Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Monday, 1 July 2013

Dead End Drains


First up, last night’s sunset, taken just after I’d finished the blog, so I saved it for today.



In our quest to ‘do’ the Middle Levels, we have been down the drains to Holme and Ramsey, Benwick and Flood’s Ferry.P1100140

Some of the drains are very long and very straight…..



With the occasional bridge……….



Some of which are very low………..


Which makes for a bit more interest……….



On the way to Holme, the channel got narrower…….



And the going got slower……..


And weedier……….


til we got to the end……….


fortunately there was room to turn, just.

A family of swans with seven cygnets, one of the bigger broods we have seen this year. They were very unsure of our big vessel on their small patch, unused to seeing boats along here.
P1100161 P1100164
On our way to Ramsey, past an old windmill or wind pump, another interesting building which would make a good home, although I think this one was sinking, it certainly looked a bit wonky.
Past Ramsey St. Mary’s and the church alongside the drain.
There is a village called Ramsey and two nearby settlements, Ramsey St. Mary’s and Ramsey Forty Foot, all along the Forty Foot Drain, with Ramsey Mereside and Ramsey Heights nearby too. I bet the postie gets confused!

And eventually we arrived at Ramsey, where we turned again, below the old mill. We were hoping there would be a supermarket of some sort, and found a choice. That was a surprise, and we were able to stock up making use of vouchers that only had a day or two left in date.


P1100174 P1100175 P1100176 P1100177 P1100178

A larger village than we had expected, in fact a market town, with an attractive High Street, village green, church and abbey.


(Info from the town’s website) Before the fens were drained, Ramsey was an island in the Fens. The Main Street in Ramsey is the Great Whyte which extends right down to the Mere (the drain). The Mere used to supply the town with eels, fish and fowl and a means of transport. The town of Ramsey was built up around the gate of Ramsey Abbey. The Abbey was governed by an Abbot, who in the early years also controlled most of what went on in the Town.
We journeyed on, back onto the old course of the river Nene, so now there were more bends and curves in the river although still the high banks so our view was limited, lots of big skies and of course wind turbines always somewhere in sight.
P1090483 P1090489
Passing Benwick we came to the only official visitor moorings we have seen today, and guess what? They were full!  With one narrow boat and a small cruiser alongside, despite having seen no other boats on the move all day.  So we kept going to Flood’s Ferry junction and once on the Whittlesey Dyke once again pointed the bow into the bank, made a leap hoping to find solid ground and banged pegs into the steep slope. Good thing we’ve got a plank.  We’ll make Jumble walk it later!

Lodes End – Holme - Ramsey – Benwick - Flood’s Ferry
20 miles, 1 lock

1 comment:

  1. There really isn't much clearance under those bridges!!
    Are you finding it harder to get mooring because the sunny weather is increasing the number of boats on the move? I expect it's a very different feel to the experience during winter with the waterways mainly populated by full-timers!