Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Little Ouse

On our way up The Ouse heading for Brandon we broke our journey at Littleport. The stretch from Ely north is dull even on a fine day - a broad straight functional motorway for boats. So arrival at Littleport with good moorings on both sides of the river and a pub (The Swan, previously The Black Horse) by the water's edge.
The Swan is a renovated pub, a far cry from the scruffy old Black Horse and worth a visit. A restaurant and bar in tasteful modern hues it's a comfortable place to break the trip up river. Supplies can be had in the town centre 15 minutes away and a railway station (Cambridge to Kings Lynn) is to the north of the town.
The Swan, Littleport
Then on to Brandon Creek which is basically The Ship, a popular pub right on the corner of the Little Ouse and The Great Ouse. Arriving after 5 hours of boating (including our break at The Swan) just as they closed for the afternoon we had to decide whether to plough on up the Little Ouse or stay here for the night. Noting that if we'd set off from The Otter a bit earlier we could have enjoyed a drink here before closing time we opted to head on up the river.
The Little Ouse is not particularly little really - 13.7 miles long, which is quite a few hours boating when you've been underway for 5 hours already. Nevertheless we left The Ship at 3.30pm and gawped at the many boats moored up the first part of the river. As they thinned out to a sprinkling of private moorings, increasingly isolated houses and curious shacks we were being drawn deeper into countryside that changes from fenland to breckland. The river in fact marks the border between Norfolk and Suffolk and east of a sluice and cut-off channel the landscape becomes visibly different.
Decoy Farm - should be Decay Farm ....
Nevertheless it's a long way upriver and we cut our journey short at the GOBA mooring (pretty much the only usable mooring we saw the whole way, so thank you GOBA!) still 5 miles short of Brandon lock. Our only neighbours a motley herd of cattle, not a sign of any habitation we drank beer and dined heartily on soup followed by scrambled eggs and bacon.

We aimed to get to Brandon promptly next morning.

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