Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Long Weekend

I had Friday off, Jackie was at work in London, so decided to single-hand Pippin into Cambridge to pump out.

The tank was only about 3/4s full, but leaving it another week would have meant the university colleges would all be back.

Locals know that this means, as a consequence, the river will soon be awash with novice rowers bouncing ineptly from bank to bank.

Their arrival marks the coming of Autumn as surely as ducklings and cygnets denote the arrival of Spring.

However, it introduces a level of stress into the piloting of a 26 ton steel boat down a suddenly crowded waterway which traduces entirely any enjoyment which might otherwise be gained from it.

Thus, a last quick trip to Cambridge before winter sets in and we switch to the long but peaceful slog to The Blessed Isle that is Ely.

I couldn't have asked for a better day for it:

Quite early one morning.........

Our Seagull Sentinel saw me off.

Under way, passing the GOBA moorings, c.08:30

Approaching the Cam Sailing Club: the river a mirror.

 The Bridge at Clayhithe

Lowestoft Ice-wherry 'Jester' has sunk at her mooring once again.

And on I travelled, through that most glorious autumnal morning light: light filled with poetry, and filled with yearning for the last of summer and sadness for the end of it. The trees still in full leaf, yet tinged with winter's harbingers, the ochres and the rusts.

"We are fallen into the sere, into the yellow leaf......" (Shakespeare: The Scottish Play.)

The little steam launch seemed about to be readied for play.
Another 'last blast', perhaps?

 View from Bait's Bite Lock footbridge, upstream and downstream

Softly through the green corridor, the engine but a murmer.

At Jesus lock Pump-Out and water point.

While the pumps worked away (I pumped out, rinsed out with bleach added, then rinsed out with plain water: if you've come all this way, you want to be thorough! :-), I took the opportunity to wash down the port side. The windows particularly were very grimy.

(It tends to get over-looked at home, as port is the river side, and hanging off the boat to do cleaning opens one to the threat of an unscheduled inspection of the bottom of the river: a prospect I find highly de-motivating..........)

Anyway, spider webs were banished.

Glass and paintwork sparkled anew.

The trip boat, nb 'Rosie'. I had a cup of tea and a chat on board Pippin with Peter, her proprietor.
Very pleasant! 

The trip back was lovely. I tried to take some pictures as I steered out of Cambridge, but found that photography and helmsmanship are not a comfortable mix.

At this point I wasn't doing either very well......
Serve me right for trying to multi-task....

This lovely wooden cruiser is called 'Brunette'.

 This is the last piece of undeveloped private land backing on to the river in Cambridge.
A veritable snip at £450,000, I thought.......

Fen Ditton from the river

There is a beautiful thatched cottage nestling in the trees.
Sadly, once again, my attempts at steering/photography meant I missed the 'money' shot....

Bait's Bite stood against us again on the way back, but I had a nice chat with some people at the lock. It was Conversation 3B: Generators/solar panels/wind turbine.
At least they didn't ask "Isn't it cold in winter?"...........

Pippin looking serene, shiny and svelte (and hardly like a 'fat boat' at all, thank you, Dr Bones! :-) moored on the lock approach.

Baits Bite lock fills. Slowly........

Swirly water

The lads from The Cam Conservancy hard at work shoring-up the bank and towpath opposite the moorings at Horningsea.

A particularly sylvan stretch between Horningsea and Clayhithe.

Approaching the bridge at Clayhithe.
It's looking like a particularly suitable venue for a game of Pooh Sticks in this lovely light.

Moored-up safely at The Parish.
The cloud formation above could almost be a heart shape, if you squint a bit.....

I did.

Well, it was our wedding anniversary the following day!



  1. I love the photos, they remind me of the many times I have been down that way. Not anymore though unless the Cam Conservators change their charging policy. I was around the Great Ouse this year and it would have cost £150 for a few days in Cambridge. Why can’t they charge daily or weekly visitor fees as do other river authorities (I don’t expect you to know the answer to that)

    1. I'm glad you liked the photos!

      I have had harsh words for the Conservancy over this and other issues. (See posts passim).

      The charging policy has really knocked the number of visiting boats. It is a great shame because it means most boaters don't get to enjoy what is a truly lovely stretch of river.

      However, the Conservancy feels the best way to raise revenue is by charging in this way.

      Other user groups (rowers, anglers and any other loose aglomeration of anti-boater types) are far from unhappy with the current arrangement as it has reduced boat traffic on the river to a trickle.

      "You can please some of the people some of the time........"

      Shame it isn't us..........