Adventure 2: Day Six

Thursday, Great Ouse.

A lazy day for the most part. We carried on through the middle levels to Salters Lode Lock, where we had to wait several hours for the tide to be right. The section of river between Salters Lode Lock and the Denver Sluice is tidal, and while it’s not a very long section, you do need to time the transit correctly.

The middle levels through Upwell and Outwell is very narrow, little more than a creek. The waterways equivalent of a single track unpaved road. It’s amazing to think that this little creek is the main, in fact the only, waterway linking the East Anglian waterways (Great Ouse, Cam, and others) to the rest of the country.

The remainder of the middle levels was proper Fen country. The fields had sunk to below the level of the river, leaving our boat as the highest point for miles around.

It took us much longer than expected to get through the lock; we had to wait nearly two hours for some seagoing boats heading for the Wash which took priority. Once through the lock onto the Great Ouse we cruised for an hour before finding moorings and stopping for the night.

There was an alternate route we could have taken which would have been slightly shorter and quicker; down the Hundred Foot Drain instead of the Ouse. Jenny has taken this route before, many years ago in a smaller boat, and said it was fun and exciting, so I vetoed it immediately. ‘Fun’ I can cope with (under certain circumstances and in moderation); ‘Exciting’ is not a term that should ever be used regarding cruising the waterways in a narrowboat.

Tomorrow, all being well, we should make it to Twenty Pence Marina and home.

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