Boats on River Nene was due to March hosting annual rally

IN response to the letter from Trevor Bevis (Cambs Times, June 11), may I point out that the large number of boats in the town centre was due to the Middle Level Watermen’s Club being host to the annual rally of the Association of Nene River Clubs and, as such, �represented an exception, rather than the norm.

The Middle Level system, together with the Northampton to Wisbech Nene, provides the only inland waterway link between the canal system and the Great Ouse river, which latter is the goal of most visiting boats, for the Lower Ouse provides miles of virtually lock free boating with “watering holes” aplenty.

With the exception of a lengthy and unnecessary detour all boats in transit must pass through March, a fact known since the founding of the Watermen’s Club, in 1963. A fact also acted upon by many organisations including FDC March Chamber of Commerce and, of course, the Middle Level Commissioners.

March boasts the first, and still one of the best, pump-out disposal points in the region, it offers more public mooring space than Huntingdon, St Neots and many other places on the Ouse.

Further public moorings are under way in West End Park, with others to be added when the park is extended.

Starting with the 1980s the locks on the system have been extended to accept 70ft narrow boats, craft which, unfortunately, require more mooring space and often moor inconsiderately.

The south side of the river, mentioned by Trevor, was piled to support Elwyn Road and not intended as a mooring, it is in fact reserved for anglers.

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The river is too narrow at this point to allow mooring on both sides, particularly since there are wide beamed craft with an equal right to navigate.

I agree that the banksides adjacent the moorings could be improved but other than that I am proud of what March has achieved and I am equally proud to be the sole surviving, active, founder member of the Watermen’s Club, an organisation, which, together with CT & P Fox, Boat Builders, pioneered the re-birth of boating on the Middle Level.

B S GOWLER

Via e-mail

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