Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Up with The Lark 1

With a promising weather forecast we planned a 3 day trip up the River Lark to Judes Ferry. Unfortunately John had other commitments, but I was keen to go on - and had an excellent trip in glorious weather.
We set off together from The Lazy Otter, pausing at The Cutter at Ely for lunch, then on into uncharted territory for us, up the Great Ouse which heads north to the Denver Sluices and thence the sea. Here the river is very broad, more like a German canal, and frankly once Ely is to stern, rather unattractive.
But after a while up comes the junction to The Lark, a fair sized tributary to start with, only narrowing after ten miles or so, at Judes Ferry. Some sections are quite straight, notably the first section which must be artificial before it joins the ancient course of the Ouse to reach Prickwillow. This village itself may be a bit of a non-event as it has no shops and even the church was closed on Sunday. However it does have a fascinating Pumping Museum which is well worth a visit. As the Fens in their present form rely entirely on centuries of pumping out water, the Prickwillow Drainage Engine (and the Stretham Pumping Engine) are important working relics.
Patience at Prickwillow with Pumping Museum beyond
With John heading home I was moored up quietly with only the sound of tractors charging across the bridge as they brought in the harvest (note for next time - there is a quieter mooring a few yards up beyond the bridge). I managed to steal a look at The Old Vicarage which shows the results of Fen drainage. It was built on clay foundations with two steps leading up to the door; now there are nine steps, and the old cellars are ground floor rooms!
But having arrived, the best day was yet to come ...

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