Sunday, 10 August 2014

Onto The Middle Levels

3 Mobile Internet signal is pretty dire round these parts so the blog's a bit behind the times.....sorry

After the fiasco with the mouse, we finally left Peterborough on Wednesday. We'd booked to go through Stanground Lock onto the Middle Levels a.k.a The Fens. The lock keeper sold us a special windlass and key which were needed for Ashline and Marmont Priory Locks and gave us a couple of "free" guides to the area.

The Middle Levels are basically drainage ditches which provide irrigation, land drainage and flood protection to The Fens and date back to the 1600's when they were designed and built by a Dutchman called Vermuyden. It's a flat, windy place as can be seen by the many, many wind turbines which border the waterway.

The only landmark we saw was this line of electricity pylons stretching as far as the eye could see.

 We crossed the Greenwich Meridian

saw this happy chappy a couple of times

When we got to March the channel is extremely overgrown by willow trees. We had to sound our horn as the skipper of this boat couldn't see us and was heading straight for us.

We pulled over to the first set of visitor moorings we came across and moored beside the park. The local kids came down for a swimming lesson later. Their idea of teaching one of the teenagers to swim was to throw his shoes into the middle of the river and then make him jump in and "swim" to fetch them. Not ideal, but after half an hour he was swimming doggy paddle. He'd got quite badly grazed when getting out onto the concrete pontoon so I gave him some antiseptic wipes. His girlfriend was worried he'd catch Aids from the water, which is a pretty sad state of affairs that by their age they don't know how that disease is caught!

March is a pretty town with floral displays everywhere we went.

We had a couple of beers in The Ship Inn which is above the main town moorings.

On Friday there was a HUGE thunderstorm which caused flash flooding in the town. We were in Sainsbury's when it started and took shelter in The Ship for a couple of hours in the hope that the rain would stop long enough for us to get back to the boat. When the pub started flooding and the river bank and road outside the pub started collapsing we decided to make a dash for it back to the boat. We got soaked to the skin but the boat was fine. The water level went up by about a foot over the next hour but then dropped again just as quickly. The storm hadn't put a stop to the swimming lessons and the kids were back again in the evening. This time they were jumping into the river from the footpath above.

When we left the town on Saturday morning the full extent of the damage was evident. The moorings will be out of use for quite a while I should think.

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