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Thread: A quiet day out

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Default A quiet day out

    ….or the story of MV tugboat, "MyCanoe"...….

    The Blackwater and Chelmer navigation is an inauspicious name for a glorious few miles of crystal clear , lily lined, winding and intimate canalised river. The only clue to it being a canal is a few rustic locks and an occasional tatty boat. On a sunny day as it was ...and is....it's gentleness is very beguiling and lovely.
    It is so clear, not only can you see the fish, and it's full of them, you can see the red fins of the roach and the stripes of the perch.
    From Paper Mill Lock to Beeleigh Falls, about the only building you'll see is Ulting Church on the bank...

    When the sparrows were wiping the sleep from their eyes
    , we launched at Paper Mill lock; a difficult to find tea room with car parking and an absolute Mecca for the "dayout contingents" (of which we were two?) with grandchildren or inflatable dirigibles of various shapes on the water, all spinning around like giant whirlygig beetles...…….

    So we got there early and parked in an adjacent layby, and launched stealth fashion, with absolutely no one around, into the new day and pointed downstream, meeting one or two very interesting fishermen, one of whom was filming the release of his pike.

    There was no one on the water, save one wild swimmer in the water, until we reached HoeMill lock for a brew, and got into a conversation with an interesting chap who lives on the river, does a bit of mowing, and a lot of litter picking....

    And here's the rub, the canal was surprisingly clear of flotsam, but at Beeleigh Falls, by the lock, we filled a big dustbin liner with plastic bottles, bags, old barbeques, fag packets, socks, and lots else. Filled it.
    Beeleigh Falls is a stunning place where a weir tumbles freshwater into a tidal stream, where fresh water world meets salt, abrubtly. Its like an invisible screen into the sky, separating two worlds with their own plant and bird life on each side, separated by feet...…….

    WE left the tied up bag there to collect on our return from reaching the end at Heybridge basin, a lock from the sea on the tidal Blackwater estuary, a haven for a lot of yachts, motorboats and liveaboards. Most importantly, it has, not one, but TWO pubs in the basin.
    Ours was the smallest boat in there!

    The 1/2 mile leading to the basin contained more Dragon flies, Damsel flies, Chasers, and Demoiselles than I think I have ever encountered.

    On our post fish and chip lunch return, the world had now found the water at each lock and landing place, the young blades, diving off the gates, and the multifarious whirlygigs had hatched en masse.

    But at Beeleigh Falls, we went to collect the rubbish bag, to find everyone had piled their subsequent rubbish adjacent to the bag or on it....for collection?
    The canoe was getting full...…… and would get fuller yet at another lock.....but hey..

    Further up we came to a cabin cruiser who had broken down with no facility to moor or anchor and no access to the banks. The boat was almost blocking the navigation. It was a 25 foot, 4 berth cabin cruiser with a 15hp Honda outboard. I shall cast no further comment save it wasn't working, which as a boater myself, I appreciate can happen....but in this instance ……it was a certainty.

    Anyway, we couldn't leave him there, so we tied my stern line to his bow cleat and TOWED, I'm guessing, the 2 tonnes of him, boat and crew, 500 yards upstream to the lock......slowly maybe, but my good lady and I got him there, which then meant we were too late for tea and cakes upon our arrival back at Paper Mill lock Tea rooms, as it had shut.

    I'd been looking forward to that, dammit.


    Seriously, a weekday day out, not w/e as we did..... round trip there and back, about 14-15 miles, and so very beautiful. Ignore the comment in "Pub Paddles"*, the canal around Maldon to the Basin is still very beautiful even though you go round a fairly well hidden industrial estate and a lunch in he Basin is a worthwhile turnaround point...…….. Again, you are suddenly thrown out of the freshwater world into the marine.

    *Chapter 18 the "Chelmer". nb Beeleigh Falls portage is long (200x ?), use a trolley and stick to the tarmacc'd path over the locks and weir?

    (The Chelmer and Blackwater navigation is in southern Essex, ostensibly from Chelmsford to the sea at Heybridge basin. Licences are needed at £5 as BCU membership doesn't cover it. It's a beauty.....)
    Last edited by laurence milton; 1st-July-2018 at 05:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
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    Default

    SOunds like an eventful day on a lovely canal that I must visit sometime.

    Well done on collecting rubbish, and for not throwing your toys out of the pram when the rubbish grew "organically". Unfortunately, I'm not surprised that folk added to the pile, some people just consider the rubbish THEY have brought with them and created, to be somebody else's problem the moment the contents have been consumed/used. Grr etc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    suffolk
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    The song is very quiet there..........(quieter on perhaps a weekday !!)
    And believe me, my toys went into orbit...….but the "additions" made it in a perverse way quite funny...….

    There truly is no hope...…..


    But as long as I'm on, in, under or by water....I can pretend otherwise

    Definitely, in all seriousness, worth a quiet day out .

  4. #4

    Default

    That;s on the to do list already..........

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willpower View Post
    That;s on the to do list already..........
    I hope you like it as much as I did, I certainly intend to do it again this year...…..

  6. #6
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    Nov 2005
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    Lochwinnoch, Scotland
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    Sounds like a lovely spot with just a smattering of plonkers but sometimes they provide a useful contrast to fully appreciate the beauty.

  7. #7
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    suffolk
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly View Post
    Sounds like a lovely spot with just a smattering of plonkers but sometimes they provide a useful contrast to fully appreciate the beauty.
    So very true, well said.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Wirral
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    Some people are like sheep. In one local park I noticed people would leave a doggy poop bag next to a tree because the nearest bin was 50 metres back the way they had come from and it was too far to the next. This had grown to a pile of a dozen bags the next time round. I take it the thinking was that the wardens had simply forgotten to place a bin exactly where they needed it!

    Nice description of a lovely trip, by the way.
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

    http://apachecanoes.com

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