Monday, 25 July 2011

Day 3: March Onwards

March- Whittlesey

11 miles, 1 lock

The alarm went at 6:30am for Amy to go to work, but very smugly I was able to turn over and go back to sleep. At the far more civilised time of 9am I was up and about, having a wander around the centre of March, and getting a few bits and pieces. I only had a short hop to Whittlesey (or Whittlesea as the railway station has it) and so could afford to take my time.

I set off at about half eleven. The day was grey but warm, with a slight breeze, and soon I was through the centre of March and out at Fox's boatyard. I bought some diesel (£40 for 30 litres, maybe I should shop them to the Monopolies Commission over their high prices) which should last until we get to the more sensibly priced canals. I wanted to dispose of some used engine oil from the recent oil change, but was quoted a charge of £1 per litre of oil. With some 30 litres of oil and oil/water mix from the engine bilge, I wasn't keen on this at all! That too can wait until the canals. I accept that it costs the boatyard to dispose of oil correctly, but I doubt it costs them that much!

Once out of March, the going was good at first. High flood banks meant I couldn't see very much, but the water was reasonably deep but fairly weedy until Flood's Ferry, where the navigation becomes the Old Course of the River Nene and narrows and shallows. There was far more weed on this stretch, and I was often having to stop to spin the prop astern to clear it. No point going down the weedhatch though, it would have only collected more!

A very welcome sight, albeit unexpected, was my friend John on NB Meandron. He'd put his name on the waiting list for a Cambridge mooring license speculatively about 3 years ago, just after we put our names on, and he recently got the call from the council saying that he was at the top of the list, and so bought a boat to try out the whole liveaboard lifestyle. It was good to catch up with him, as I moored alongside and had a welcome cup of tea whilst we chatted and listened to the cricket on the radio. We're looking forwards to welcoming him as a neighbour in Cambridge.

After reluctantly saying goodbye to John, I headed finally into Whittlesey, arriving about an hour before Amy's train arrived from Cambridge. We had a walk around the town, before returning to the boat to catch up on some TV programmes on iPlayer.

Tomorrow I've booked passage through Stanground Sluice at Peterborough, and so I'll pick up Amy there at the end of the day before we head up the Nene. The plan is to make Wansford tomorrow evening, Rushden and Diamonds on Wednesday, and be on the GU by Thursday.

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