Boatwif Blog

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Bedford River Festival, 2018

It was a date agreed four years ago: “Let’s do it again,” the Tentatrice crew had said, “let’s go back to the Bedford River Festival in 2018.” And so it was. After a winter of route planning, a spring of impatience awaiting Cleddau’s release from the Nantwich paint shed, after a summer of creating broom handle flag poles, after 353 miles, 110 locks, 8 waterways and a sea crossing, Cleddau eventually reached the site of the 2018 Bedford River Festival. ...

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Trains and boats and planes

The Cal Guys are both pretty interested in things that move – as relatively frequent visitors to the UK they can hold forth on transatlantic airlines and on aircraft types. Cal Guy Snr has often been to the Marine Corps Air Show at Miramar (just north of San Diego) and so a visit to the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden     to examine some (slightly) older aircraft seemed a good plan. To see an aircraft being pushed up a slope...

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 Cal crew in training

School’s out – the Summer Break has begun (for US children, that is). Within hours of the Cal Clan flying into Heathrow Cal Guy Snr was campaigning to be on the boat… Before taking to the water, however, certain things needed checking out: The taste of a British ice cream  The equipment at a British fire station (Ampthill)  The livery of newly painted Cleddau     The sound and look of a Beta 43 engine…  “This will be different,” the Captain...

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Clogs, sticks and locks

Cleddau continued to head upstream on Saturday. There had been confirmation from boaters at Offord Lock that the water supply in St Neots (non-operational in 2014) was definitely available in 2018. St Neots (a Cambridgeshire market town with a population of over 40,000)  was a few miles further on. First though, was Paper Mills Lock.   It’s long, it’s deep and unusually it has two sets of stone steps inset into the lock sides. It was busy, a cruiser and Cleddau...

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Some trying moments

Godmanchester – Buckden – Hemingford Grey – Little Paxton: 22 miles, 8 locks There never seems to be very long between one boat problem and the next. The most recent issue has been water heater related. A Webasto (that provides hot water and central heating via a timer and via an over-ride switch) had been installed in 2011. From time to time engineers have engaged with it, replaced bits, re-set the timer and so on. It was serviced last year at...

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Flat water through the flatlands

Denver – Ely – Godmanchester: 45 miles, 6 locks After the challenge of two foot high waves at sea and dense murk on the tidal Great Ouse, calm well-behaved water comes as somewhat of a relief. Cleddau and Tentatrice set off on Saturday from the Denver Sluices Complex     (described here  as “a little-known hero”).  Boats and crews had begun the 72 mile Great Ouse cruise upstream to Bedford. Between Denver and Ely (16 miles) three tributaries dive off to...

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Upstream to Denver

“See you at 0600 tomorrow then,” Daryl Hill, the Wash pilot had said. King’s Lynn is a good-looking town, as had been discovered in a recce in February 2014.  However, the plan for a two night stay on the King’s Lynn pontoon had been foiled as spaces on it for Friday night had been previously booked. The boats had to clear the mooring by 12 noon – and the departure to Denver had to be at the midpoint of a...

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AWash!

Boston to King’s Lynn: 29 miles, 1 lock Whose idea was this? Pitching, sliding, rattling, tossing … this was not serene and peaceful narrow boating! But to backtrack: Cleddau, Tentatrice and crews had navigated to Boston in South Lincolnshire en route to Bedford for the mid July River Festival . The cruise plan was to cross the sea (The Wash) from Boston to King’s Lynn in Norfolk, guided by a pilot who has knowledge of the local waters. The trip...

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Wandering down the Witham

“I’ve told the others that there could be a boat trip. The boys might be interested.” So said Cheshire Mum, while regaling her own disrupted travel plans to Lincolnshire for an annual Graftonite * weekend. On Sunday there was a text: we’ll be down soon after 1030. “Down” was the River Witham at the pontoon at Fiskerton Fen.    They (how many would that be?)  would be walking down from the farm and the campsite. Suddenly there was a boarding...

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In Line of Sight

Lincoln – Washingborough – Fiskerton Fen: 7¾ miles, 1 lock Cleddau and crew cruised out of Lincoln on Thursday afternoon to a delightful mooring pontoon at Washingborough. The moorings are beside the Water Rail Way, a walking and cycle path that shadows the river bank the 30 odd miles from Lincoln to Boston.    Tentatrice left the next morning,      crew prepared for all weathers, while Boatwif went in search of a post box in Washingborough village. . Poppies and...