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Saturday September 5th - Cambridge

Friday September 4th – Clayhithe


There was no let up in the windy conditions for the rest of the day yesterday and the boat was still rocking every now and again even after we had gone to bed!  It really was very windy indeed and we were both very glad we had decided to stay put!


Although you can’t really tell from a still photograph I think you can see how choppy the water is and we were moored up at the time!


So we got up bright and early this morning ready to rock and roll.  It was a beautiful sunny morning and Clive decided to put his shorts on and get some more sun on his legs.  I was busy in the galley and had also decided to stay inside for a while and practice my flute.  After a little while there was a plaintive cry from the stern.  I went up to see what the problem was and it was Clive, shivering! He was really chilled because although it was lovely and sunny there was a biting wind.  I dug his fleece out of the wardrobe which, apart from a trip to the laundry for a good wash whilst we were at Buckden, has not been out of the wardrobe for months and months!  His hands were also very cold so I helped him put his gloves on as well – oh dear, does this mean Summer isover already!


I have to say he does look a bit strange, all summery at the bottom and wintry at the top!


We had been cruising for about three hours before I finally came up on deck, with my fleece on, just in time to jump off when we arrived at Bottisham Lock.   It was a very easy lock to work as it was electric at both ends – nice!  I won’t know what’s hit me when we eventually get back onto the canals again!


Whilst I was setting the lock another boater came over to have a chat with Clive.  He informed him that we couldn’t get very much further as there was a fish count in progress downriver and therefore navigation was halted!  So that made the decision as to where to moor for the night – it would have to be Clayhithe as we wouldn’t be able to reach Fen Ditton!  A short while later and we passed The Bridge Hotel at Clayhithe and the moorings are right after it. 


Mooring here was no mean feat I can tell you!  It was still quite breezy and of course we were going downstream.  Clive managed to  pull in and I jumped off with the centre rope – big mistake!  I couldn’t hold her at all, no matter how hardI pulled on the rope the wind and the current were just taking her.  In the end Clive told me to let go of the rope and he put her into reverse to have another run at it.  Whilst I was waiting for him to try again a gentleman turned up and said he would give us a hand, he had been watching from across the river!  He said “you’ll be off the canals then”?  Er yes!  He then proceeded to tell me how not to try and moor on a river!  He started waving at Clive and shouting at him to come straight into the bank bows first (whichClive was intending to do anyway!) then he grabbed the rope and quickly tied her up.  Clive jumped off the stern as soon as it came into the bank and got the stern rope tied up too – we were in!  I thanked the gentleman for his help and he went home.  I was grateful for his assistance but anybody would think we had never done this before – der!


As we were moored so close to The Bridge we decided to go in for lunch – well why not!  So we toddled back up the tow path and over the road and had a lovely lunch and a wee drink!  Then back to the boat to relax.  We also had a rendezvous with our friend Moyra planned for later.  A couple of weeks ago you will recall we got a lift from Godmanchester to our folk club at the Red Lion, Whittlesford.  Well Moyra managed to get a lift there that evening too but unfortunately she had to leave a short time later and inadvertently left her favourite recorder in the bar!  It was found by the barman who brought it into us and asked if we could look after it for her, which we did.  So about 6.00pm she arrived, with Susie the West Highland Terrier in tow, to collect her beloved recorder.  She also very kindly brought us some of her home grown courgettes, which we are looking forward to enjoying for  tea tomorrow.


We spent a very peaceful night at Clayhithe – lovely mooring (once you’re tied up that is!).


Saturday September 5th – Cambridge


Once again we were up bright and early this morning and were actually on our way at 8.30am! It was once again bright and sunny and a lot warmer than yesterday, thank goodness!  


About half an hour after we set off we arrived at Baits Bite Lock.  Once again it was a very easy lock, being electrified at both ends – I could really get used to this!  As I was waiting for the lock to empty I noticed there was quite a lot of boating activity up ahead – the rowers were out in force!  There were single craft, double craft and eights all zipping up and down the river.  Also people whizzing up and down the towpath on bicycles shouting instructions to the crews through megaphones!  We finally got through the melee and then a short time later an all girl crew suddenly shot past us! 

It’s a bit embarrassing being overtaken by rowers!


Before long we reached the outskirts of Cambridge and as we were passing Stourbridge Common I was delighted to see a herd of cattle grazing there.  In Cambridge City there are several areas of grassland. Some are commons, some are pieces and some are greens.  The commons often have cattle grazing on them and this practice dates back to the 12th century.  However in recent years there had been a decline in this practice, mainly due to BSE, but a couple of years ago a local vet introduced a small herd of Red Poll steers back onto the common and that is the breed of the cattle we have here today.


In a very short time we were cruising into Cambridge itself and keeping our fingers crossed that there would be a mooring.  There was! What a relief.  Before we moored up however we pulled in to fill up with water at the water point then that done we just pootled over to the other side of the river and moored up.

Here we are, just in front of the weir at Jesus Lock.




A little while after we had got settled in I  was sitting in the dinette working on the laptop when I was aware of something big outside the riverside window – I looked up and there was the Riverboat Georgina, her bows absolutely filling the window as she turned to head off the other way on one of her daily cruises.  I have to say her Captain did an admirable job of turning her without touching us at all and it was very close!  Mind you, Georgina is fitted with bow-thrusters, which make all the difference!

How close!


So here we are then happily ensconced in Cambridge and ready for Brian’s gig tomorrow night, which we are really looking forward to. 






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