Sunday, 16 May 2010

About Diesel

We couldn't find anything that helped us work out our fuel capacity and rate of use, so here are our conclusions, based on John's calculations and my length of stick.
My dip stick is marked at 5cm intervals and by measuring before and after journeys plus some clever estimating, John calculates that 1 of these units equals 17.5 litres. He estimates the tank capacity at 200 litres.

A combination of dip stick before and after plus filling the tank from the diesel pump reveals that Patience uses an average of 0.5 litres per mile or 9.3 mpg. This will vary according to speed, winds and current but should hold good for an average journey at 4mph.
Do you agree?

Friday, 14 May 2010

From Lazy Otter to Ely

A short trip, less than 2 hours each way, but a very pleasant one.
We pumped out, watered up and filled with diesel. We saw the wonderful cathedral on the horizon - Galleon of the Fens. We visited the Ely chandelry, our friend Ted Coney, an antiques emporium, and just got back in time for supper after a relaxing day.

Go to Ely for a pleasant trip!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Fuel Consumption

The 18 mile trip from Hemingford Grey back to the Lazy Otter enabled us to estimate our diesel consumption, based on the horizontal cross sectional area of the transom fuel tank (0.35 sq metres) and the drop in height measured by a dipstick. This gave a very approximate figure of about 0.5 litres per mile or 9.3 mpg. The capacity of the tank is estimated to be a little over 200 litres, so Patience has a cruising range of about 400 miles. Does anyone else have fuel consumption figures for narrow boats? [postscript: later figures suggest 8 miles per gallon is nearer the mark for Patience]

The photos show Patience waiting to pass through St. Ives lock and after passing through Hermitage lock. The water on the Old West River was a lot calmer than the exposed tidal section we experienced upstream of Hermitage!

Photos by John

Monday, 3 May 2010

To Hemingfords

Taking advantage of the Bank Holiday weekend we set out on Saturday morning aiming to reach the Hemingfords and return to base. This involves several locks, several waterside pubs and a variety of views along the Great Ouse and Old Western River.
We were also testing out Patience for overnight stays - the first we've had since we took her over at Christmas.
The river to Earith is meandering and the river banks are built up high as flood protection, which can make visibility limited.
Nonetheless it's worth looking out for church spires, windmills and of course the bird life - herons that float lazily away as you approach, swans that sit proudly in pairs, on substantial riverside nests or in groups of 50 or more with last year's cygnets in the flooded margins at Earith and beyond.
Geese of various kinds, terns, grebes, egrets ... they're all here, flourishing and undisturbed.

Flood damage, collision or carelessness? These two are past their best as they cling to each other near Twenty Pence marina.

Approaching St Ives from the east. I thought I knew St Ives but it is very different approaching it from the water. The Dolphin appears after the bridge and on the left, where there are some moorings, but we went on a little and to the tributary on the right after the bridge, where there is a public mooring outside the Norris Museum. Very convenient and close to the town, lots of eating places, the church and a nature reserve.
Next morning, following heavy rain overnight, we had hardly left our St Ives moorings when we chased a long rowing boat to a medieval recreation alongside the river. Tents, open fires, pig roasts, iron tools being made, sword fighting etc. And our old friend councillor Charles Nightingale visiting in his official capacity as Chair of the South Cambs District Council.
Next to The Ferry Boat at Holywell, Needingworth, for a well earned pint then on to Hemingford, a beautiful old village, boasting the oldest continuously inhabited house in England - Lucy Boston's house, author of The Children of Green Knowe. You can see the garden over the wall on the right from our mooring place here.
A pint in the excellent Cock inn which manages to be both a good local pub and an up market restaurant (a tricky balance) while welcoming oddments like ourselves.
With time pressing we head back now rather than press on to Houghton and Godmanchester and with wind and current against us narrowly avoid a scape at a rough mooring by The Ferry Boat (Holywell) to make safe harbour at The Pike and Eel (Needingworth).
A very welcoming place, though surprisingly empty, we force down a pint of Adnams, retire for a rest and a read of the papers, to trot back for an excellent and well priced evening meal. The mooring is very good too, though we imagine more designed for cruisers, and this is the view in the morning just before we set off back to the Lazy Otter.
Four different locks - Earith, St Ives, Brownshill and Hemingford, four pubs and a wealth of experience gained navigating seemingly simple rivers in very squally conditions. Winds and currents that threaten to blow us onshore, three hail storms and combined sun and wind that make my face as pink as a salmon. But it was worth it - a thoroughly enjoyable trip, with many thanks to John for his calm seamanship.