Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A short trip to rejoin the flotilla

We had a good afternoon yesterday, catching up with my brother Andy and his partner Donna. They’re thinking of buying a boat, so we spent the afternoon discussing boaty subjects (loos!), comparing the pros and cons of narrow against wide beam, trad, semi, or cruiser sterns, lengths, and all the other factors you’ve to consider before buying. They will be living aboard but working for a while yet, so that has an impact on the style and shape.
They left us at around 5, and I took advantage of the pleasant evening to wash and leather off the left cabin side, and also to scrub the waterline on that side. It’s stained following our transit of Harecastle Tunnel soon after applying the blacking. That ochre coloured water really soaks in…

We had a really quiet couple of nights on the Fiskerton Fen mooring, joined by two cruisers on Monday night and two narrowboats last night.
The Fen is an artificial wetland created in depressions formed by the extraction of clay. The nature reserve is not very big, but there are a couple of Permissive Footpaths in the area for longer walks.

The water table is so effectively managed, with dykes criss-crossing the flat landscape, that most of the natural wetlands have dried out.

I said that Lincoln Cathedral dominates the area, lit up at night it’s still clear to see even from seven miles away!

OK, maximum zoom…

This morning we set off to join the rest of our motley crew. We caught up with the Wally’s (the new nickname for Dave and Lisa, NB What a Lark, courtesy of Joe) at Bardney Lock, filled and emptied at the facilities then shared the lock.
Bardney Lock
Worth remembering, the pontoon moorings above the lock have electric hook-up.

This is the last lock before Boston, still 22 miles away. The Witham valley has a very shallow slope.

Under the railway bridge.

The Lincoln to Boston railway, built in 1848 as a branch of the GNR, was responsible for much of the the decline of the navigation. In 1847 over 19,000 tons of coal came upriver, by 1854 this had dwindled to less than 4,000.
The river navigation still flows along under the wide fens sky as it has done for 1700 years, the railway closed in 1971 and is now a 33 mile long cycle way. Progress, eh.

Yarwood and Clarence were moored on the pontoon at Bardney Bridge so we joined them.

Bardney village moorings

Looking at the forecast it seems unlikely that we’ll be making our Wash crossing on Monday. 20 mph westerlies are predicted, that’s Force 5 in maritime terms and far too high for ditch crawlers. It’s all up to our pilot of course, as it’s an offshore wind into a sheltered bay he might decide that it’s safe. We’ll find out nearer the time.

Needing a bit of shopping I took my rucksack for a walk up into the village. The centre is about 10 minutes walk, and has a good butcher (today’s lunch and evening meal sorted) a small Co-op and Post Office. As well as ladies and gents hairdressers.

During WWII the population of the village exploded with IX Squadron RAF personnel from Bardney Airfield stationed here. The village green has a memorial to the crews of the Lancaster bombers who flew from here.

On operations from 1943 to 1945 85 aircraft failed to return from raids. That’s 492 young men…
The airfield ceased flying operations in 1951, then served as a missile base for ICBMs till it finally closed down in 1963.

Locks 1, miles 2¼

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