Sunday, 18 September 2011

Brandon - At Last!

Behind us a restful and silent night at the GOBA moorings on the Little Ouse and now we continue up the river towards Brandon. Somehow it felt longer than it should have, though we were at the lock by 10am and ready to go.
Brandon Lock Facing East
The lock turned out to be only just long enough for the 45 foot Patience and we were shuffling to and fro to avoid hitting the gates. Then on exiting we hit a wide patch of duck weed that cut our power, just as we needed to make a sharp right turn and avoid the reeds. Meanwhile the wind was pushing us into the reeds and the overhanging branch of a tree was dead ahead.
Weed collectors moored at Brandon Bridge

Magnificent pole work from the bow got us through and within a few minutes we were under the bridge and at the charming EA mooring at Brandon, which marks the end of navigation.

For road users Brandon itself is  a bottleneck on the way to Thetford, but this once noble town has plenty of fine 19th century houses though it is now especially popular with eastern Europeans attracted by the agricultural work and cheap house prices (bungalows for less than £100k).
For boaters the river is attractive and winding, with pubs (very cheap beer!) and restaurants, food shops and takeaways for all tastes, supermarkets and a good DIY shop. See also this link to a previous post on Brandon.
But the attractions of Brandon on a sunny Saturday afternoon could not hold us and we headed back to the mooring for a 180 degree turn (keep the bow tight to the mooring and turn slowly round) back under the bridge, past Jean Paul's restaurant (phone 01842 813137) and again through the weed and the lock. This time the bow was pointing directly at the vee gates so it felt even shorter. We had about 18 inches to spare but we knew we could fit in.

The way home was familiar this time and the only aim was The Ship for 5 pm or so, to meet up with our wives for an evening meal.
Along the way we looked more closely at the unexpected floating dry dock of Little Ouse Moorings.
a floating dry dock
 Mooring in these parts is £18 per foot per annum - not expensive. And before we knew it we were at The Ship. Good EA moorings, more than acceptable food, served with a smile. A good way to end our trip up and down the Little Ouse.

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