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EAst Anglia Visit

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As part of our summer outing this year we are planning to visit the River Nene, Middle levels and River Great Ouse to Bedford and also visiting Cambridge.

 

I have been perusing various guides and websites and it seems there is a lot I may not have got right! We aim to arrive at Northampton in mid July and leave there again about 4 weeks later.

 

As far as I can see:

 

We will be able to get a 31 day EA visitor licence for Nene + Ouse at Gayton Marina when we pass through there?

 

We will also be able to get at Gayton Marina an EA key for certain locks on the Nene which I think will also be able to be used on the Ouse as well?

 

I'm uncertain whether we will also need special windlasses for the Nene and maybe another for the Ouse, if so would these be available at Gayton?

 

We need to give 24 hrs? notice to Staneground lock and Salters Lode/Denver locks.

 

I might have missed other keys etc?

 

In the out direction between Staneground and Earith we plan to use a route between Staneground and Salters Lode via Benwick, Ramsey and the Forty and Sixteen foot drains and Popham's Eau. And the more usual route via March on the return.

 

We were also thinking of using the New Bedford River between Salters Lode and Earith on either the out or return leg from Bedford (if Denver lock advise Tides are suitable). Or are we better off avoiding this and use and enjoy the Ouse in both directions?

 

We would appreciate any helpful advice on this

 

Mick

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As part of our summer outing this year we are planning to visit the River Nene, Middle levels and River Great Ouse to Bedford and also visiting Cambridge.

 

I have been perusing various guides and websites and it seems there is a lot I may not have got right! We aim to arrive at Northampton in mid July and leave there again about 4 weeks later.

 

As far as I can see:

 

We will be able to get a 31 day EA visitor licence for Nene + Ouse at Gayton Marina when we pass through there?

Yes but check the marina is open - it shuts two days a week (poss Monday and Tuesday)

 

We will also be able to get at Gayton Marina an EA key for certain locks on the Nene which I think will also be able to be used on the Ouse as well?

Yes - called an Abloy key and undoes the guillotine gates; you might consider getting two as it's small and easily lost!

I'm uncertain whether we will also need special windlasses for the Nene and maybe another for the Ouse, if so would these be available at Gayton?

No but you will need a special windlass for the Middle Level locks available at Stanground

 

We need to give 24 hrs? notice to Staneground lock and Salters Lode/Denver locks.

Yes but they are friendly and try to be helpful – if you're late/early call them up

 

I might have missed other keys etc?

 

In the out direction between Staneground and Earith we plan to use a route between Staneground and Salters Lode via Benwick, Ramsey and the Forty and Sixteen foot drains and Popham's Eau. And the more usual route via March on the return.

A couple of pretty low bridges on the route to Ramsey and the Forty Foot. Personally I'd go straight through as the 40 and 16ft are not the most exciting waterways and moorings are limited

 

We were also thinking of using the New Bedford River between Salters Lode and Earith on either the out or return leg from Bedford (if Denver lock advise Tides are suitable). Or are we better off avoiding this and use and enjoy the Ouse in both directions?

I'd go the Gt Ouse both ways - as far as I know the NB is pretty straight again and can have issues with bridge heights and water depths but I've not used it. OTOH Ely is a lovely place to visit with bags of moorings and the tributaries off the lower Gt Ouse, Wissey & Lark are well worth a visit (more so than the Forty Foot!). Go to Prickwillow fen pumping engine museum.

 

We would appreciate any helpful advice on this

 

Also consider joining GOBA - Great Ouse Boating Association who have lots of bankside moorings (decent number of proper EA moorings on the Gt Ouse too)

 

Mick

Edited by starman

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a standard windlass fits all the locks on the nene

you will require an abloy key which can be got from gayton or billing aquadrome

the licence again can be got at either

 

Stanground (note no E), Ashline, marmont priory and salters lode are under the control of the middle level commissioners and it is advisable to contact Stanground at least the day before with an estimated time of arrival.

the lock keepers are all really helpful if you show respect and heed their advice.

 

take care at Whittlesea the bend is a very sharp right hand and has an underwater obstruction on the north east side a 70ft boat will go round with care (i was the first to do the trip with a full length motor back in the days before Ashline was extended)

 

if you get stuck on the way back off the nene due to flooding just ring the EA and let them know if you are going to overrun your licence they are always helpful.

 

its a 2 long or 3 medium days from beckett's park to Peterborough but a lovely trip either way be careful of irthlingborough bridge if there is a lot of fresh water about.

 

worth having 2 car tyres to hang down your sides for locking as there are low level chains on the walls of nene locks and remember the manual locks empty very quickly (not many left now :lol: )

 

northampton locks are usually OK but beware the youth element that frequent the lower 3 locks an early start from gayton usually avoids them as does an early return.

 

lovely moorings most of the way so long as you can get near enough to the bank!

Edited by hamsterfan

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A couple of things on the Middle Level:

 

Marmont Priory lock near Upwell is manned 9am - 7pm. The keepers are very friendly but like you to telephone about an hour in advance of your arrival. The signs indicate you may lock through yourself but this is not, shall we say, encouraged and as far as the keepers are concerned no traffic can pass through after 7pm.

 

Do not be tempted to take the "short cut" through the Twenty Foot river as one of the bridges is impassable. Also be aware if visiting Ramsey that the public jetty has collapsed with no sign of being repaired. and that turning is difficult.

 

Well Creek through Upwell and Outwell is very narrow and shallow and progress from there to Salters Lode is slow - allow at least three hours. There is a 90 degree bend in the village centre which can be a bit tricky as it is also a public mooring and there is often a lot of debris and rubbish so be prepared for a visit to the weedhatch! Headroom through the town bridge can be a bit tight if you have stuff on the roof of your boat.

 

Salters Lode will NOT accept bookings but you will need to check the opening times as these are tide dependent, normally around 90 mins either side of high tide. The lock keeper has absolute control and decides the order that boats pass through the lock, generally based on whether he can pair boats up, so even if you are there first you may go through last. He also liaises with Denver to arrange your onward passage. There is a sharp right out of Salters Lode towards Denver but beware of mudbanks and tidal currents and pay heed to the lock keepers advice and instruction.

 

If you plan on using the pump out and sanitation facility at March you will need to buy a padlock key at either Stanground or Salters Lode. Be aware the EA moorings immediately you exit Denver by the Jenyns Arms are closed indefinitely. Also, the Jenyns Arms pontoon is also closed (apparently someone fell through and there is a court case pending!)

 

There is a lot of pressure on moorings at Ely at weekends.

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Just as a footnote to the above, if you are using the Imray guide to the Great Ouse note that whilst the book says that Twenty Pence marina is defunct and the Twenty Pence Inn is a great pub it's actually the other way round - the marina is alive and well and the pub has gone!

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The town landing stage at Ramsey has now been completely removed.

 

The 40 and 16 foot are certainly not that interesting I can testify as I did them last week. Warning there are a couple of very low bridges. I am 5'8'' and had to crouch right down for 2 of them.

 

Unless its been dredged around Twenty Penny bridge is VERY shallow. See Here

 

Great eggs at Marmot Priory lock.

 

Watch out for the drunks at Peterbrough town mooring unless they have cleared this up. No real trouble but plenty of them we found. Ferry Meadows Park is a nice place to moor.

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Water taps at Eaton Socon lock and St Neotts Priory moorings were both out of order last week (grrrr !)

 

Be prepared for all sorts of locks, there's some of these

 

IMG_0326.jpg

 

these

 

IMG_0180.jpg

 

these

 

IMG_0348.jpg

 

and even these

 

IMG_0164.jpg

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Further to previous advice, the Nene is a very picturesque river but moorings are limited and toilet facilities almost non existent except at Northampton and Peterborough (where they are free). Northampton, Cogenhoe, Irthlingborough, Fotheringhay are all good, recognised mooring spots at convenient points. Horrible landing jetties at locks and elsehwere are just the wrong height so have a couple of hefty old fenders or tyres.

The Ouse, by contrast, is pretty well served with EA 48 hour jetties in various spots, GOBA moorings - usually bankside in various places - and a good stretch of city centre riverside in Ely (another free pump-out here).

The Middle Level has a public mooring at Whittlesey just before the lock, mooring and pump-out at March (you'll need to buy a key), mooring jetty at Upwell. For a fiver you can also moor at Floods Ferry marina just the P'boro side of March and have a free beer in the bar plus electric o/night. In between there's not a lot!

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We were also thinking of using the New Bedford River between Salters Lode and Earith on either the out or return leg from Bedford (if Denver lock advise Tides are suitable). Or are we better off avoiding this and use and enjoy the Ouse in both directions?

We took the New Beford River to the St Ives National in 2007 as the route via Ely was closed after a deralied train brought a bridge down. I found it a fascinating experience.

 

For the first part, after leaving Salters Lode at around low tide, we made VERY slow progress as there was lots of water coming down. At this time we were well below the level of the banks either side and there was no view.

 

After a while the incoming tide became noticeable, our speed increased, and as the level rose we gained views across the Fens. Large river cruisers may have to watch the headroom at bridges as you get towards high tide, but narrowboats are usually fine.

 

The route is much quicker than going vi Ely, but you do miss the opportunity to visit the city, or to take side trips up the various tributaries.

 

Well Creek through Upwell and Outwell is very narrow and shallow and progress from there to Salters Lode is slow - allow at least three hours. There is a 90 degree bend in the village centre which can be a bit tricky as it is also a public mooring and there is often a lot of debris and rubbish...

... and fishermen at just the worst position!

 

David

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Not too shallow: we never had a problem with Trojan which is fairly deep-draughted (don't know exactly how deep but she has a 22 inch prop). The lowest bridges are at Upwell Church (beware: it's lower at the church end than at the other end) and one as you enter Nordelph. Detach your stove chimney or lose it.

There is a public mooring staithe at Nordelph, right-hand side going towards Salter's Lode, but the pub there has closed for good as the lady who owned it has gone to live in France! If you moor at Salter's Lode you can walk along the bank into the very pleasant town of Downham Market, all facilities as they say in the guide books. It's maybe a mile and a half.

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just a note for anyone thinking of using billing aquadrome.

 

we were up there may day bank holiday. was informed the chandlery was no more, on top of that the robbing gits wanted 7 quid per boat for a short stay.

 

not sure what the situation with fuel is.

 

you will need your nene key before billing to get through weston and clifford hill locks anyway

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The town landing stage at Ramsey has now been completely removed.
What, even the bit at the far end, at right angles to the collapsed length? Is it now impossible to moor at Ramsey, then? This would be a pity. I found it a pleasant town, with a couple of really good pubs, including the one opposite the mooring.

 

Just to add I found it just possible to moor at Ramsey Forty Foot (the village), and the pub was very good and welcoming.

 

Mac

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What, even the bit at the far end, at right angles to the collapsed length? Is it now impossible to moor at Ramsey, then? This would be a pity. I found it a pleasant town, with a couple of really good pubs, including the one opposite the mooring.

The hard bank, on the road side is still available; what has gone is the collapsing/collapsed wooden staging on the other side.

 

MP.

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http://www.goba.org.uk/

 

Costs about £16 but will give you access to lots more moorings on the Ouse

 

 

Then you can join their wonderfully over moderated forum. But seriously the mooring are worth it alone. Although by their own admission they can't police them so...........

 

Biggles

 

The hard bank, on the road side is still available; what has gone is the collapsing/collapsed wooden staging on the other side.

 

MP.

 

 

Any news of its replacement?

 

Biggles

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Any news of its replacement?

I've not enquired. It's pretty marginal to wind Melaleuca there so we've never been. One day we'll risk the long reverse.

 

(I have some photos for you, but it may be a week or so before I can get them to you, Long story......)

 

MP.

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Thanks all for these helpful replies. We are 57 foot so am a bit concerned about visiting Ramsey, especially if we can't moor up! Will probably give it a go! Thanks also for the GOBA advice

 

Mick

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Thanks all for these helpful replies. We are 57 foot so am a bit concerned about visiting Ramsey, especially if we can't moor up! Will probably give it a go! Thanks also for the GOBA advice

 

Mick

 

Moor at Bill Fen Marina and it's a ten minute walk down the track into town (Tesco is at the end of the track if you need it). Phone the marina and they'll almost certainly be able to find you a slot overnight. Also have pump-out & diesel.

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Thanks all for these helpful replies. We are 57 foot so am a bit concerned about visiting Ramsey, especially if we can't moor up! Will probably give it a go! Thanks also for the GOBA advice

 

Mick

 

We winded Earnest (58ft 6ins) at Ramsey with no problems. As others have said there is piled mooring opposite the collapsed staging. In 2001 we braved the (no so) collapsed staging :lol:

http://www.tuesdaynightclub.co.uk/Tour_01/fen27.html

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This trip is turning out to be one of our most enjoyable. The Nene was idyllic - so rural and peaceful - with only about 5 boats on the move encountered each day and the varietyof locks that were new to us; and the EA pump outs are free of charge! We are moored at Outwell on the Middle levels today having spent a couple of nights in Bill Fen Marina at Ramsey. The Middle Levels have been even quieter than the Nene.

 

Thanks again for all the helpful advice which has proved very useful.

 

We hope to be going onto the River Great Ouse via the New Bedford River this coming Tuesday - locking through Salters Lode at 6.30am to catch the tide. Then on to Bedford before returing home via Cambridge and Ely, the GU, Oxford Canal and the Thames to Brentford.

 

Mick

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Ah yes, we saw your boat! We live in nearby Upwell and have a wee Springer moored at the end of our garden. Say hi on your way back!

Mike

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This trip is turning out to be one of our most enjoyable. The Nene was idyllic - so rural and peaceful - with only about 5 boats on the move encountered each day and the varietyof locks that were new to us; and the EA pump outs are free of charge! We are moored at Outwell on the Middle levels today having spent a couple of nights in Bill Fen Marina at Ramsey. The Middle Levels have been even quieter than the Nene.

 

Thanks again for all the helpful advice which has proved very useful.

 

We hope to be going onto the River Great Ouse via the New Bedford River this coming Tuesday - locking through Salters Lode at 6.30am to catch the tide. Then on to Bedford before returing home via Cambridge and Ely, the GU, Oxford Canal and the Thames to Brentford.

 

Mick

 

Aha, we passed you today. I thought the boat was familiar, but only twigged just now when I saw your avatar.

 

You've picked a good time to visit Cambridge, because at most other times of the year it's chockablock with rowing traffic. However, over August that really dies down, so it'll be much less stressful.

 

In terms of Cambridge moorings, it's worth remembering that there's two sets of visitor moorings- one at Jesus lock, which is often full, and also another separate mooring next to the Fort St. George pub in town, just after many of the college boathouses. 12 steps (I counted!) from bar to boat. However, the pumpout it Cambridge is rubbish- it costs £3 a go, and often needs many goes! If you need to, pump out in Ely instead.

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Another great day wth a new boating experence - surfing.

 

We were locked out of Salters Lode onto a River Great Ouse at low tide. We turned up the tidal New Bedford River, travelling about 4mph between the muddy banks, but slowing as the depth of water lessened. Then we saw the incomng tide catching us up from behind like a mini Severn bore. As the wave reached us we temorarily took on a "dive dive dive" attitude until the crest overtook us and we followed it. As we went up the 20 mile straight the depth increased and we settled down and enjoyed the wildlife along the banks (which was pretty much all we could see).

 

Tonight we are moored on a GOBA mooring near St Ives - thanks to the forum advice on joining GOBA for this part of our trip.

 

Mick

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just a note for anyone thinking of using billing aquadrome.

 

we were up there may day bank holiday. was informed the chandlery was no more, on top of that the robbing gits wanted 7 quid per boat for a short stay.

 

not sure what the situation with fuel is.

 

you will need your nene key before billing to get through weston and clifford hill locks anyway

 

I can beat that. Ely Marina wanted 50 quid (that is not a typo) for an overnight mooring. Needless to say I didn't accept. They either didn't want me there or they were having a laugh'

Bill

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