Whilst the skies may be clear today, our drainage system is under stress.

Yesterday saw St Germans Pumping Station discharging 77 cubic metres of water per second. We have never previously needed to pump to this level.

There are still vast quantities of water within our system, being pumped into our system by Internal Drainage Boards and flowing into our system from saturated highland areas.

The weather forecast for overnight tonight is a cause for serious concern, with a worst-case prospect of 30-40mm. Even a more realistic forecast of 10-20mm will cause us issues unless we take further action.

We will deploy the demountable defences for the properties in Benwick as a precautionary measure during daylight today.

We will need to take the water level at St Germans as low as we can without risking bank slips in order to create the gradient in the system to be able to cater for tonight’s forecast rainfall as well as the existing water within the catchment.

For boaters moored in our main drainage system this will unfortunately mean you’ll likely experience levels fluctuating significantly higher and/or lower than normal. This will probably start to be noticeable this afternoon and evening. Please take suitable action to secure your safety.

Should the rainfall forecast materialise then levels will quickly rise and if the rainfall does not materialise then there is sufficient water coming into the system to stabilise the levels again tomorrow.

For 30 years Paul Grodkiewicz has been at the heart of our navigation service in his role as lock-keeper at Salters Lode. Paul has recently confirmed his intention to retire at the end of February 2024 and our plan is that Paul’s wife, Karen Hills, takes on the role.

I’m sure our boating community will join me in wishing Paul well in retirement and are very grateful, like we are, for his loyal and expert service. Many of you will already know Karen and I’m sure will support her as she takes on the role.

The sanitation point at March Town Bridge, Old River Nene, is open. Currently, the information on Fenland District Council’s website is out of date.

Pump-out tickets can be bought from George Campbell Leisure Centre, for £20.

Calors new position on small cylinder filling

Are you thinking of navigating to St George’s Fayre in March on Sunday 23rd April? If so, our mooring will be available to use with just a 25 min stroll into town


The extensive refurbishment of the downstream lock entrance moorings is now complete and open to the public. Normal operating procedures apply.


A second month with almost no rainfall is putting our system under extreme pressure. We keep levels up at this time of year, and in these conditions, by taking water from the River Nene. However, as flows in the Nene fall the Environment Agency also are forced to reduce what we are allowed to take as our share of the residual flow. So far this year we have been able to keep levels above the point where we would expect navigators to be experiencing significant issues, but it is a fine line and a few inches either way can make all the difference to this.

Over the next few years it is our intention to explore options for dredging the shallowest lengths of the old river courses as we have done so with much success in the Well Creek (for example we are currently looking at the whole of March and sections in Benwick). In the meantime please be aware that levels are at their annual lowest, adjust your speed accordingly and keep an eye out for submerged obstacles.

The Middle Level Commissioners are very pleased to be able to report that they have been working closely with Fenland District Council (FDC) to identify opportunities to maintain and enhance the navigation experience through March. As part of these ongoing discussions FDC have reaffirmed their commitment to maintain the pump out facilities in the centre of town. These are currently non-operational but this week confirmation has been received that a replacement pump has been ordered, allowing for planned installation and commissioning late summer or early autumn this year.

The MLC will be carrying out extensive refurbishment of the downstream lock entrance moorings.

Work will commence on 23rd May 2022 and is likely to take around a week to complete. As there will be no place to moor up a boat at this end of the lock during this time a temporary lock keeper will be on hand each day to assist from 8am to 5pm, until the moorings are reopened.

The Middle level Commissioners, as part of their plans to improve navigation facilities within the Middle Level system, have been informally collecting views of navigators on what they would most like to see us deliver in the next few years. This has been achieved by gathering information from many conversations the Navigation Officer has had with vessel owners. One request that has come through strongly is the provision of simple rural mooring sites where boaters can stop for a while during the day or overnight.

There are currently nine Designated Rural Moorings within the Middle Level System. These are 24 hour stay moorings where mooring is allowed without seeking prior permission. They each consist of 5 mooring posts approximately 32m in length located at the toe of watercourse. These moorings have signs adjacent to them, and consist of driven timber posts and mown bankside vegetation. They are designed to be simple and no other provision or facilities provided. You may choose to stay overnight or simply stop here for a short break before carrying on.