Sunday, 6 July 2014

Insects & Crayfish - Sunday 6th July

Another bright and warm morning when we set off to continue our cruise down river. On reaching Shifford Lock we espied this lovely Insect Lodge by the side of the lock. It looked an ideal spot for them but we could not see anybody home.1 Insect Lodge

This stretch of the river has more Pillboxes per mile than I have seen anywhere and so must have been a major line of defence should the country have been invaded during the second world war.


There are also some lovely houses with delightful gardens running down to the river with their own private mooring. In the field next to this house was one of the old windmill pumps now disused..

4 house

We managed to find a mooring just before the public moorings at Bablock Hythe and as the river was busy with weekend boats it was a good job we did as the rest of the moorings were full. A little further on were two boats with Crayfish nets aboard and I spoke to the owner who showed me their catch and told me all about them.

2 Crayfish boat

They are apparently the non native American Signal Crayfish which is very invasive and is wiping out our native species as well as many other water creatures; they will eat almost anything. In addition they are gradually destroying the river banks with their burrowing which can be up to 3 feet in length, weakening the banks and causing the to collapse in times of flood. The fishermen had been trying to clear the bank of them near the caravan park where the banks have already been been collapsing. They put out up to 200 nets a night from their canoe and can catch around 100kg of crayfish. They are sold mainly to Sweden and few in Britain. Most are the size of a scampi but they can be very much larger as can be seen in the photo below. Each Signal Crayfish lays around 250 eggs at a time so it is a difficult battle to win.

3 Crayfish

There has been a ferry at Bablock since AD904 and in more recent times it would carry vehicles across the river although it is now no longer there. One of the winches for the chain can still be seen outside the Ferryman pub adjacent to the crossing.

5 Ferryman

Could not resist taking this picture of an old Hillman Minx, I am sure Alex will appreciate it.


As we moored up who should stop by but Sue from Nb No Problem, moored a short distance away. We did not have time for a long chat as we were both rushing to watch the Silverstone Grand Prix.IMG_4576

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