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Scholar Gypsy

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Scholar Gypsy last won the day on April 1 2014

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About Scholar Gypsy

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  • Occupation
    Civil Servant
  • Boat Name
    Scholar Gypsy
  • Boat Location
    Ely, River Great Ouse

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  1. Narrowboat at sea adventure

    Ouch! The pitching motion looks much worse than the rolling. I think the point about stability is that as a narrowboat rolls, the centre of the upthrust moves sideways, towards the side that is deepest in the water. (Archimedes principle etc) and this causes the boat to level out. This is not the case with eg a sailing boat which is basically closer to a cylinder shape, and the weighted keel is the only thing that keeps it upright. To put it another way, in this over-simplified view of the world: when a NB rolls to the right, the upthrust moves, to the right of the centre of gravity of the boat, on the centre line. The moving upthrust tips it back up when a sailing boat rolls to the right, the upthrust remains through the centre line of the boat, but the centre of gravity moves to the left (due to the movement of the heavy keel), and that stops the boat tipping over too far.
  2. River Nene

    It's lovely - take your time. There may be a bit more traffic this year en route to the festival in St Ives. It's very important to register with the EA for their flood alerts - text/email warnings of when the river is in flood, and then is closed to navigation. At some locks they still (I believe) use them as sluices ie chain open the top gates and then open the guillotine (called "reversing", for some reason I don't fathom). Navigating the lock in this state is not a good idea .... I can't find a photo, but here is one of the simialar procedure on the Great Ouse (Houghton). You can just see one of the bottom gates on the right, open.
  3. Cambridgeshire Continuous Cruising

    One can pack them in, with a bit of care.
  4. Traveling on a canal at night?

    Each to their own, of course. And I do have quite a bright nav light now (LED). I should have said that when getting on and off the boat, or working locks, I normally have some extra lighting on (my new headtorch is good, otherwise the searchlight controlled from the back of the boat), not least so I can see where I am putting my feet etc.
  5. Interesting details from the bottom of a lock.

    Thanks, very interesting pictures. I wonder if those recesses were part of the original design, or were introduced later in response to scouring of the wall, and/or narrowboaters complaining about the turbulence.
  6. Cambridgeshire Continuous Cruising

    A possible middle way would be to look at some of the moorings that enterprising landowners have put in place, eg half way up the Lark, near Stretham pumping station. They are pretty basic (though some of the latter do have hookup) but do have road access. No idea re price, but you could do that for a bit, while you do some exploring and find a friendly farmer. There are a number of single boats that are moored at the end of a field, very remote, and have been there for several years, so presumably with landowner's permission.
  7. Traveling on a canal at night?

    Strongly agree. My last night trip was on the Cam and Ely Ouse, lit by only nav lights and the moon. I find a spotlight or searchlight disorienting, actually, and it adversely affects your own night vision (as well as people coming the other way!). If anything a canal has "harder" edges than a river, so it's even easier to spot the water's edge.
  8. Cambridgeshire Continuous Cruising

    On sea toilets, yes I think this does mean that you are allowed to empty your Elsan into the river. I've no idea how many people do. I guess the amount of bird and cow poo in the river rather swamps any human contribution.... What you mustn't do is add any chemicals to your loo beforehand - ie adding raw sewage is fine, but Elsan blue is not. It's also rather frowned on in some of the smaller channels eg the Cambridgeshire Lodes. The last boat I discussed this issue with had a pump out, with a valve after the macerator that could divert the output either into the holding tank or direct into the river (just forward of the propellor, for further dispersal!).
  9. Cambridgeshire Continuous Cruising

    Yes, talk is Tuesday 20th at 7, for 7.30 start, Venue – 2 Kingdom Street, Paddington Central W2 6BD. Easily accessible from the canal towpath on Paddington basin - just exit via the Circle/H&S line exit at the side of Paddington station. https://www.waterways.org.uk/branches_regions/london/london_region Not usually a problem with low bridges, although there is a bit of a tendency to put bridges over locks in the Fens, which can make it a bit challenging in flood conditions. There aren't many bridges anyway.... This is Hermitage lock in flood conditions. I nearly had to go through backwards...
  10. Cambridgeshire Continuous Cruising

    Rereading my post above, i think it may come over as a bit negative, which was not intended. As OldPeculier says, there are lots of places to moor. It's just very very remote - which is why I love it. Facilities are pretty sparse, for example my weekend trip (4 hours to the head of the Lark) you pass one redundant church, and that's about it. There is a good pub at the other end (Jude's Ferry) and there must be a village shop somewhere within a mile or so. Elsan emptying needs a bit of planning, unless you want to convert to sea toilet mode (which amazingly is still allowed!).
  11. Cambridgeshire Continuous Cruising

    Hi, I keep my boat (on a mooring) in Ely, but have cruised most of the Fenland system. The photos on my blog may help (or if you are based in London come to my talk at the IWA meeting in Paddington on Tuesday 20th February!). In general CCing is rather harder work than on the canal system. It's probably sensible to look separately at 1) Nene. As noted above risk of flooding. Quite a few places to moor (here is a good source: http://noproblem.org.uk/blog/nene/) 2) Middle Level. Facilities and official moorings very limited, and short term. There are some places where you could wild moor, but the landowner may ask you to move. 3) Ely Ouse and tributaries. Some EA and GOBA moorings, but all 48 hours. Not many boats. Ely visitor moorings are now being enforced properly. I can think of a couple of NBs who do CC, but tend to moor in very out of the way places, not causing any bother. I would avoid Cambridge - really only any good for day trips, though the extra licence is cheap (about £30 for 90 days use in 365). 4) Bedford Ouse (Earith to Bedford). More flood risk, more boats, fewer moorings and fewer wild ones I would say. On the other hand better rail links (Huntingdon, St Neots, Bedford). Are you going to get a Gold licence? By wild moorings, I mean those not owned/run by the Environment Agency, GOBA (a bargain at £30 - they produced the Google map linked above), or some of the local councils. Provided you don't do anything stupid like mooring at the bottom of someone's garden, there are lots of places where there are no "no mooring" signs, and where mooring is feasible. But the majority is private land and so you can be asked to move. There have been some cases eg on the Nene where people have abused the site, staying too long and leaving rubbish etc on the bank, and the landowner then puts up no mooring signs. Cogenhoe on the Nene was one example, though I understand the farmer is fine with short term and sensible visitors. If you want a guide book, Imrays is probably the best (though with some idiosyncracies). Hope that helps.
  12. Old Bedford River & the MLC

    My Imrays map (of the whole system) certainly shows the Counter Drain being navigable for a distance south of WD. I will check it later. The names are confusing - the eastern channel seems to start out at Earith as the Old Bedford river and then turn into the River Delph. The western one starts as the counter drain and then becomes the Old Bedford. This is presumably because when the dam was built, it split the OB into two channels, as above ?
  13. Places with a bad reputation that don't deserve it

    I've read about needing handcuff keys on some canals, maybe they can help with that too?
  14. CRT Not To Get EA Navigations, Yet

    All good points. Much of the debate on the Ouse - and I think the main reason why GOBA, the main boating group, supported transfer to CRT - is over shoaling, dredging, and people damaging outdrives by running aground. The hundred foot is also getting quite shallow... Whether transfer to CRT would improve the situation is not clear to me ....