Saturday, 28 June 2014

From Salters Lode to Denver Sluice

1 mile 2 locks

It may not have been far, but it was an adventure.  By 09:00 the dog had been walked, breakfast eaten, washing up done and we were ready to go as the tide would be ready around 09:30.  A walk had been taken up to the other side of Salters Lode lock to check on the water levels.

Taken last night

And again this morning

For those of you who are not familiar with this part of the world (it is all new to me and please accept my apologies if I have any technical details wrong) to get from the Middle Levels onto the Ouse we have to go through two locks – first out of Salters Lode, hard right turn against the current and then into Denver Sluice and out onto the Ouse, but this can only be done at certain times depending on the tides.   I had been told it could be ‘interesting’, ‘exciting’, ‘an adventure’, so I was not really sure what to expect. 

First to go was nb Kingfisher who is only 50 foot long and not too high – the little ones always go first.  Height wise we would never have made it – the tide had to fall a bit more.

All went well and they made it through, round the bend and on their way to Denver Sluice.

Next a boat came up from Denver Sluice and made it safely round the bend into the lock mouth.

The Captain and Boatwif are ready waiting for the signal to go once the above boat had come out of the lock.

 They are on their way

Monty says farewell

 They are in 

On the diagonal as this is the only way boats over about 55 foot can get through.  The very long boats have to wait until the water is pretty much level and both ends and then they almost get pushed through.  Sometimes there is only about a 10 minute window.

They are safely through

Full power on

Round the bend

 And safely off to Denver Sluice

It was back to Tentatrice for us to move to the landing stage to wait for the next boat coming from Denver Sluice.  It was about 10:25 when we got into Salters Lode lock.  The lock keeper is a mine of very good information to ensure everyone travels safely.

We were in

And then out again

Monty and I stayed in the bow and he made his discomfort known in no uncertain terms.  The lock keeper thought it was a bird screeching!  There was no more time to think of taking any photos, so I am glad we had the chance to observe nb Cleddau.

Then it was off the short stretch (about half a mile, if that) to Denver Sluice, which is big and can easily take two boats if need be, but today it was singletons.  This allowed those coming from Denver into Salters Lode to feed in one at a time.

Denver Sluice is huge.  We were heading for the lock on the left. 

 Once in you feed ropes round big steel poles front and back of the boat to keep the boat under control and to our surprise we went down when we all thought we would go up!  In no time at all we were through and onto the large and stately River Ouse.

Go round to the left the very helpful lock keeper told us – your friends have gone to take on water.  Sure enough there was Boatwif waving to ensure we knew where to go.  They are looking after us very well.  Round the bend and the heavens opened!!  Nothing we could do, but get wet.  Thunder as well, but we made it to breast up at the water point safely.  Water was put on both boats. We had a cuppa and waited for the rain to stop.  The whole journey from when we cast off before Salters Lode to when we moored at the water point only took about 45 minutes, but they were very busy minutes.

Looking back at the water point on the left and more sluices in the middle

The decision was made to moor up on the EA moorings down from the Jenyms Arms and not move on until tomorrow.

Domestic and boat duties were performed.  Then we adjourned to the pub for a snack (the open sandwiches were very good). We have decided to go back for dinner tonight – well it is Saturday.  Monty stayed on the boat (no dogs in the pub) and the stress of the morning must have worn him out and sent him into a very deep sleep as Chris managed to get back in the stern doors, through the galley and into the saloon to find Monty on the dinette!  Caught out big time!  He had cuddled up in my old fleece which I had discarded in favour of something a little tidier when we went for lunch.  As I type it is pouring with rain again and we are hoping it eases, so Monty can have a relatively dry walk.  Tomorrow I think we are going down the River Lark.

Total stats for this trip so far:
170.5 miles, 182 locks


  1. Don't forget to do the River Wissey on the way back if you are doing the Lark first it is fabulous although watch out for what I think are horseflies at this time of year by the sugar factory when you go into the wide bit that looks like a mini lake. Enjoy the Ouse, you will love it!

  2. Thanks Sue for the advice, especially about the horse flies as Boatwif (in particular) and I are rather tasty as far as they are concerned. We thought the Wissey was too narrow for us to turn in, but if you can do it, I guess we should be able to? The time on the way back will depend on weather, tides etc for our possible Wash crossing.

  3. It is fine turning at the top of the Wissey where the lode goes off to the right. It is a much tighter turn (or it was) on the Lark especially if there are any little row boats and the like tied in the winding bit by the pub!

    You will sooooooooo enjoy the wash!