Saturday, 6 October 2012

I reached Reach (sorry; couldn't resist)

With the weather as glorious as predicted, G volunteered to walk the dogs so that I could head off in the kayak and make the most of the day. Launching it via the slipway in the pub grounds was no problem but, on paddling round to Upware Lock, there was no 'portage' point and the lock landing was very high up. It wasn't pretty, but I managed to get out - just. G and I then hauled it out, trotted across the road and dropped it back in from the (thankfully not so high) lock landing on the other side.

As I'd previously walked Wicken Fen, I decided to head off down Reach Lode to the village of.. yeah.. Reach. Passing G and the boys on the wonderful 'Cock Up Bridge' which spans the entrance to Wicken Lode

 They turned left whilst I carried straight on
 Right turn Clyde
 Burwell Lode to the left and Reach to the right
 This bridge isn't even shown, let alone named, in my Imray Guide - it has the look of a Millennium project to me. Does anyone know?
 You can see how wide the Lode is here, but immediately the other side it reduces to a reed choked ditch, I didn't get a picture of the worst bit as I was too busy trying not to dive into the reed beds. I had to shorten the paddles and dab vertically; not a technique to be recommended as you get pretty wet
The end of the Lode at the outskirts of the village of Reach. This is the GOBA mooring, but to the right is a sign saying, 'Mooring only by prior arrangement with the Parish Council'. There's no contact number for the PC so is it GOBA or isn't it? The Reach splits here and goes a little further in each direction
I decided not to mess with the left turn
 and turned right - amazed to find a short narra down here - I'm surprised they could get through the narrows, but I guess the reeds die back at some point in the year
 This is the end of the Lode. The leaves are just beginning to turn colour.
 On the way back I tried to get a picture of the narrows before I entered them and decided to try a different technique; I split down the paddles and used the shorter one like a Canadian canoeist, paddling on one side and angling it as a rudder to steer. I got into an awful mess and ended up frantically paddling on alternate sides and soaking myself!  
 You can just see in the next pic that the water is covered in reeds. They don't look very much, but they have the same impact as hitting ice with a narrowboat i.e. complete loss of both propulsion and steerage
 clearly these cattle weren't used to seeing people pass below them
 at one stage the Lode is only separated from a lake by the width of a narrow footpath
 sorry about the residual water at the top of these two photos - I didn't wipe the lens properly after my paddling experiment. Nothing to worry about, I now have an underwater, shockproof camera after my previous disasters
 Here I paused to ring G with an ETA so that he could set the lock for me as there was no way I'd be able to get back in off of the high lock landing and my arms were two tired to haul it out and carry anyway
 before you have a hissy fit about wasting lockfulls of water for one tiny kayak, I doubt that the water level changed by more than 1 cm .....mmmm....that means level waters so, in theory, we could open both ends and go through with MR. Not that the mechanism would let you open both ends. It's quite odd in there on your own on a tiny kayak
 As I was climbing out onto the back of MR a dirty great lump of bank came passed
 Daisy was waiting patiently for me to return
 and happy, as usual, to pose
 and G resumed his fishing that I had interrupted 
4 hours paddling in total for the round trip, including messing about at the end and stopping for a couple of chats - I suspect I've overdone it and I hope I'm not too sore to go again tomorrow


  1. Do they sell those on

    It doesnt matter if you are too sore you can have a pyjama day if you want!

  2. They really aren't expensive and are brilliant out here for all the bits you can't get to in the big boat, but I can't see me using it much on murky canals and dodging the narras. Mind you, little rivers often run close to canals.
    Can't have a pyjama day until the weather turns. I still have Wicken and Burwell to do yet - then I'll have 3 consecutive pyjama days!

  3. It offers a whole new dimension to boating!

    1. Mmmmmmm.... sort of low level and definitely knackering enough to be good for me!

  4. There is a great pub in Reach, not far from the moorings, but I suppose you would have to give Graham a lift if you wanted him to take you for dinner.

  5. Replies
    1. In all of our reference material I cannot find anything that gives the length of Reach Lode/Upware lock. I do, however, know that it's shorter than our 66ft - even diagonally across it.
      I guess I'll just have to buy my own dinner as I don't think the kayak would carry the two of us; just me and a dog really!