Thursday, 18 September 2008

Day Forty-Seven - Weld Done!

Peterborough to March

18 miles, 2 locks

We had booked passage through Stangound Lock on the Middle Level, at 9am, so were up early enough to make it at the appointed hour. The lock isn't wide enough for two boats of Warrior's or Duck's size, so we went in one by one, the Duck first, being poled and hauled in simultaneously, follwed by Warrior. The lock keeper, seeing our predicament, mentioned that there were some Middle Level maintenance men with a portable arc welder, who might be able to help, and gave us their number.

Stanground Lock approach

We got in contact, and lo and behold, just before Whittlesey, our angels in green overalls appeared. They had a generator, and an arc welder in their van and proceeded to stick-weld our tiller back together. Amazing luck! Now able to steer and propel the Duck independently of Warrior, we had to decided how to proceed. Much as we would have liked to head for Ramsey, and meet our friend known as Moominpapa, we decided that it would be best to press on to Cambridge as soon as possible. Finances are getting tight, and the quicker we can start earning the better. When we've saved up a bit, we'll be able to start doing all the jobs that have presented themselves on this journey.

So, with sadness, we said bye to Jim, who has been so kind to us, and helped us through so many of the numerous predicaments that we've encountered, and moved off seperately. We helped Warrior through Ashline Lock, and that was the last we'll see of it until Jim and Sarah hopefully come to Cambridge at Christmas. Warrior turned off down the old course of the Nene towards Ramsey, and we carried on towards March, in order to top up the diesel tank at Fox Narrowboats.

Typical fenland vista

It was closed by the time we arrived, but they let us stay overnight on the fuel landing stage, and we went off for some well earned chips in March.

This has been our first taste of the Fens proper, with its huge skies, endless farmland, and long straight waterways (which are in fact drains used to keep the fenlands dry (mostly they're below sea level). And although they can be boring ("a corner! yay!") I rather like it here. March was lovely - I really could envisage living there.

A sign we found in March - kind of sums up the fens...

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