It’s been too hectic to blog over the last few weeks, and now I find myself with a lot to catch up on!
I left Kilby Bridge in the company of nb Skean Dhu, with two guys on it delivering it to Brentford for a friend. Their throttle handle had jammed when they were about to set off, and I loaned them some tools to sort it out – then we travelled in convoy for the next few days. We went to Foxton Bottom Lock, struggling a bit in the shallow water due to a leaking culvert, and moored overnight. In the Foxton Locks Inn, I met Barrie Hayward, former deputy director of BAS… small world!
The lock-keepers were running water down the Foxton staircase overnight, and all the side ponds and run-off channels were alive with water – it looked like a formal water garden on a massive scale.
We ascended the staircase without incident, had a bacon sandwich and plodded on to Crick. The following day we had to descend the Watford staircase (as in Watford Gap, rather less pleasant than Foxton as it’s next to the M1) and were delayed by an hour waiting for boats to come the other way. I moored at Whilton overnight and said farewell to the Skian Dhus.
From Whilton I went on to Gayton Junction, filled up with diesel and descended the Northampton Arm – feeling very much like familiar territory now. Over the next few days I descended the Nene to Peterborough without too much incident apart from the fan belt breaking just as I left Wansford on the final morning – fortunately it was easy enough to nudge into the bushes before the engine overheated and replace the offending belt – always carry a spare one!
At Stanground the lock-keeper remembered me, and my journey through the Middle Levels was considerably easier than on the way out! I moored overnight at March and then at Salter’s Lode for an early tide on the morning of the 6th. I picked up Mike at Littleport and we cruised on to Ely. Now, our journey beyond Ely was blocked by Bottisham Lock, which was having emergency repairs. I had to be away the following week, so Innocenti spent a week in Cathedral Marina. Following my return, I went to Waterbeach to catch up with friends there, and then called the Cam Conservancy to find that the final lock, Bait’s Bite, had reopened. I found my previous mooring unoccupied, and tied up.
The total for the trip was 909 miles, 648 locks, 543 litres of diesel, 5 gas cylinders and 132 rashers of bacon!