paddling along the Great Ouse in Ely

I’ve just had a very pleasant afternoon on the river Great Ouse. I hired a canoe from Reeds Of Cambridge in the marina at Ely (£30 for the afternoon). Paddled from Ely to the confluence of the Cam and the Ouse (Pope’s Corner), and then a short way up the small river (the one that goes to St Ives). A yummy picnic was then had, although marred slightly by an aggressive ugly swan that wanted our food. Jabs with a paddle seemed to only make it more aggressive, which I understand perfectly, as if somebody jabs me with a paddle I’m not going to feel too happy with them. But letting the swan have the food was not an option. After all ham and brie in a baguette is worth fighting for! This was one swan that had never grown out of the ugly duckling stage. It was grey, with a more than normal spindly neck. I guess this was why it was pretty sore at the world. It really was one mean swan and even narrow boats coming down the river did not make it move until the boat shoved it physically out of the way. Once it realised that it would not get our food then it then moved downstream to harass some poor boaters who’d overestimated the amount of diesel in their tank, and were amusingly trying to pole a 40ft narrowboat along the river, with much less success than when doing the same to a punt. So after helping them get to the bank, the swanless picnic was then finished, and a leisurely tired paddle back to Ely.

The weather was smashing, although of course I forgot sun cream and am now burning a little. A pint at the Cutter pub rounded off the day. I’ve not been back here for quite a while, but when the weather is nice, the corner on the river here is a lovely place. The river was full of people making the most of the last gasps of summer. all in all a very pleasant afternoon.

I can recommend going to Reeds of Cambridge to hire your canoe. Much nicer than fighting amongst the tourists in the Backs in Cambridge!