Sunday, 2 October 2011

Reaching Reach

And so it was that, on the day in late September that recorded Cambridge as the hottest place in the UK, Duncan set out alone in a desperate attempt to reach Reach.
As described in the previous blog entry, Reach is a pleasant little village which is rather in the back of beyond - hence its charm. Reaching it from the Cam is an experience, past the Five Miles with its constant stream of cruisers, (so no moorings for me), through the Upware lock and its warning lights ("You haf only fifteen minutes zen ve shall close ze lock gates!") and into a long string of quiet straight moorings ... It was there I paused to have my egg sandwich and my lukewarm can of beer (the fridge having broken down).
Upware moorings from Wicken bridge looking back towards Upware Lock

After a while improving the gangplank in readiness, by adding non-slip strips and drilling holes to anchor the landward side using tent pegs, I set off down the straight lode to Reach village. Mostly straight, very narrow at times, Reach Lode is not a place you'd want to meet someone coming the other way. I imagine you'd both have to creep into the rushes, probably switch off engines and slowly inch past each other, grim faced. Having done a recce (see previous blog) I knew at least there was somewhere to moor up, though a sluggishness in the engine power and a rise in temperature suggested I had weed wrapped around my prop. A narrow stream between the reeds is not a great place to switch off and delve into the weed hatch, especially if there is (and there was) another narrow boat not far behind you. Reversing in these circumstances is, as they say, not an option ....
View up Reach Lode from Reach moorings

Anyway, got there eventually, a cruiser already in the GOBA mooring who helped take a line as I sidled up the river into a place I'd planned for myself. So many reeds and bushes it was hard to nudge in, but thanks to this chap on land I got it secure, with the stern in the only clear space.
View from and of Reach moorings.
Then up comes narrow boat two, with an experienced crew but they just couldn't find a spot without reeds and bushes so it was my turn to haul them in.
Memo to Parish Council / GOBA / Environment Agency - PLEASE cut the vegetation! It's potentially a great mooring, let down by the fact you can't get into most of it unaided or without a gangplank!
Reach Lode beyond head of navigation. Bankside vegetation makes mooring almost impossible.

Spent the evening in The Dyke's End - an excellent and friendly pub with good food on a varied menu - without the air of a gastro-pub. I think it would be on my Top Ten Pub list, and only four minutes from the moorings! Why don't they make more of these moorings? That evening there were four boats, 7 people, all of whom ate and drank at The Dyke's End. That's £200 in one night thanks to the moorings. Spare a few quid to cut down the vegetation and you could double that from boaters!
Next - Return From Reach

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