Saturday, 30 June 2012

Skylarking on the Lark

It's taken us 8 weeks but we have finally taken a cruise up the River Lark. The mouth of the Lark lies about 4 miles north of Ely and it's first 3 or 4 miles are uneventful, being fairly straight and below high flood banks. Our first stop was at Prickwillow to take on water (below). Apart from a very good museum exhibiting water pumps (open Saturday to Tuesday), there is nothing at Prickwillow, not even a shop or a pub. Nice peaceful 48 hr moorings  though.

The river becomes wider just below Isleham Lock where it meanders through some very nice lakes and washlands.

From Isleham Lock (fully mechanised), the narrow river twists and turns through tree lined water meadows until you arrive at Judes Ferry, the extent of the public navigation. The pub, of the same name, obviously decided to design its name sign using a picture of me propelling Skylark through the water with my 3m pole and Kay looking slightly distant and alluring.

The pub has a few moorings (maybe 3, or 4 at a push) at the bottom of the garden overlooking a very tranquil part of the river. Th EA weed cutter (just upstream of us) had been working all day as we had passed a lot of cut vegetation floating in the river. In the photo, you will see the turning point where the blue boat has nosed into and is trying to reverse out into the oncoming current - after about 10 minutes of high engine revs and lots of white water, he did it. I opted to reverse into this little cut the next morning and let the current take the bow around - quietly dignified.

During the evening we were there we watched a kingfisher taking fish to it's nest about 20 feet away from our mooring. I had never seen a Kingfisher so close for so long. While we were watching that, a plop in the water, which we thought was a big fish, turned out to be an otter. What a surprise and a pleasure to see it diving and coming up for air as it searched the river for fish.

The next morning we returned to Ely. On the way there, we stopped at Prickwillow again to meet Mick and Gena who brought our fridge back from the suppliers. It is now working and we can cruise without having to think too much about where we can get fresh milk and the like.

Ely was its usual attractive self. We went to the Maltings for a film evening, to watch 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' a harmless romance with Ewen McGregor (doing a great job standing in for Hugh Grant). It was one of those films you could predict outcome as soon as you saw the opening titles but the nearly full house (and we) enjoyed it.

Earlier on Thursday evening we watched Look East and caught a piece about the ducks and geese in Ely which are spoiling the riverside by the muck they leave. Apparently the East Cams District Council has introduced a Byelaw to stop people feeding them on the riverside in a hope this will help resolve the problem. If they think this is all they need to do, I think it is little short sighted but should help as part of a series of measures. Anyway, to add a little local flavour, Look East interviewed a man who happened to be mooring his boat next to us. He agreed with the need to stop duck feeding on the paths and said anyone who did this should be prosecuted in the same way as people who let their dogs foul public places. A strong view but I could see the point he was making.

The next morning, I was on the roof of Skylark washing off the bird poo (there seemed to have been a flock of swans nesting in the tree above us!), and I watched this very same man walk his own dog across the Jubilee Gardens. As he got to the memorial garden, his dog bent over and pooed and, guess what, Mr Hypocrite, walked on. I guessed he either hadn't noticed this offence against the byelaws or hoped no one else had. I wish I'd had my camera with me because it seemed to me that Mr One-rule-for-me-and-one-rule-for-everyone-else needs to review his own behaviour before he preaches to the tv watching public.

Have a look at the following photos of Ely waterfront. You'll see what East Cams are trying to do and why it's such an attractive place to moor up to for no more than 48 hours and not to return within another 48 hours. (See the Byelaws below).

Perhaps East Cams DC should add a bit about dog poo and feeding the ducks.

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