As part of getting ready for our big trip, we recently drove to Upwell where dredging work is being carried out. According to the Middle Levels Commission website the river will be closed until late March. It also says that if it is completed earlier, it will re-open.
The dredging is being carried out from the roadside so shouldn’t be particularly affected by any bad weather. The material is being loaded straight on to trailers and driven away by tractors. So far over 500 loads have been taken.
It’s a shame that this dredging won’t mean more clearance on the bridges in the village. When we passed through, clearance was so little that we even had to remove a bag of coal from the roof.
It does look quite likely that the work will be completed in good time, so we have taken the decision to adjust our timetable. The work that is now influencing our departure date is the closure of Denver Lock, which is closed 21st February to 13th March.
There is other work going on that is also causing closures but this is all due to be completed before Denver Lock re-opens. Our experience when we moved here in 2015 was that bad weather can easily change the dates when work finishes. For us, this meant over a week waiting for White Mills Lock on the River Nene to open.
Our decision is that we will finish work on Friday 10th March. If all is going to timetable, we will head off the following week.
Of course there is always the possibility of closures on the Great Ouse and Nene for high water levels. There is no point worrying about this though, as it could happen at any time of year.
We have never had an inverter on the boat but we decided it would be a useful addition for such a long trip. Being able to use our travel washing machine, a printer and a few rechargeable appliances will just make our life easier.
We don’t have anything that needs more than 800W but we opted for a 1500W pure sine wave inverter from Sunshine Solar. We had read that one of the hire-boat companies use these and have found them better than those from one of the better known names. Add to that they are about half the price.
It has been set up with a lead that can plug into the inverter at one end and the shoreline socket at the other end. This allows us to run items from the boat sockets if required.
We have also fitted a Smartgauge battery monitor which allows us to monitor the charge left in our battery bank. We have in the past gone 60 hours without recharging the batteries but had no idea how close we were to flattening them. The display is very simple. It shows the amps level and the percentage of charge remaining.
If we are moored up for a few days and need to run the engine to recharge the batteries, we will know when it needs doing and when they are back up to full charge.
I am experimenting at the moment to get some idea of our normal daily usage.