags to the east, Canadian to the west leaving just enough room for passing boats in between.

The answer

There are plenty of Hitchhikers Guide fans on the network and as we passed one I noticed we’d got our own hitchhiker a rather pretty spider, I think it’s a Missing Sector Orb Web.


Spiders have certainly been busy on Oleanna, the port side windows and cratch are sporting rather fine cobwebs at the moment!

Bottisham Lock

Soon Bottisham Lock came into view. A long lock landing stretching out below with a cruiser sat right in the middle. I headed to the bow to step off. They’d settled in nicely with a gas stove out of the bank, the crew all returning to their boat with fishing rods.

The lock had both guillotine and vee gates closed, it was neither full nor empty. Inside the control panel were a different line of buttons and instructions written in marker pen to not close both ends of the lock on leaving. I worked Oleanna up, the guillotine gate rising only a small amount. The filling seemed to stall after a while, water still coming into the lock but not rising Oleanna any higher. I tried pressing the gate button again, but the timed delay was still delaying things. Patience was all that was needed and soon the light went out and I could raise the gate fully.

This is where you need an Anglian Pass

Now we were on the Cam Conservancy water. Up ahead were the moorings we’d been hoping for. Three narrowboats fitted it nicely. Oh well, we’d hopefully find somewhere further on. The first two boats were familiar, we’d first seen them on the Relief Channel, then in Ely. They were travelling together and had their bows facing each other so they could sit in their well decks and be sociable.

The third boat looked like they’d just arrived, or where they leaving? The chap at the stern had a life jacket on, was our luck in? Then the side hatch opened. No we’d missed the space by about fifteen minutes!

Then Mick realised who it was. A boat we’ve been hoping to meet for a couple of weeks now. We’ve been a mooring apart without knowing it, passed one another whilst one has been tucked up on a tributary. Emails have been swapped with cruising plans, my last one said we’d be heading to the Lodes and not in to Cambridge, Sue’s last one mentioned they were heading to Cambridge then onto the Old West River, I’d imagined them to be long gone. But no here they were, at last!

NB Cleddau

A bip of Oleanna’s horn caught their attention and we were soon breasted up alongside NB Cleddau. We’ve followed each others blogs for some time and last winter I’d contacted Sue for information regarding Bedford River Festival as they had been before and we were considering a visit this year. Several emails had gone back and forth between us and today we were finally in the same place as one another.

Ken and Sue, Sue most probably has a similar photo of me taking photos

We must have chatted for at least an hour, we could have gone on for longer but we were wanting somewhere for Tilly today as she’s likely to be cooped up whilst we go sight seeing. Our paths will cross again in the coming weeks, hopefully somewhere we can both moor up bank side and continue our conversations.

Pushing off after a couple of boats had come past we weren’t hopeful for a mooring, the river now quite busy and not many moorings available. We waved goodbye to Sue and Ken hoping we’d not be returning to breast up to them for the night.

Pretty sailing boat

At the Cam Sailing Club boats were being tucked up for the week. A big boat came towards us, mast lowered for the bridges, a hen do sitting out on the spacious bow having a great time in the sunshine.

Fancy building up ahead

The pub mooring was empty, but had a long line of gongoozlers sat on chairs, possibly awaiting a trip boat, or maybe just enjoying the scene and a pint. Not a suitable place for Tilly.

She’s getting married!

Thankfully through the bridge there were a couple of spaces available, we pulled in to the one furthest away from the road and let the cat out. This would do us for the day, possibly the closest cat friendly mooring to Cambridge we’re going to get.

See ya!

Now to start planning what to see, when and how to get there!

1 lock, 4.24 miles, 2 passed Lodes, 1 Anglian Pass in the window, 1 familiar boat, 1st meeting, 1 sunny day, 1 late lunch, 1 space, 2nd helpings of quiche, 8th navigation authority.

Plummeted. 18th June

Little Thetford EA Mooring to Fidwell Fen EA Mooring

Everyone will be saying the same thing today, ‘What a difference a day makes!’ Yet it was surprising to see the chap in front of us pulling away wearing a woolly hat, it couldn’t be that cold surly! I started off the day wearing shorts, but soon changed into long trousers.

Toasted bacon and mushroom with a touch of tomato sauce

As we waited for the Geraghty zoom to kick off this morning we were passed by Simon Judge on NB Scholar Gypsy who is recently back from a trip to Belgium. Last year we joined him and nine other boats on a Thames Tideway cruise with St Pancras Cruising Club. There was only time for a short exchange between us before he passed on by, it was drizzling, maybe our paths will cross again.

Zoom this morning included details of forthcoming trips away and we were glad to see that the Londoners were now fully recovered from Covid. With two new variants about we’ll be doing our best to remember to have our masks with us in crowded places.

Popes Corner

It was now raining properly, so we decided to sit it out and wait for it to ease before moving onwards. By midday we were ready to push off, heading southwards. Mick had called ahead to the Fish and Duck Marina to see how much their diesel was and if they might just have a 13kg bottle of LPG as we’d finished one bottle the other day. Calor Gas is a hard thing to find nowadays, none at Little Ouse Moorings or in Ely, so on hearing that they had some we needed to get there quickly before it all went.

Filling up

Not far to where the river splits at Pope’s Corner. The Old West heading off to the west and the River Cam to the south, here sits the marina, steel on the river moorings and tuperware inside. We pointed down the Old West and pulled in on the service mooring, a touch short for us, but the chap had come out and pulled us alongside another narrowboat so the diesel hose would reach our tank.

A rare bridge

The old gas bottle was removed and a new one put on the stern to drop into the gas locker later, Mick wanted to re-arrange the bottles anyway. Once we’d paid we then reversed away back to the junction and headed southwards onto the Cam.

Another pumping station and a pillbox

The floodbanks now moved away giving us views of the grey day, we’d already got a touch damp as the diesel tank filled and several layers were required.

Sign posts were many today. Ely, Cambridge, St Ives and Burwell. We’d already decided and headed towards Cambridge, but should we do the Lodes first or head to Cambridge? Being grey we didn’t fancy going too far so at Upwell we opted to stay on the River Cam and pull up at the EA moorings.

I’d spotted a slightly strange thing on our Waterway Routes map at Upware. Here there are 72 hour patron moorings close to the pub Five Miles To Anywhere, then on the offside it said there were 48 hour patron moorings too. But how could you be a patron at the pub? The next bridge north was about a mile and a half away and heading southwards you’d have to cross first the River Cam at Bottisham Lock, 3.5 miles, then head back downstream to Upware Lock, another 3.5 miles, followed by another quarter of a mile to the pub. Quite a long way for a pint! But on a short landing by the pub was a rib with an outboard motor, do they come and collect you? Their website suggests that you would need to make your own way by dingy.

If you can get to the pub!

Round the bend we pulled in at the end of the EA mooring behind a couple of cruisers. A quick check confirmed it was a good location for Tilly. Too right it was with a very handy fence to aid friendly cover perusal. It was however a touch muddy and damp in the grassy bits!

The second run had a better view

As we had lunch I cooked up some quinoa for a quiche base. Todays quiche was to be a firm favourite from before I went gluten free, Smoked Salmon and Camembert. It may even be nicer with the quinoa crust.

Click on photo for recipe

0 locks, 3.82 miles, 13 degree plummet, 1 Simon, 3 rivers, 72.5 litres, 13kg gas, 1 cat with eye’s too big! 2 friends and some red leicester, 1 quiche, 1 damp grey day.

207 Years To The Day. 1st May

Evans Bridge 42 to Westbridge Pipe Bridge

In need of the services at Gayton Junction we prepared, emptying the wee tank whilst the outlet was on the towpath side. Then we pootled our way to the junction.

What a difference from yesterday! I got sunburnt yesterday, today we could just about see our breath! Layers and long sleeves were certainly needed.

Gayton Junction, which way?

At the junction there was already a boat on the services, but fortunately they had just finished. We pulled in alongside and let two other boats pass before we could swap places and tie up. There was a hive of activity around the service block, the local IWA branch were busy weeding and giving the place a general tidy up. We filled and emptied as required then were ready to push off.

IWA all hard at work

We’ve pulled up at the services here before, but only once been along the Northampton Branch. That was just over eight years ago when we’d just bought NB Lillyanne, she’d been moored on the River Nene and her licence had just run out, so we spent a couple of long days getting her off the river and onto C&RT waters. Quite a rush, not enough time to take much in or write a blog.

Last year was all about seeing family and friends, this year we want to explore again. Today we’d be heading down the Northampton Arm towards the River Nene, Middle Levels, Great Ouse, River Cam etc where we plan on spending the summer. We have our Gold Licence, have joined Friends of the River Nene and The Great Ouse Boating Association. There are different licences to buy, keys and windlasses (that are also called keys), all very exciting!

Fancy swing bridge

But first we needed to stop for an early lunch, there’s nowhere really to stop in the flight of locks down into Northampton so we pulled up opposite Gayton Marina. This is where all the hire boats were aiming for this morning and also where we came to view the first second hand boat we looked at inn 2014, it had too much leatherette for our tastes and really bad storage for a liveaboard boat.

From eight years ago I’ve had this thing that Gayton Marina had to be on the main line of the Grand Union near the junction, every time we’ve passed since I’ve wondered where it had gone! Now I know it wasn’t just a mirage.

NB Caress of Steel came past just as we pulled in, another Finesse boat with space for a motorbike in the tug deck. Then we watched the swing bridge at the entrance swing, all automated, a barrier and flashing light. There was no-one to be seen operating it, do moorers have a fob that they can press to open it? Or is someone watching on CCTV?

Top Lock

Time to set off, with sixteen locks ahead of us before we could stop we needed to get on with it.

We remembered narrow locks, going under the M1. I remembered trying to ride a Brompton up the gravelly track between locks, our lock operation has changed since then going up hill. Today I’d be walking much of the flight three times to set ahead and then let Mick and Oleanna out of the lock above.

What would be different to the locks? There’s always something different on each canal. The beams were wide, easy to cross. Here the handrails on the bottom gates were on the downhill side of them. Would I still be able to push the gates apart to save a walk around the lock? Have they always been like this or is it to put people off stepping across from one gate to the other?

Beep beep!

At the second lock I stood and worked out if I could push the gates from the centre safely holding onto the railing. This actually would be a touch easier to start off with, but to guarantee getting the gate into the recess I would need to change the angle to which I pushed. After a few locks I decided that the angle I was pushing at was not being kind to my knees, so I chose to walk round instead. Thankfully Mick closed the other gate for me with the boat hook, saving a second trip round.

The thick of the flight runs through twelve locks seemingly in countryside, the last one however sitting underneath the M1 near junction 15A. All quite pretty, I suspect the views would have been better if the sun had been out.

A family walked up the flight, crossing over the gates of each lock. They were obviously keen to lend a hand with a gate or two.

Red roof

In the pound below lock 6 I could see a red arc. This turned out to be the roof of a cruiser, the chap on board appeared when we had a couple of locks still to go to reach him. Obviously a single hander, I headed down to lend a hand with gates as he bow hauled his boat into the lock. He said that he’d stopped in the pound overnight and some nair do wells had opened all the paddles and drained the pound, he’d woken up with his boat on the silt.

The bywash was flowing and had got him afloat again, the level still quite low. It took time for Oleanna and the cruiser to pass. We’d left the next two locks ready for him, I suspect he made use of the open gates and then settled back down for another night, waiting for the next down hill boat to leave gates for him.

It won’t go down!

The level below Lock 6 was low. Oleanna ground to a halt exiting. I lifted one of the top paddles to see if I could flush her out. This worked quite quickly, but then the paddle wouldn’t close fully. I managed to force it down a touch, but had to call for Mick to see if he could get it further. Thankfully this worked.

The canal was built by the Grand Junction Canal, with a height difference of 32m between the Grand Junction at Gayton down to Northampton. 17 narrow locks were built to connect the River Nene to the canal network. The first boats arrived at Far Cotton in Northampton on the 1st May 1815, 207 years ago today! However today we wouldn’t be greeted by crowds cheering, it would just be geese crapping everywhere!

Farms were cut in half by the canal, so seven lift bridges were put across so that sheep, cattle and machinery could cross. Today only one such bridge is still fully in tact, just below lock 5, two more sit beside the canal.