Summer trip (4) – Wisbech to Ely

I’ll start with our morning coffee break on Wednesday 12th – meeting up with Dugald Sandeman, a very recently retired colleague from work, and his wife Wendy. They were on their way back from Cambridge to the Grand Union at Northampton, on their boat GINGER BEAR. Our paths crossed on the embankment in Peterborough.

We looked round each other’s boats, comparing cabin layouts, security arrangements and toilet technologies, and had a good general natter. Dugald seems to be surviving retirement rather well. Wendy’s blog covers our meeting here.DSCF6334 DSCF6338 DSCF6341

Previously, After our trip across the Wash from Boston yesterday, Jane and I (but not the other 3 crew) had got up at 0400, so that we could depart Wisbech at 0430 and get to Dog-in-a-Doublet lock, where the tidal Nene ends, in good time before High Tide.

See chart and log here. The river is slightly devoid of landmarks, so I produced my own photoguide using Google Earth photos. [See the main “Washing resources” page for the latest version]

As usual, captions are before the photographs they refer to.

The tide was coming in quite strongly, so in theory to get safely away from the mooring all I need to do is:

  • put the engine in gear to take the strain off the lines
  • cast off aft, then forward
  • push the bows out a bit
  • ferry glide to port a bit
  • put the tiller over to turn around 180 degrees to port…
  • … using the engine to keep my stern from drifting upstream
  • and then when the turn is nearly complete, powering around the plastic on the pontoons upstream, without hitting any.of it.
  • Oh, and it is DARK.

We shall see …

Tea and bacon & egg butty at 0420 – all ready to go. Navigation lights on.


Leaving Wisbech behind. Rather confusingly, orange streetlights on the right bank and greenish/white lights on the left bank.
No plastic was dented in the making of this photograph.DSCF6276 DSCF6281

Guyhirn road and (ex-) rail bridgesDSCF6283 DSCF6284 DSCF6288

Crossing the Greenwich meridian (0606)



Various dredging and bank re-profiling worksDSCF6291 DSCF6295

A Heron, doing its usual hopping routineDSCF6299

The Kink / Eye just before the Dog. The channel is already getting very narrow (you can see the sloping mud) and shallow.DSCF6306 DSCF6307

The Dog comes into view at 0640 – it would take us an hour to get there. There was a large mud bank about half a mile below the lock. We could only get over this close to high water (at 0740, about 20 mins before High Water). The lock keeper also opened the sluice gates, to send down a few tonnes of fresh water and give us a helping hand.DSCF6309

Over the hump, and the depth increased dramaticallyDSCF6310

Dog-in-a-Doublet lock, the end of the tidal Nene.
Had a good chat with Mick the lock keeperDSCF6314 DSCF6315 DSCF6321 DSCF6322

Narrowboat BEATTY, who we saw briefly at Wisbech the previous day. They  had an interesting trip to the Dog that evening, on a slightly smaller tide. We both took part in Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012.DSCF6330

And then finally, a few shots from the trip through the Middle Level to Denver and thence back to base in Ely. We spent quite a bit of time tidying up, so not many photos. I also took the measurement of the chimney collar, to get a new chimney made to measure.

Matt chilling out with Hugh, before he and Ian
took a taxi back to their car in BostonDSCF6342

Stanground Sluice – entering the Middle Level NavigationsDSCF6344

Whittlesea DykeDSCF6348

A very fine mooring on Beavill’s Leam, close to Angle Corner. A soft bank, so I had to put the pins into the firmer ground at the top and deploy the gangplank.
Several bits of chocolate were left behind here. Shortly after setting off in the morning we passed Christine on KETURA.DSCF6351 DSCF6352 DSCF6362 DSCF6364

March – had lunch with Nick Stuart who was passing the other way.DSCF6371

Upwell – the inscription says “Up-to-date Cottage 1901”DSCF6372

Salters’ Lode, waiting to lock through in the morningDSCF6375

High Tide on Friday 14th – headroom about 3 foot.DSCF6378

Locking up into the Tidal OuseDSCF6386

Denver Sluice – back onto the Great Ouse at last! DSCF6388

And finally, when in Boston we decided to splash out £4.99 on a chrome toilet cleaning device, which will henceforth be known as …

“The Boston Boat Bog Brush”DSCF6390bog_brush

Total trip: 249 miles, 51 locks


2 thoughts on “Summer trip (4) – Wisbech to Ely

  1. Pingback: Summer trip 2015 (1): Fossdyke, Trent and Chesterfield | Scholar Gypsy

  2. Pingback: Summer trip (3) – Boston to Wisbech via the Wash | Scholar Gypsy

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