This Month's Totals and Average
234.45 miles 38 locks 79.26 hrs 3.44 lmph

  August 2018

Friday 31st August ~ Wiggenhall St Mary Magdelen to Ten Mile Bank, via Saddle Bow (en route to Fazeley)

Lovely mooring, nice and quiet. Slept very well! After breakfast, started on the maintenance. Full check of the engine, but it showed all levels (except cooling water) to be normal - topped up the water. Changed the stern-tube seal with no difficulty, having found that it was badly scoured by grit. The leak appeared to be stopped, but time will tell if a drip continues (if it does, it will mean a drydock to check shaft and cutlass bearing). Checked weed-hatch - only a small piece of weed and blue string; nothing unusual; removed.

Finished mid-morning, so let go and headed to the end of navigation at Saddle Bow (Mill Road) Bridge. Looked down the remaining 2 miles to the sluice at Kings Lynn . Winded and returned up the channel to Downham Market, where we moored for a walk to the shops. Lovely market town, with a nice selection of shops.

On returning to "Paws", let go again and returned through the Relief Channel Lock onto the Great Ouse. Turned upstream, heading for Little Ouse Moorings tomorrow for fuel. Moored for the night at the same mooring we had used the first night on the river.

Lovely sunny day throughout, with only light zephyrs moving the water.

13.15 miles 1 locks 3.84 hrs 3.68 lmph

Thursday 30th August ~ Earith to Wiggenhall St Mary Magdelen (en route to Fazeley)

Up very early for the tidal run to Denver Sluice. Ready to go by just turned 06:00 and let go. Joined a convoy with "Jubilee", "Bimble", "Constable", "Waterscape" and "Ever After", and headed round to Hermitage Lock, turning left immediately before it onto the New Bedford River (also called the 100 Foot Drain). "Chyandour" elected not to come down with us (maybe a wise move ). Kept speed up to get down as fast as possible. About half way down, we met the tide coming in - our speed on full revs was only 1.8mph. "Jubilee" started to have engine temperature problems and decided to anchor until the flood subsided, and "Bimble" stayed back for support. We later heard that they both arrived safely. We turned into Denver Sluice and, after a short wait, ascended back onto the Great Ouse. Because of the queue, some of boats may not have got through to Salter's Lode. Heard later that "Jubilee" and "Bimble" had safely got through to Salter's Lode. Noted that "Chyandour" had actually arrived in Denver via the River route by close of play - that was a fast run!

We went round to the elsan point, then descended the Lock onto the Relief Channel. Very broad, plenty deep, took a leisurely chug as far as Wiggenhall St Mary Magdelen and called it a day. Found that there had been slight overheating on the engine and the stern gland is now leaking (maintenance for tomorrow before departure).

After a cool start to the day, the sun did eventually poke through the clouds and we ended the day with little cloud at all.

28.09 miles 2 locks 7.90 hrs 3.81 lmph

Wednesday 29th August ~ St Ives to Earith (en route to Fazeley)

Rain overnight had cleared by breakfast-time, and the sky was looking hopeful with occasional glimpses of blue. Quiet lazy morning, mostly chatting with other boaters (while the washing machine did the work). The 'exhausted' feeling from yesterday now turned to just 'tired'.

Lunch aboard, then set off, having contacted Denver Sluice and booked in for tomorrow. Very leisurely run to Brownshill Staunch, descended, and continued to Westview Marina where we found several other boats also awaiting passage tomorrow. Got moored up just before the rain came on. Late finishing so this diary entry completed on Thursday (so that 'Catering' would not be inconvenienced over meals ).

7.13 miles 2 locks 2.84 hrs 3.22 lmph

Tuesday 28th August ~ St Neots to St Ives (en route to Fazeley)

Up early to let the inside boat out - since we had to move anyway, we headed across for water before heading off on the return trip to base. Had decided that the run to Brownshill was too long for a single day, we elected on St Ives for the middle overnight and a slower pace. Departed from the water-point as "Annie & Walt" left their mooring (pre-arranged) and descended St Neots Lock together. We then continued to Offord Lock but it will only take one boat at a time, so Mike & Lorraine got down ahead (we later saw them at Huntingdon, awaiting a repair). At Brampton Lock, the River Patrol boats and "Credalwood" caught us up and we all came down together. This was repeated at Godmanchester and Houghton Locks but, just before Hemingford Lock, another boat pulled out into our convoy and got our place in the Lock. Never mind, we were not in a hurry. We had taken lunch on the move by this time. Descended Hemingford Lock and headed into St Ives. Noted Stephen & Gwyneth had moored on the outskirts, and assumed "Jubilee" (who wasn't far behind) would join them. We turned into The Waits and moored for the night.

A mostly cloudy day, but still generally warm and bright with little wind - a pleasure to be boating. The sun finally got through mid-afternoon.

15.49 miles 6 locks 6.29 hrs 3.42 lmph

25th-27th August ~ St Neots

IWA Festival of Water

Festival opened at 10:00 on the Saturday morning. Large number of stalls with art & craft items and stands from the major waterways-orientated authorities (IWA, Environment Agency, Anglian Water etc.). Waterways Recovery Group brought their small digger for children to have a go at driving. EA brought two of their patrol boats along. Plenty of food outlets and a beer tent. There was a short Communion service in the entertainments tent on Sunday morning. Parade of boats and firework display in the evening. The passenger boat "John Bunyan" provided boat-trips Sunday and Monday.

There wasn't supposed to be any rain on Saturday! It started out nice, but it turned to rain around lunchtime and we had heavy showers for the rest of the day. Sunday's forecast was for rain almost all day - that's what we got! Most stallholders gave up mid-afternoon. It cleared by mid-evening in time for the parade and fireworks. Monday gave us a beautiful day all day.

We spent most of the time on site, and taking our turns on the BCF stand. Dropped in to listen to two of the daytime entertainment bands (Air Cadet glockenspiel band, and Panic Steel Band). We showed a couple of interested parties round "Paws". Had a visit from David & Betty, our friends from London, on Monday afternoon - spent the time over a buffet lunch regaling our exploits since we last saw each other. Fantastic afternoon, look forward to seeing them again soon.

Our stand was stripped down when the Festival closed at 17:00 on Monday, and we made "Paws" ready for a quick get-away on Tuesday. Now for a restful evening.

23rd-24th August ~ St Neots

Very heavy rain overnight eased to a drizzle by breakfast, and cleared by mid-morning. Thursday spent in preparation for the Festival. Assisting the IWA site team, and preparing our boat with bunting and banner. Some baking done for our stand team. 48 boats now on site. More rain in the evening, but cleared again overnight.

"Chyandour" arrived at lunchtime on Friday. Our gangway did a re-shuffle once all the boats had arrived - we nipped over and took water while this was going on. We ended up 2nd out, outside "Vixen". The remainder of the afternoon was used to prepare the BCF stand. Most of the day was dry, but there were a couple of moderate showers, and the wind increased making boat-movements and constructing gazebos a little difficult. Boat total up to 75.

Wednesday 22nd August ~ Great Barford to St Neots

Very lazy start, then took water. "Housekeeping" then decided to do some ironing (?) before we left. Lunch aboard before departure. Noted a gentleman getting lifted by the local 'bobby' for failing to have his dog on a lead.

Let go after lunch and immediately descended through Great Barford Lock, then headed downstream, taking our time, back towards St Neots. Descended through Roxton Lock then ran along the long stretch to the outskirts of Eaton Socon before descending that lock. A lot of gongoozlers out at the lock. Entered St Neots and found the festival site at Regatta Meadow had started to fill up, 20 on the moorings so far but nearly 100 expected in total. Were directed to our designated mooring (gangway 2) by harbourmaster Peter, and we got settled in.

8.01 miles 3 locks 3.29 hrs 3.35 lmph

Tuesday 21st August ~ Goldington to Great Barford (en route back to St Neots)

Relaxed start to today - no real hurry for anything. When Stephen & Gwyneth came back from their walk, they joined us again for coffee before they headed off to Bedford. We finally got on the move as well, heading back towards St Neots. The current was stronger today and we were flying down-river with very few revs on. Descended Castle Mill Lock  in company with a small cruiser out for a day-trip. By the time we arrived at Willington Lock, they had obviously caught up with a boat ahead and descended with them. We descended and continued to Great Barford, mooring outside "Rodgy Dodgy".

4.36 miles 2 locks 2.13 hrs 2.99 lmph

Monday 20th August ~ Goldington to Bedford, and return (en route back to St Neots via Bedford)

Up and on the move promptly. Continued upstream through Cardington Lock, then stopped at Priory Marina to get the loo cassettes emptied (starting to get desperate!). Lovely scenery on the final run to Bedford - fairly wide with trees both sides, very welcoming. Ascended Bedford Lock and headed into the central area. Found "Serena" and "Unique" moored by the water point. Moored next to them and had a chat before we headed into town for a walk.

Lunch ashore, and a small bit of shopping (quite a wide range of shops available). Back to "Paws", topped up our water and headed back out of town. frequent checks made on "Chyandour" on the tracker to see their progress. Descended Bedford Lock and returned downstream. Met up with "Ketana" also heading down (she had over-wintered at Fazeley Mill last year, nice to meet up again). Descended Cardington Lock and moored again at the Goldington GOBA mooring mid-afternoon. Noted that "Chyandour" had passed Barford so no point in moving on to meet them. They arrived late afternoon, but came over for a tea and chat. We collected the gazebo ready for Friday, but the remainder of the gear we agreed could actually wait till Saturday to set up.

6.70 miles 4 locks 3.77 hrs 2.84 lmph

Sunday 19th August ~ St Neots to Goldington (en route back to St Neots via Bedford)

Up promptly (but it didn't do much good). Chatted with John on "Lordy Lordy" and Mike on "Gamnel Princess" about the run to Bedford. Threw a few alternative ideas around and decided to do a quick run (most of the way today, short run in tomorrow and back out, run back on Tuesday). Let go and headed over for water - very slow tap, and two waiting by the time we had finished.

Headed off, through the Eaton Socon and up through the lock. The scenery more like a very wide canal than a river, with tree-lined sides and gaps showing the pasture and meadows lying behind. Noted a red kite hunting over the bankside in the vicinity of Little Barford, then a kingfisher in the closer confines of the stretch to Roxton Lock. A spaced-out convoy had developed - we caught up with a boat ahead, and while waiting one behind caught up with us. This continued on almost all the locks for the day. Ascended Great Barford Lock and waved to Jane & Raymond (moored by the pub), and on to Willington Lock where we found Lorraine & Mike coming down. Continued on to Castle Mills Lock, deciding that was enough for the day. Ascended and stopped at the GOBA mooring at Goldington. We were just seeing the start of the suburb industrial/retain area at the east of Bedford so ideal to get stopped. The mooring is only long enough for one narrowboat (possibly two cruisers) and, although there is plenty of depth, the banking is rather steep. Short run into the centre planned for tomorrow.

Call received from "Chyandour" asking if we could meet up and take the equipment for the stand from them as they would not be arriving at the Festival until Friday - arranged for them to moor with us tomorrow.

12.28 miles 5 locks 5.74 hrs 3.01 lmph

Saturday 18th August ~ St Neots (en route back to St Neots via Bedford)

Cool again overnight, another good night's sleep. Slow getting started today, then ashore for a walk round town. Another nice centre, but very busy. Returned to "Paws" to find "Jubilee" moored inside us. Jan & John were heading home for a couple of days. Met up with "Moose", the work-group co-ordinator. Quiet afternoon aboard, with a few chores and more work on the maps. Just been announced that there is to be a Festival next year, at Waltham Abbey. Would tie in nicely if we were to head for the BCF Mission at Northampton, then south to Waltham Abbey for the Festival, and on to London centre to attend the Merchant Navy remembrance parade at Tower Hill at the beginning of September - we'll see what we think when doing next year's planning.

Friday 17th August ~ Huntingdon to St Neots (en route to St Neots, via Bedford)

Much cooler night last night, all slept better. Joined for breakfast by a one-legged grey wagtail . With two boats outside us, we took our time getting ready.

Left mid-morning and continued upstream through Huntingdon, then Godmanchester, ascending the lock. Lovely run today, tree-lined banks opening occasionally onto a view of the pastureland and meadows surrounding. The lock cuts were very narrow with overgrowth but would only be a problem if another boat were coming the other way - plenty deep enough. Continued up through Brampton, Offord and St Neots Locks, before looking for the waterpoint at the Priory Centre. There was a queue and we weren't desperate, so moved over to Regatta Meadows opposite and moored outside "Slow Gin" and "Chedoona". Met up with Mike & Jane aboard "Gamnel Princess" (they use the same tracker  as us) - turns out he is the treasurer for IWA (who are running the event next weekend).

10.27 miles 4 locks 5.03 hrs 2.84 lmph

Thursday 16th August ~ Huntingdon (en route to St Neots, via Bedford)

The forecast rain arrived just before breakfast. We decided on another 'no-move' day. "Fair Fa' " also stayed for the day, but "Slow Gin" headed off just after lunch. More work on computer projects and knitting. Rain continued till after lunch, then cleared slowly into a nice afternoon. Went for walk round remainder of town. New boat ("Ampère") sitting outside "Fair Fa' " when we got back.

Noted from the tracker that "Chyandour" had crossed over onto the Great Ouse. Hopefully see them soon. "Annie & Walt" passed by late afternoon.

Wednesday 15th August ~ St Ives to Huntingdon (en route to St Neots, via Bedford)

After a very quiet overnight, we reversed out from The Waits and continued upstream. Most of the other boats were also leaving at the same time. Arriving at Hemingford Lock, we found it very busy - three in the process of ascending and two waiting. Hemingford looked like a very interesting little town, but we were moving on (maybe on the way back). Continued to Houghton Lock where we all bunched up again. Arrived in Huntingdon and headed for the EA 'Riverside' mooring on advice. Found the short mooring free and moored up. Lunch on board. "Fair Fa' " moored outside while we were eating, then we were also joined by "Slow Gin". Walk to Sainsbury's for stores.

5.08 miles 2 locks 3.15 hrs 2.25 lmph

Tuesday 14th August ~ Holywell to St Ives (en route to St Neots, via Bedford)

Cloudy morning, but no return of the rain of yesterday. Brief chat with Lorraine & Mike about plans for the day, then let go heading upstream. More trees bordering the wider river here. Arrived at St Ives Lock and ascended. Turned into Jones' Boathaven for elsan and gas - very nice marina with all services and friendly staff. Well stocked chandlery. Continued into St Ives, looking for a mooring. Lorraine & Mike advised about the council moorings at The Waits, so went there and they followed us in. Found "Kathleen Margaret" and "Bright Water" already there.

After lunch aboard and topping up water, went for a walk round the town. Lots of 'local' shops rather than chain-stores.

Brought diaries, stats and maps all back up to date.

4.05 miles 1 locks 1.99 hrs 2.54 lmph

Monday 13th August ~ Horningsea to Holywell (en route to St Neots, via Bedford)

Occasional showers overnight cleared by breakfast. On the move promptly, heading back to Pope's Corner and the Great River Ouse. Descended Bottisham Lock, leaving Cam Conservancy waters and returning to Environment Agency - not sure that the £49 licence was worth it, but at least we can say we travelled as far as Cambridge by boat.

Turning left at Pope's Corner, we travelled through a section of narrow, reed-bordered water (almost canal-like) before it opened out again. Half an hour later came another similar stretch at Streatham Ferry - very twisted, with overhanging trees - extremely picturesque. Lunch on the move. There had been no forecast of rain for today, but early afternoon the clouds had built, and we had a torrential downpour - steerer soaked. Eventually came to Hermitage Lock, where we would descend onto the tidal River Great Ouse again (this is 20 miles further inland than Denver Sluice and the tidal effect is almost minimal. I walked forward to the lock to advise the lockie of our presence (knowing there was another boat in the lock). Looking into the lock, I was greeted by the smiling faces of Lorraine & Mike aboard "Annie & Walt".

On clearing the lock, we stopped at Westview Marina for gas and elsan, but found they are closed on Mondays. Continuing upstream in the wider river, we came to Brownshill Lock, taking us off the tidal river again. Looking for the first available mooring, we found "Annie & Walt" at the GOBA 'One Pound' mooring so started to tie up - got another drenching for our trouble.

Once dried out, we were invited for coffee and a catch-up of our various travels since last seeing them on the Thames last year. Back aboard, we noted that "Chyandour" had reached Peterborough, but other concerns came second to dinner (I'll catch up tommorrow).

23.33 miles 3 locks 7.25 hrs 3.63 lmph

Sunday 12th August ~ Horningsea (en route to St Neots, via Bedford)

Rain most of the night - looks like that forecast for today has come through overnight. Only showers around lunchtime and teatime now forecast. 'Catering' decided that we would stay put and do some baking.

Muffins and shortbread created over the day (just getting a few stocks in ready for the 'gannets' at the Festival ). Rain dribbled on/off for most of the day.

Saturday 11th August ~ Cambridge to Horningsea (en route to St Neots, via Bedford)

The mooring at Jesus Green was quieter than I had expected. Once tidied away ready for the day, we went for a walk round town, taking in the architecture  of the university buildings and churches, and the market and shopping. Really enjoyed the morning. Returned to "Paws" for lunch with the intention of going out again in the afternoon.

Over lunch, had a discussion about the weather forecast (rain for most of tomorrow, when we would have to move) and what we still wanted to see (if anything in particular). Came to the conclusion that we would rather move today (for all we would miss) and have 48 hours mooring if needed (and not get soaked again). Upped sticks and moved across for services (the elsan is in the circular hut up the bank). Moved off and headed back out of Cambridge. Looked a lot nicer in the sunshine than yesterday's rain. People enjoying themselves in the park, and out boating. Descended Bait's Bite Lock in company with "Polaris", then we both moored up at the GOBA mooring north of Horningsea.

Surprise visit just before dinner from Barrie & Margaret whom we'd met early last year and chummed down Knowle and Hatton. They live locally and dropped in for a catch-up. Great to see them again.

Rain arrived mid-evening and continued after bedtime.

4.48 miles 1 locks 1.66 hrs 3.30 lmph

Friday 10th August ~ Little Thetford to Cambridge (en route to St Neots, via Bedford)

........ and was heard several times during the night.

All cleared by morning. However .......

The lovely sunny morning we woke to, deteriorated!

Let go and headed to Pope's Corner, where we turned left onto the River Cam. Narrower than the Great Ouse, and with more reed/lily at the bankside, it also had more by way of tree-cover and there were cows grazing along the bank. Passed Upware Junction, leading to Reach, Burwell and Wicken Lodes, but elected not to visit as we had heard bad tales about the weed situation. Then came something we hadn't seen for some time - a lock! Easing us back in again slowly, we found that the bottom mitre gates were electric and so was the top guillotine gate - very easy. Bottisham Lock is the divide of responsibility between Environment Agency and the Conservators of the River Cam. Above this point, a separate licence is required (works out at about 50p per day if one uses the whole time available, as we couldn't stay that long it would be less cost-effective). Continued to Bait's Bite Lock, by which time the rain had started again. Ascended and continued on, thinking about an early stop. Within half an hour the steerer was soaked, and with no suitable mooring we elected to just get to Jesus Green. Waved to the crew on "Kathleen Margaret" as they headed out from town. Arriving at Cambridge one is greeted by a lengthy stretch of long-term moorings on the left and rowing clubs on the right, but one finally emerges at Jesus Green Lock, with visitor moorings below the weir (probably about 5 boatlengths (10 if breasted)). There was a space so we moored, shut down, stripped (yes, then dressed again in dry clothes), then had lunch. The rain continued until mid-afternoon. When the sun came back out, 'catering' decided a quick walk to Sainsbury's was required, otherwise a quiet afternoon.

13.33 miles 2 locks 4.12 hrs 3.72 lmph

Thursday 9th August ~ Little Thetford (en route to St Neots, via Cambridge & Bedford)

A very light drizzle in the early hours didn't require portglasses replaced or doors closed, but freshened the air considerably. The forecast was for the precipitation to continue and increase during the day. 'Housekeeping' decided that a day on chores was needed so we stayed put.

Rain did indeed increase, and continued through into the evening ........

Wednesday 8th August ~ Ely to Little Thetford (en route to St Neots, via Cambridge & Bedford)

No more rain overnight, but slightly cooler today, with increased wind.

Had noted yesterday that fuel was starting to get low so had made enquiries from Pat & Sheila on "Fair Fa' " as they knew the area. Most of the local marinas do not accept self-declaration (its 60/40 or nothing). Little Ouse Moorings had been closed on Sunday when we passed (or we would have taken then), the other alternative was Westview Marina at Earith. With slightly further to go, 1 lock and marginally dearer at Earith, we elected to return to Little Ouse Moorings.

Let go and returned downstream (again!) back to Brandon Creek Junction and turned right. A five minute run brought us to Little Ouse Moorings where a boat was awaiting fuelling. We fuelled next (but they had no 6kg gas), and by the time we had finished, there was a queue of 5 boats waiting. We winded right at the moorings (tight squeeze for a 60', but possible), and returned to the Great Ouse and back upstream. Stopped off at the service berth in Ely for loo and water. The boat which fuelled ahead of us was there first, but they couldn't get properly onto the berth for a pumpout as a cruiser had moored on the water berth. We managed to service over the top of them while they waited. We eventually left them debating whether to continue to wait or move elsewhere.

We continued out the southwest side of Ely, looking for a suitable berth for the night. The first EA mooring on the map didn't appear to exist, but we found the long one at Little Thetford and tied up for the night.

21.79 miles 0 locks 5.17 hrs 4.22 lmph

Tuesday 7th August ~ Ely (en route to St Neots, via Cambridge & Bedford)

Pat took a walk for shopping in the morning then, after lunch aboard, she went to the museum (not my cup of tea, I'm afraid). Generally quiet day for me, pottering at the maps. We got a little rain after dinner, but nothing like what the forecast had suggested.

Monday 6th August ~ Littleport (station road) to Ely (en route to St Neots, via Cambridge & Bedford)

Nice quiet mooring overnight, even the trains passed quietly. Another hot morning, though. Moved off and continued the 15 mins to the "Swan" mooring to take water. Waved to "Fair Fa' " as they passed us, then pulled out astern once we finished watering. Continued upstream for Ely. Spoke briefly with Raymond & Jane on "Kathleen Margaret" - they were waiting for the services berth - then moored alongside "Fair Fa' " at the Jubilee Gardens, the only space left!

Lunch aboard, then a walk to the Cathedral and around the town.

5.69 miles 0 locks 1.65 hrs 3.46 lmph

Sunday 5th August ~ Brandon to Littleport (station road) (en route to St Neots, via Ely, Cambridge & Bedford)

Another hot day in prospect. Church at Brandon Methodist (preacher is ex-merchant navy, and he had a nautical theme), then back to "Paws". Let go immediately and headed downstream again, lunch on the move. Uneventful trip out, but waved to Peter & Jean inbound on "Arachne". Arrived back at the Great Ouse and turned left, upstream. Decided that we could go a little further than the moorings at the junction, so continued on as far as the Station Road moorings at Littleport where we squeezed in. Still very hot, and grateful for the evening breeze.

16.66 miles 0 locks 4.53 hrs 3.68 lmph

Saturday 4th August ~ Brandon (en route to St Neots, via Ely, Cambridge & Bedford)

Over breakfast, watched a kingfisher flying up and down presumably between nest and fishing ground. The initially cloudy sky quickly burned back for a hot morning. Took our walk into the centre of Brandon - nice little town, with a good selection of coffee-shops and eateries, Tesco and Aldi providing the supermarket presence. Back to "Paws" for lunch, and a quiet afternoon.

Unfortunately, the late afternoon became anything but quiet, with a small group of kids with no apparent "adult supervision", came round and parked right at our stern. I had already "made the aquaintance" of the two boys when they had stuck their heads in through an open porthole earlier and asked if I smoked! This time, the two girls with them sat on the quay shouting and swearing and making references to certain contraceptive items allegedly floating in the water, while the boys were swimming. When they were told to leave (or "authority" would be invoked), they involved the mystery "adult supervision" who had a go at me despite the fact the kids were breaking about every rule of the locality. Such a shame when society ends up in this inverted sense of morality.

Cloud increased again during the afternoon, giving a cooler evening.

Friday 3rd August ~ Littleport (Swan) to Brandon (en route to St Neots, via Ely, Cambridge & Bedford)

Caught up with John & Jan before we both left the berth, "Jubilee" upstream heading for Ely, us downstream heading for Brandon Creek. After about 45 mins, turned right into Brandon Creek. Initially quite leafy at the banksides, with a lot of moored boats, much narrower (obviously) than the Great Ouse, but still with plenty of depth. Once clear of the moored boats, had no trouble keeping up to the speed limit of 4 mph. After about an hour, the river widened and the bankside vegetation petered out as the river runs past the RSPB Lakenheath Fen reserve. Noted a lot of birdlife in the area including lapwing (getting rare in certain parts of the UK), a possible sighting of a bittern in flight, grey plover, little egret, kestrel. We also saw a (scientific) small-mammal trap at the bank edge (wonder if anything was inside). In the final hour, the river got very narrow with reeds, and much shallower. It eventually opened onto the weir and the entrance to Brandon Lock. The lock is only 40 foot long so we can go no further, but we can say we have been to our easternmost point on the connected waterway system (0° 37' E). We winded and moored at the EA visitor mooring below the lock and took a walk into town.

On our way in, we stumbled across a Methodist Church so decided on the spur to stay an extra day and go to the service on Sunday. Did our couple of items shopping and returned to "Paws" to cool off. It has been a very hot day. Hopefully tomorrow morning will be a little cooler and we'll take advantage for our walk. Quite a few people taking advantage of the water by swimming and paddling near the weir and mooring - probably not very safe, but they were obviously cooler than us .

Noted that "Chyandour" was now on the move - they have the same tracker  as us and are coming to St Neots as well.

17.41 miles 0 locks 5.00 hrs 3.48 lmph

Thursday 2nd August ~ Ten Mile Bank to Littleport (Swan) via Ely (en route to St Neots, via Ely, Cambridge & Bedford)

Another night of being live food for the bugs! Took longer than planned to be ready to move, but got there. Let go and headed upstream. Lovely cool breeze. Passed the end of Brandon Creek (heading up there tomorrow) and continued through Littleport. Saw a kestrel hunting over the bank - it didn't catch anything while we were watching, and finally took a rest sitting on one of the linesmen's steps at the top of a telegraph pole. Continued on past the end of the River Lark (may go for a look up there in a few days if time permits). Noted Ely Cathedral , visible from quite a distance - we'll visit properly when we get back to Ely. Moored up to clear the loo, then moved along one berth to allow shopping and getting the urgently needed mail. When all done, let go again and returned downstream. Very little flow on the river today, only a difference of 0.2 mph between going upstream and downstream for the same revs. Found space on the EA mooring opposite the "Swan on the River" pub at Littleport - took it in case the ones further on were full. Very hot by this time so glad to stop anyway. Just before dinner John & Jan arrived, mooring ahead of us (didn't chat as they were in a hurry to meet friends for dinner).

17.15 miles 0 locks 3.92 hrs 4.38 lmph

Wednesday 1st August ~ Ten Mile Bank (en route to St Neots, via Ely, Cambridge & Bedford)

Much cooler night, with a very pleasant fresh breeze. Lazy start, then planning meeting. Decided to stay put for the day and, since there was a very convenient water point at the end of the berth, we'd wash the boat from top to bottom. Took most of the day to remove the dust, dirt, tree droppings, pidgeon and squirrel droppings etc, but got there. If we get a chance we'll do a polish before getting to St Neots. Expecting mail from home so will take a run to Ely tomorrow before heading up Brandon Creek (we'll go back and explore Ely later in the week). Saw Jane & Raymond passing on "Kathleen Margaret".

After the morning cloud burned off, another hot day, but the cool breeze made it more bearable.

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