Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Up with The Lark 2

Sunday saw me one of the first visitors at the Ploughing Match and the Pumping Museum (Museum of Fenland Drainage). And so I saw some of the tractors brought in on low loaders and being moved into position along a very long straight line on Green Farm. Each ploughman his own area marked with stakes, bright tractors and shining ploughs cutting through jet black soil. Men with soft Fenland voices earnestly calculating straight furrows and depth, huge adjusting spanners in hand.
Let the ploughing begin

Black Fen soil like long straight lines of liquorice
 Meanwhile, beyond the Eel Pie Band, the classic cars and the wild boar sausages, the Pumping Museum steams and rattles its oily way at full tilt to remind us that at Prickwillow agriculture and engineering go hand in hand, side by side. The drainage engineer draws water from the soil to enable the farmer to plough and sow then place his produce on the river barge on the canal created and watered by the  drainage engineer who ....
And then it's off towards Isleham, passing the remains of one of the original pumps, (there are more pics on wikimedia) known now as The Pepperpot having lost its sails long ago....
The Pepperpot wind pump(or pepper mill?!)
... through Isleham Lock and on up the beautifully winding Lark past Gravel Gardens to Judes Ferry where I moor up in some rather high moorings at the bottom of their beer garden and take a fine pint of cider.

I'm not wildly keen on Judes Ferry as a pub / restaurant, as I felt that it had a character bypass and I didn't like its big screen pop videos, but they have a broader-than-pub-grub menu and it's a pleasant garden on a fine day. Besides it's a handy mooring - though next time I would choose the ramshackle set of moorings just north of the pub. These are a little quieter away from the chatter of patrons and most importantly - at this furthest point of navigation for a 45 footer - you can turn the boat directly into a side channel instead of having to reverse first, as I did. I wasn't brave enough to risk turning in the river itself which my Imray Guide tells me is 13.7m while 45 feet is 13.716m .... A tight squeeze!

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