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BenJames

Cambridgeshire Continuous Cruising

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Hello everyone,

 

Is there anyone on here who does continuous cruising around the Cambridge area. I am thinking the rivers Cam, Great Ouse, Lark, Little Ouse, Wissey and Nene.?

I am looking for any info such as low bridges, temporary mooring spots, places to get water and pump-outs, places to get supplies (coal, red diesel), any other info. Are there a lot of continuous cruisers along these rivers? Is there a community of people with a website (such as the London Boaters Group)?

just touching base really as this is the area I am looking at cruising by summer and would like to get to know people doing this already as I am new to it but have my heart set on it.

Any info would be appreciated and Hi to everyone on here.

:)

A little about me: I am 42 years old and single but met people cruising in London and loved the idea. I have a brother in Haverhill and a brother in Diss although we never lived there growing up, they both married Suffolk girls. I am getting money in a few weeks and have my eye on a couple of boats although I am thinking of going down the GRP route so I dont have to finance the boat.

Ben 

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Theoretically it is possible to Cc except that the Nene and the Upper Ouse add subject to serious flooding which may limit your winter cruising. 

EA moorings are only 48 hours all year round so you will have to move more often than on the Canals. A lot of the River Bank is 45 disagree bank which may make causal mooring difficult. Mooring on the Little Ouse, Lark and Wissey probably more difficult than the main  river and you will need extra licence for the Cam, cowherd mooring equally difficult. 

Water and Elsan in the Nene are few and far between. More water taps on the Ouse from Ely down but for not so many on the upper part, but it is excepted practice to fill and empty for free at marinas. 

So mot so easy as the Canals but a lot of boats do it. And get moaned about. 

Join GOBA and FOTRN to be able to use their moorings with an easier conscience. 

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1 hour ago, pearley said:

 A lot of the River Bank is 45 disagree bank.

This is a bank which is a disagreeable mooring.

 

 you will need extra licence for the Cam, cowherd mooring equally difficult.

NBTA are currently trying to include cowherders as a descriminated minority like the western K&A bridgehoppers and the Hackney Springer owners

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Hi Pete,

Do people really moan about the people mooring on the river? That is surprising. Do they complain to you directly and ask you to move?

Which canals are you talking about? I used the map here (https://www.waterways.org.uk/boating/route_planning/canal_map). Are you talking about the canals around March and Yaxley?

Ben

Also, what is cowherding? Is that mooring alongside other people?

Ben

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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.

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Come on over, its a great network of rivers to explore.  Its perfectly possible to CC.  Join GOBA and use their moorings along with the EA ones although don't expect to be anywhere near civilization.  Wild mooring is always an option with a bit of common sense and respect for land owners - it can also be a bit shallow in places.  I've been boating on the Ouse for the last twenty years and have never had a problem finding somewhere to moor.

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11 hours ago, matty40s said:

NBTA are currently trying to include cowherders as a descriminated minority like the western K&A bridgehoppers and the Hackney Springer owners

And so they should. With the growth of mega dairies requiring fewer staff what are these skilled cowherders too do. Go casual? 

How does predictive text change casual to cowherd? 

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47 minutes ago, OldPeculier said:

Come on over, its a great network of rivers to explore.  Its perfectly possible to CC.  Join GOBA and use their moorings along with the EA ones although don't expect to be anywhere near civilization.  Wild mooring is always an option with a bit of common sense and respect for land owners - it can also be a bit shallow in places.  I've been boating on the Ouse for the last twenty years and have never had a problem finding somewhere to moor.

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!).

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2 minutes ago, pearley said:

How does predictive text change casual to cowherd? 

It generally picks up on your viewing habits and assumes you are continuing in the same vein - what have you been viewing ?

  • Happy 1

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15 hours ago, BenJames said:

Hello everyone,

 

Is there anyone on here who does continuous cruising around the Cambridge area. I am thinking the rivers Cam, Great Ouse, Lark, Little Ouse, Wissey and Nene.?

I am looking for any info such as low bridges, temporary mooring spots, places to get water and pump-outs, places to get supplies (coal, red diesel), any other info. Are there a lot of continuous cruisers along these rivers? Is there a community of people with a website (such as the London Boaters Group)?

just touching base really as this is the area I am looking at cruising by summer and would like to get to know people doing this already as I am new to it but have my heart set on it.

Any info would be appreciated and Hi to everyone on here.

:)

A little about me: I am 42 years old and single but met people cruising in London and loved the idea. I have a brother in Haverhill and a brother in Diss although we never lived there growing up, they both married Suffolk girls. I am getting money in a few weeks and have my eye on a couple of boats although I am thinking of going down the GRP route so I dont have to finance the boat.

Ben 

I did not realise that the air draft under bridges was different for continuous cruisers, compared with non-continuous ones . . . :)

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Just now, Mike Todd said:

I did not realise that the air draft under bridges was different for continuous cruisers, compared with non-continuous ones . . . :)

Ccers have more crap on board, hence lower in the water:)

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scholargypsy.

That is great info, Thanks. Is your talk in the evening? If so, I will definitely try and make my way there. Where is it being held?

I would like to know of these out of the way places for mooring that you mentioned. I kind of assumed I could just travel up the river and hammer a few pins in and moor up for two weeks then trek back and move my car. It may be harder than I thought.

To be honest I am hoping for places somewhat remote. I have been  in London too long. As long as I can find work that isn't too  far by car then I am happy. 

I will do some research on the places you have told me about so far. Would a grp boat, say a 26ft have any problems a long these canals with low bridges for instance?

Thanks for all the comments guys. I appreciate it.

Ben

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37 minutes ago, pearley said:

And so they should. With the growth of mega dairies requiring fewer staff what are these skilled cowherders too do. Go casual? 

How does predictive text change casual to cowherd? 

BBC Southwest carried an item yesterday about one farmer (actually two in partnership) who have developed a system for milking cows in the fields where they are grazing. Saves having to build an expensive parlour - although the equipment is quite substantial. If this spreads when EU workers have been abolished, the extensive availability of canal dwellers eager for employment in their place might just persuade more farmers to go down the same route.

6 minutes ago, rusty69 said:

Ccers have more crap on board, hence lower in the water:)

In general, going by unscientific observation, that stuff has an overall density less than that of water so your conclusion should be the opposite. (Apologies for hijacking the thread with my wandering mind . . . just in need of distraction whilst away from the water . . . )

Edited by Mike Todd

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4 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

In general, going by unscientific observation, that stuff has an overall density less than that of water so your conclusion should be the opposite. (Apologies for hijacking the thread with my wandering mind . . . just in need of distraction whilst away from the water . .

I must be more dense than I first thought then. 

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7 minutes ago, BenJames said:

 Would a grp boat, say a 26ft have any problems a long these canals with low bridges for instance?

 

Your reference to 'canals' is the key here.  The area you are talking about is mostly rivers, which is why things are very different from the canal system.  And to answer your question about low bridges, yes there are a few low bridges in the area, notably on the Middle Level, including a couple which are on the route to the Ouse, etc. Can't remember the exact air draft - about 6ft I think.   I love the area, and have spent three summers there.

I'm also amazed (with Scholar Gypsy) that sea toilets are allowed in the Ouse system.  Does this also mean you are allowed to empty your bog overboard?

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1 hour ago, BenJames said:

scholargypsy.

That is great info, Thanks. Is your talk in the evening? If so, I will definitely try and make my way there. Where is it being held?

I would like to know of these out of the way places for mooring that you mentioned. I kind of assumed I could just travel up the river and hammer a few pins in and moor up for two weeks then trek back and move my car. It may be harder than I thought.

To be honest I am hoping for places somewhat remote. I have been  in London too long. As long as I can find work that isn't too  far by car then I am happy. 

I will do some research on the places you have told me about so far. Would a grp boat, say a 26ft have any problems a long these canals with low bridges for instance?

Thanks for all the comments guys. I appreciate it.

Ben

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...
dscf7128.jpg

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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!).

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Technically there is no legislation preventing you from emptying the bog overboard, however you can still be prosecuted for causing poloution.

What this means is that if you have a sea toilet you are likely to be ok any larger single deposit and you could well be done for it.

  • Greenie 1

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4 hours ago, rusty69 said:

Ccers have more crap on board, hence lower in the water:)

But it's often wood on the roof, so higher ...

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5 minutes ago, Iain_S said:

But it's often wood on the roof, so higher ...

.....yeah,but no, but yeah,but most are not higher (hire) boats,so lower.......:)

Edited by rusty69

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22 hours ago, BenJames said:

scholargypsy.

That is great info, Thanks. Is your talk in the evening? If so, I will definitely try and make my way there. Where is it being held?

I would like to know of these out of the way places for mooring that you mentioned. I kind of assumed I could just travel up the river and hammer a few pins in and moor up for two weeks then trek back and move my car. It may be harder than I thought.

To be honest I am hoping for places somewhat remote. I have been  in London too long. As long as I can find work that isn't too  far by car then I am happy

I will do some research on the places you have told me about so far. Would a grp boat, say a 26ft have any problems a long these canals with low bridges for instance?

Thanks for all the comments guys. I appreciate it.

Ben

That might be a bit more difficult - I had assumed you were just on an extended cruise.  Rivers and roads don't often converge out here in the Fens.  Also remember that while there are some footpaths, there is no towpath.  Its still possible tho' I should think.

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I am planning to make it a way of life. I plan to give it a couple of years to see if I like it then maybe get myself a nicer boat.

I don't mind hiking 20 mins to my car to get to work because it will be worth it for the tranquillity of the setting.

Ben

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7 minutes ago, BenJames said:

I am planning to make it a way of life. I plan to give it a couple of years to see if I like it then maybe get myself a nicer boat.

I don't mind hiking 20 mins to my car to get to work because it will be worth it for the tranquillity of the setting.

Ben

I think the points being made are that you are 'wild mooring' against some ones land, you then intend to leave your boat there climb over barbed wire fences, force your way thru hedges, get attacked by cows, and told' get orf my land' by the land owner.

Where there are no fences or hedges there at deep & wide drainage ditches - remember much of the land is at, or below sea level and every field has drainage ditches all around it.

There is no footpath, no tow-path no right of access to any roads and you will be trespassing.

Even trudging 20 minutes across a ploughed field of carrots is heavy going.

Have you actually visited any of the fens ?

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