Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Summer Pootle Day 4: A Tight Fit

GOBA Moorings - Brandon - The Ship: 7 hours, 21 miles, 1 lock (twice)

We had planned to go as far as Brandon Lock and see how far we could get - the lock is supposedly 43ft and the Duck is 48ft...

So we set off from the GOBA moorings in blazing sunshine, and enjoyed the trip down the Little Ouse. It's really pretty, with bird life all around, and willow trees. We were accompanied by the sound of more F15s above, and only saw one other boat.  At one point the navigation passes through the sluice to the cut off channel - part of the grand Fen drainage system. In times of flood, this sluice is closed, and the one to the left opened, to put all the waters from this tributary - and the Wissey and the Lark - into the man-made cut off channel, which- via the relief channel which we visited last year - ends up in the sea.

On reaching Brandon Lock, we were prepared to have to reverse back out and moor on the EA moorings just there, but those moorings had been turned into a fun park by the local youth, who were having a brilliant time, diving and swimming in the river, and had set up a few tents and BBQs. They seemed friendly enough but it would have been a noisy spot to spend the night! The moorings were also under a few inches of water as well.

Amazingly, the Duck fitted in the lock without any problems. We were very cautious about using it and didn't raise the gate until we were sure there was nothing that could catch. After lifting the front fender, so that the stem post could touch the gate but not hang up, and putting the boat in diagonally to clear the walkways on the V-doors, we made it through with no problems.

Brandon itself was very pretty, and there are some nice moorings at the head of navigation, which were also being used as a diving platform. 

I headed off to get some provisions and found a wild plum tree, from which I gathered some vary sweet tasty plums. Not enough to make into jam or anything, so I ate them as they were.

Then we decided to head back through the lock rather than stay overnight. It is a nice place, but with the water at a higher then normal level below the lock we couldn't be sure that we'd still fit through the lock if the water was lower. So James reversed all the way back to the lock. Reversing across the weir stream into the lock cut was a challenge, and ended up with the middle of the boat touching the bull nose between the lock and the weir, and then pivoting the boat onto it. It would be much easier if there were less flow, though. We went though backwards, because I knew that the bows fitted over the cill (because of going up that way) but wasn't certain that the deeper stern would clear it, and continued back along the Little Ouse. The water was about 4-5" higher than normal on the lower level, which may be why we were able to clear the cill. I stayed inside to get some work done despite the heat (with all the doors and windows open it wasn't too bad actually) and we carried on back to the junction of the Little and Big Ouses to moor at the Ship overnight.

twitter // facebook // email // follow // any questions?

1 comment:

  1. If you lay hands on any more wild plums, I really recommend making plum, apple and cinnamon crumble (with brown sugar used for the crumble) - it's lush!