Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Sunday 30 June 2013

Upwell and Outwell

Sorry, haven’t blogged for a few days, not feeling filled with the necessary the last few days!  We have retraced our journey along the Great Ouse, leaving Cambridge and the sunshine behind Thursday afternoon.  It started to rain as we left and continued to rain along our journey ‘til just short of Pope’s Corner, where we just dived into the bank and tied up in a random spot ‘cos we’d had enough and the last few EA and GOBA moorings had been full.
The next day we had a trip down the River Wissey, stopping at Hilgay for a night. It was rather wet and blowy, so we just saw what we could from the river, not much chance to stop and explore.
Hilgay, abandoned moorings, but the EA moorings under the bridge were fine, with field for dog exercising right next to it, just right for an old dog who doesn’t want to walk far these days.

Passing through one of the lakes, just past the sugar beet factory.
The huge sugar beet factory dominating the view for miles. It was built in 1925 in the centre of the sugar beet growing area and was served by the river and a light railway running across the fenland. Tha factory is now owned by British Sugar and still in use.

Turning at the end of the Wissey, the river still looks quite wide, but today we were sensible and didn’t see how much further we could go.

The cows were very interested in us, I guess not many boats come this far, though we did pass quite a few moored up along the way.

Uh-oh, passing this building which could have been a pump house, I suppose, Mr B starts making noises about a nice place to live, a good project to take on, just a bit of work on the roof needed! etc, etc. Better keep moving…….

Then it was time to make our return trip through Denver Sluice and Salter’s Lode and say goodbye to the Great Ouse and all the little rivers and lodes running into it, and once again join the Middle Levels.
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So now we are back on the drains.  The most picturesque bit so far are the villages of Outwell
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and Upwell, two villages running one from the other along the banks of Well Creek.  The waterway runs like an avenue between two roads and houses facing it, making an attractive route through the villages.
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Upwell has a lovely mooring, with seating and flower beds built alongside it.  We met the man responsible for putting it up and chatted to him whilst he watered the plants.  He has planted rhubarb, currants, gooseberries, fruit trees, and herbs, which he was keen for us to share.  A really welcoming gesture.
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We were made very welcome too at the Methodist church this morning and enjoyed a time of worship and fellowship there with them, finding out more about the history of the local villages over a cup of coffee.
Upwell (3) At the Parish Church it was the Flower Festival Weekend, the place was filled with the scent of the many blooms arranged around the theme of sports and hobbies.
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It’s a lovely church building, large for a village,

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with a great many gravestone in the churchyard round the back,
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Many of them very ornate, a sign of wealthy times past, or a very skilled local stonemason?

And this afternoon and evening we have enjoyed a warm, breezy cruise along the uninspiringly named Sixteen Foot Drain and Forty Foot Drain, not sure what the measurements refer to, not the width as far as we could tell, and I’m sure not the depth!
Upwell – Lodes End Lock
24 miles, 2 locks

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Cambridge Tourists

From our mooring just below Jesus lock we are in a great position for walking into the centre of Cambridge, walking Jumble through the park or Midsummer Common and generally getting to see the sights of this lovely, historic university city.

P1100005Today we have taken one of the city sightseeing bus tours, which gives a good background to the city with stops to visit the various places of interest along the way.

Here’s just a few of the sights of Cambridge………..


Crowds outside the entrance to King’s College, founded in 1441 by King Henry VI.




King’s College Chapel taken from the bus around the back.








Busking in the Bin!







The origins of the Round Church building date back to about 1130 AD making it one of the oldest buildings in Cambridge.







Entrance to Trinity College, with statue of its founder, King Henry VIII above the door.







Along St. Edwards passage we found bookshops to browse in, and coffee shops to stop and chat in.  Small places but big in character.









Great little streets and alleys to explore.








The Jesus Green open air swimming pool, like so many which were opened in the 1920’s and 30’s. This one is well maintained and well used, giving a good long length to swim in.


And then of course there are the backs, where the river Cam flows behind the colleges, busy with punts, some expertly, some not so, controlled by the punter on the back.

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Timeless scenes.




We stopped off at the Botanical Gardens, owned by the University, where there are collections of plants from all over the world in 40 acres of gardens and glass houses.

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My favourite areas were the woodland gardens and the wildflower meadows.