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,  C27-08   their crews all in cool posing mode…

Time off in Ely?  Visited the Cathedral, then what else is there to do? You can trudge the streets as Boatwif did to track down the Box Office for tickets for She Stoops to Conquer. It was an open air Am Dram production in a pub garden in Silver Street. Though the costumes were excellent and many of the cast members very good the production was disappointingly static. It couldn’t have been easy for actors to project voices against the background of pub diners but though a worthy effort the play wasn’t quite the rollicking performance expected.

If arts and crafts are your thing (and if the Antiques Centre close by is too stiflingly hot to go into) try the Gallery down on the waterside for contemporary art work and craft items.

Then there’s Ely Museum up in the town in the building that was the Bishop’s Gaol  – highly recommended for its chronological displays of the fens from Stone Age to modern times. Look at this solid gold bracelet (late Bronze Age)  C27-05   and see the conditions prisoners suffered in this very building.   C27-07  The Museum holds fascinating agricultural tools and eel fishing equipment too. C27-06

A visit to the Saturday market is fun: fruit and veg, flowers and fish but also Panama hats  C27-03   and attractive Polish-made pottery.  C27-04

If you look down at your feet you might spot some interesting details, like the brass eel way markers which guide tourists along the Eel Trail  C27-02 while in the market square you are reminded of Ely’s geographical position.  C27-01

Time came (Saturday afternoon) to surrender the 48 hour moorings, refuel at the little boatyard and head out of town.   C27-09   C27-10

The lesson of grabbing an available mooring had been forgotten – and regretted. All moorings nearby, and at and beyond Littleport, were taken, until at last, miles on downstream,  spaces were found at the Ship Inn at the junction of Brandon Creek. Patronage was expected and Boatwif’s trout with potato and leaf salad was a delicious choice on a steaming hot evening.  C27-11

Sunday night:  C27-13  the waters are wide and cool at Denver Sluice. C27-12  C27-14   Tomorrow morning the cruise continues down the river almost to the sea. King’s Lynn will be the destination – that’s why there was that weekend jaunt last February, a recce to stake out the town and its moorings.

Monday update – tidal Great Ouse from Denver to King’s Lynn safely navigated; further detail of that particular adventure next time…

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