We have got to the end of the Middle Level Route and stopped at the tide lock. It is here that we join the Great River Ouse but we have to wait for the tide to rise. Within a square mile there are four locks or sluces to control flooding from the river which goes out to sea at King's Lynn. A number of manmade relief channels make the area looks like 'spaghetti junction'. Denver Sluce is part of the finest flood defence and land drainage systems in the country.
While we waited a historic event occurred. A small boat was permitted to navigate down the Old Bedford River. The owners of the boat had been requesting permission for many years. The previous attempt was back in 2004. The Inland Waterways Association was there to witness the attempt. We had arrived just in time to see it ourselves. The boat was seen on the tidal river outside the access lock. When the tide level was right the lock was opened and the boat went through. But the Old Bedford River was so badly silted up the boat could go no further. In fact two little girls were seen walking ankle deep across the river! Luckily the boat was able to turn round and escape back into the Middle Level before the tide went back out. The Environment Agency will surely be asked to dredge that river.
The tidal trip
On a very hot Sunday we watched the tide come up and the locks were opened. No Problem went in first then us. But NP stopped on a sand bank and slid back into the lock. So we waited, with the lock gates closed behind, for the tide to rise some more, then we were off. Out into the rising tide flow getting swung round up stream passing two boats coming down from the Denver Sluce. We travelled up on the right then cut across the tide to the lock on the left. Full power to avoid the sand bank as we slid sideways. Then suddenly we were in calm waters as we entered the lock alongside No Problem. The gate closed behind us and we rose up to the river level. The top gate opened and we moved out onto the River Great Ouse found moorings and relaxed over a sandwich lunch.