Monday, 1 September 2014

To Bedford and back

We left St Neots on Friday afternoon, continuing our trip on the Great Ouse towards Bedford.

This boat had a grass roof????   It must have been deliberately planted although for the life of me I can't imagine why........

The EA certainly seem to take Health and Safety very seriously and the locks down here are all much better maintained than the C&RT ones.

I know they aren't as old, but all the ladders and hand rails are just so much sturdier than on the canal locks. I'm not convinced the chains are a good thing though and we saw a narrowboat get its fenders caught in them the other day, although quite why they had 4 fenders down each side of the boat in a lock was beyond me..........

We moored at Great Barford on Friday night and nipped into The Anchor pub for a couple of beers. Shortly after I took the photo we were joined by 3 cruisers so the moorings were full for the night. That was a bit of a novelty for us as there's been very little traffic on the river and we've had most of the moorings either to ourselves or with only one other boat on them.

This beautiful thatched cottage was right beside our mooring, although you could only just see it through a gap in the fence. It was the same at the front of the house too as it was hidden from the main road by a high wall and lots of bushes. If you fancy it, it's for sale at £650,000 HERE

On Saturday we continued into Bedford, passing this lovely topiary bush on the way.

Castle Mill Lock is the deepest we've been through for a long while. It's almost 3m deep as you can see from the height of the weir to the right.

It's different to other locks we've been through as the paddles and winding gear are in the middle of the lock, rather than at each end. I suppose that's been done to minimise the turbulence of so much water pouring in to fill it. These locks are wide but wouldn't take 2 narrowboats side by side although most of them are long enough for a narrowboat and a cruiser.

This pyramid is the Oasis Beach Pool complex which is one of the main landmarks that tell you you're close to Bedford. There are GOBA moorings here which makes it a good spot to stop and there's a large Tesco Extra just behind the pyramid.

Bedford Lock has the lowest bridge we've encountered this trip. We've got an aerial right at the front of the roof and we know that if that touches a low bridge we're still OK as the box and solar panels at the stern are a few inches lower.

As with most city centre rivers there's a large colony of juvenile swans in Bedford, although you don't always see a black swan amongst them. We've seen a few this year, although never more than one at a time. It makes you wonder where they came from.

The council moorings are quiet and good, although there's only really room for two narrowboats. We spent Saturday night by ourselves but were joined on Sunday by n.b D'Accord. I like to go out for Sunday lunch as it's a nice break from cooking and washing up and this week we went to The Swan Hotel. Unfortunately they had two large parties in at the same time as us and the service and food were very underwhelming. I just don't understand how they can mess up a basic Sunday roast,  just a choice of two meats, one fish or one hard is that?

After yesterday's sunshine, today has been a bit of a let down and we spent most of sweltering it in waterproofs. It was that really fine drizzle that soaks you but was really too warm to wear them. We're now back in St Neots and we've had a nice orange sunset so hopefully it'll be nice again tomorrow.

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