Boatwif Blog

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Transitions

River, city, canal, suburbia, river, marina, completion of another phase, river, canal…  The story of the last three days is one of changes both in setting and in situation. Wednesday: on a sunny morning, thick-headed from the night-time squawks of insomniac geese, the Cleddau and Tentatrice crews left the National Water Sports moorings and headed the couple of miles towards Nottingham. Waterfront properties take on a different look hereabouts, an ostentatious residence,           upmarket apartments,        the home of Nottingham Forest football...

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White water

Congratulations to the sharp-eyed readers who picked up on the afterthought (the Llareggub boat name*)  in the last post: first in was Cliff from his South Wales hilltop with “fancy encountering a Dylan boat fan on your voyage”.  Just 14 minutes later Godmanchester Friend emailed “Happy to see you have ‘Buggerall’ for company!!!” It was farewell to Newark-on-Trent on Monday morning.      Gone was the rain but tail end Hurricane Bertha’s winds were still about.  Onward upstream past the castle and...

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Lincoln – Torksey – Newark

Thursday was Moving On Day: time to leave Brayford Pool’s marina electricity, the waterside eateries     and student halls      to head out along the Roman Fossdyke Navigation. There was the Pyewipe Inn,      its name vaguely familiar, its riverside moorings looking very inviting. Just as elsewhere a bridge can provide perfect cover for a boat restoration job.     Then came a new marina, boatyard facilities beside smart waterside housing.     When Cleddau passed here before in 1997 there were no such grand facilities. A...

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Passage of time: Lincoln

Three stints of Lincolnshire living (amounting to about eight years in total) make Lincoln a hometown from the past. On Saturdays decades ago there’d be family shopping for fruit and veg at the market, maybe a hot dog by the Cornhill (now the location for a Big Screen)      and the occasional browse inside the packed toy shop, transformed now into a Waterstone’s book shop. Walk across the plaza in front of the Central Market opposite Waterside these summer days –...

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Boston and beyond

“When in Boston…” When in Boston climb up the Stump and look out to sea. After last Tuesday’s thrilling narrow boat crossing of the Wash it seemed appropriate to get some perspective on the journey. (Follow the blue line from the right hand bottom corner bottom of the chart (King’s Lynn) to trace the route taken.) Wide views across Boston and the surrounding landscape are possible if you climb the 209 steps up the Stump, the tower of St Botolph’s...

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Cleddau goes to sea

So often the Captain jokes that the alarm clock is set for quarter past six in the morning. On Monday night at King’s Lynn it was for real.  Despite a stunning sunset a wind drove the incoming tide hard up against Cleddau’s hull that night. Slap, slap, slap. It seemed to go on for hours and when sleep came it was soon broken by the 0615 alarm. Final preparations for the cruise (or rather sea voyage) were made. Wash chart,...

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Downstream to King’s Lynn

Plans for the Wash Crossing began firming up in Ely. Moored nearby was Chouette, her crew booked too with Daryl Hill for a Wash Crossing from King’s Lynn. What good fortune to prepare for an adventure with them, members of the Macclesfield Canal Society and veterans of the tidal Severn and European waters too… Early start on Monday morning was required to catch the tide. Would all the preparations be enough? There had been much Googling of the Great Ouse channel to...

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Time out in Ely

Some places you are just glad to return to – Ely is one of them! In high summer the lesson to learn on the rivers is grab a mooring when you see it. So two nights were spent breasted up against Tentatrice midway between the Ely High Bridge and the Ely to Cambridge line railway bridge. Moorings alongside the popular Ely frontage were all taken and on Saturday sharp-bowed glossy white cruisers vied for prime position outside the Cutter Inn,   ...

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Keeping ahead of the March Navy

Post festival on Monday there was much to be done – the packing away of a gazebo which despite its missing connectors and roof poles had provided both shade from the beating sun and shelter from beating rain.    Outdoor chairs, picnic blanket, surplus cool boxes, the gazebo and car were returned home – and Exemplary Neighbour then returned the Cleddau and Tentatrice Captains to the boats, by Jaguar! Rumour was rife – “There’s a queue of fifteen boats down at...

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Spectacle at Bedford River Festival

So on Friday after six months of planning, seven weeks of travel, 141 locks negotiated and 310 miles of canal and river navigation Cleddau had nearly reached the venue for Bedford’s 17th biennial River Festival. There was just the Pyramid (the Oasis Swimming Pool) to pass, a few low bridges to creep under  and a lock to queue at.  Allocated mooring sites 76/1 and 76/2, by midday it was safe to declare that Phase 2 (Braunston –Bedford leg) of the...