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  • Alick Burt

A birthday, a re-launch of an Old Town Otca and a seal is spotted on the Great Ouse.

Sometimes you go for a paddle and think nothing really happened but this is rare. This time I went for a paddle and a whole lot of things happened.

It was Nicks birthday and he planned a trip on the Great Ouse with a view to having lunch complete with cake and a celebratory beer on an island.

We started our trip from the car park of the Dolphin Hotel in St Ives. The put in was easy off a grassy bank.

As we emerged onto the main river you could see this old bridge to our right.

I had passed through the bridge way years ago when I paddled the length of the Great Ouse in sections but this time we were heading up river so turned left.

The forecast was for sunnier weather but it stayed cloudy most of the day. At least it was warmer than last weekend when I was in Norfolk for the Cwav Frostbite meet.

We took this delightful little back water.

On reaching the lock we found maintenance was under way and it's about due by the look of this bolt!

Looks like the lock mechanism is getting a full refurb.

Whilst carrying our boats around the lock we were joined by an unexpected visitor in the form of a Seal.Nick said he has seen quite a few on the river as they can get up easily from the sea.

Continuing up river we passed this church which I think is about as close as you would want your church to be to the water!

It is quite a picturesque stretch of the river and there appear to be a few canoes at the ready in gardens.

We reached Houghton Mill another photogenic building and met up with Sam and David.

Sam has just restored David's 1930's Old town Otca in a lovely burgundy colour.

We were also joined by Jonathan In his boat that he built from scratch.

So this prompted lots of milling about and conversation.

Meanwhile I took a picture of this heron that had flown away as we approached the lock.

Next we paddled down river to Battocks Island where Nick had arranged for us to stop for lunch.

We sat around on these logs eating cake with our lunch and drinking beer in celebration of Nick's birthday.

Then David, Sam and Nick paddled back to Houghton and we waited for Nick to return.

Our route back was via the trout stream so we could avoid carrying through the lock again

and the flow was quite fast on this section.

We could now see the church from a different view.

It was quite a relaxing day as the wind was only moderate and it was a lot warmer than last week.

With the current carrying us along we were soon back at our start after a fine day out with pleasant company seal included, not forgetting cake and beer and the re-launch of lovely old boat.



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