Monday, May 25, 2015

Gloomy day as we head out of Lincoln

Joe and I took a bus to visit a local transport museum yesterday. The clue to the majority of the exhibits is in the name of the attraction – the Lincolnshire Road Transport Museum is mainly dedicated to buses, so if you’re a bus enthusiast this is the place for you. There are also some fine cars and vans wedged in amongst the PSVs. Worth a visit if you’re in the area, and at only £3 it’s a cheap morning. I can’t understand why I didn’t take any pictures, but the website gives you plenty of info.

This morning it was time to leave, so we reversed back to the services and filled and emptied before setting off eastwards.

Passing Clarence, Yarwood and What a Lark on the marina moorings.IMG_4992

Heading across Brayford Pool.
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At the far side of the pool, in the south-east corner, the River Witham makes it’s appearance. From here on to Boston we’ll be on the River Witham Navigation, first made navigable by the Romans around 300 AD. Being accessible from the sea made this one of the largest inland ports in the country.
With trade came prosperity, and Lincoln was one of the wealthiest towns in England in the medieval period.

The river channel is narrow for a start, until it drops down Stamp End Lock, and is prone to fast streams so there’s a light system to advise boaters of the river condition.IMG_4994

Through the Glory HoleIMG_4996

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The Empowerment sculpture reaches across the river below the Glory Hole.IMG_4998

As always in the city, old and new rub shoulders in a slightly uneasy relationship…IMG_4999

There’s quite a lot of moorings along this stretch, but they’re overlooked by the shops and offices here.
Stamp End Lock has caused some discussion amongst our flotilla since a boater heading to Torksey casually mentioned that What a Lark would be too big, at 70’ long, for the lock. A check of Nicholson’s Guide shows dimensions for the navigation of 75’ x 15’, but then it turned out that the cill, the concrete apron at the head of the lock below water level, intruded into the chamber a good 8 feet. Hmm. But Colin off NB Black Bart, a deep-draughted 70 footer, had been down and back up again, and he assured us that it was fine. And so it proved.

Stamp End Lock, with a guillotine gate at the top and conventional pointy gates at the bottom.IMG_5002
There’s a narrowboat just coming in from the bottom.

We pulled up on the pontoon to wait, and I had a chat with the crew coming up and inspected the controls for the guillotine. Pretty well idiot-proof. The only draw-back is that it’s interlocked so that your C&RT key, needed to release the controls, can’t be retrieved without dropping the gate, an operation which takes several minutes. So I suggested that we nip in alongside while the gate was up, then the uphill boat could leave and close the gate behind them.

In Stamp End Lock, the other boat just leaving.IMG_5003 

Of course we couldn’t have done it if they’d been a lockfull coming up. Apparently the procedure then is to simply swap keys.

With the lock empty I gingerly reversed over the cill markers just to check the depth, and it was fine, so I let Dave and Lisa know. I suppose in really low river conditions it could be a problem, but normal levels leave the cill well covered.

Out of the lock, two cruisers waiting to go in. IMG_5007

Although we’re now on the river, it’s not much different from the Fossdyke. The course has been much modified, straightening and widening the bed to make it easier for boats coming in from Boston. The semi-industrial fringe soon gives way to flat open countryside, not that you can see much from the deck over the flood banks!IMG_5008

The few villages either side stand back from the navigation, wary of flooding. There are pontoon moorings at Washingborough, and I had a second look at the building alongside.IMG_5023 A glance at the map confirmed that it was a station building alongside the railway that ran parallel to the navigation. It’s now a cycle track.

The small Norman church at Greetwell HallIMG_5018

There were a few boats about, but not as many as you might expect on a Bank Holiday Monday. Maybe the weather put them off, certainly colder than it’s been these last couple of days.

You can see why they built the cathedral on that hill, it’s easily visible up to 10 miles away…IMG_5028

Our destination, the pontoon moorings at Fiskerton FenIMG_5031

Yes, it was cold!
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Since we arrived a couple of cruisers have joined us. The rest of the flotilla have passed, heading for moorings at Bardney Lock, 1½ miles further on. We’ve stopped here because there’s road access a quarter of a mile away up the track, and we’ve visitors tomorrow.

Thanks for the comments, Carol, Chas and Jaqs. We only scratched the surface here, there's so much to see! It's worth a detour down the Fossdyke for a few days to visit. Or in Carol and George's case, to live!

Locks 1, miles 7¼

1 comment:

nbsg said...

I enjoyed passing you at Stamp End on Monday -- that's Scholar Gypsy going the other way. Good luck with the weather on the Wash. My blog of the trip from Denver is here