Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It’s the Roman way…

They did like their straight lines, the Romans, didn’t they! They built their waterways on the same principals as their roads, wide, straight and built to last!

The Bridgewater Canal, up in Cheshire, lays claim to being the first “cut” in England, but the Romans got there first, over 1600 years earlier. Having made the River Witham navigable from Boston, they then set to and dug the artificial Fossdyke, 20 miles from Bardney on the Witham to the Trent. As well as military materials and manpower, it would have carried livestock and foodstuffs to the Roman town of Lincoln (Lindum), and to settlements on the Trent. Torksey itself, now an insignificant hamlet, would have been an important place, sitting on the junction of the two navigations.

The Vikings used it to penetrate inland (Saxilby was a Viking settlement, the “..by”, is a giveaway) and the Normans used it to transport building materials to Lincoln. Now it’s an easy route to The Wash for those intrepid daft enough to attempt the crossing…

We left the Torksey moorings yesterday after lunch, the morning weather was a bit grim but it brightened up in the afternoon.

We were only going 5 miles to Saxilby, no locks to worry about so an easy and somewhat boring trip.

Leaving Torksey

Around the first bend and you can see 2½ miles to the next one…IMG_4861

Deer falling in the cut must be a problem, there’s a provision for them to climb out every so often.IMG_4863
Just a pile of rocks at the water’s edge, but effective.

Arriving in Saxilby there is a good length of visitor moorings, divided by a footbridge over to the village on the opposite bank. The first length is OK but overhung by trees…IMG_4867

…but the second is much nicer.IMG_4870

We’d set off on our own, joined later by Derek and Sheila on Clarence.
Lesley, Dave and Lisa had assembled their folding bikes and toddled off to look at a ruined manor house in a nearby village, so they didn’t join us till this morning. A little boat shuffling saw us all on the sunny bit.

Lincolnshire is ideal for airfields, and WWII particularly saw them sprouting like mushrooms. Several are still in use, RAF Scampton is only 5 miles away. Scampton is the base for the world-famous Red Arrows, and they celebrated our arrival yesterday by putting on a short display…IMG_4869

IMG_4869 detail
How thoughtful!

These are 72 hour moorings, so we’ll be here for a bit. We’ve got berths booked in Brayford Pool Marina in Lincoln for the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend, starting Friday.

Hi Carol. Whoops, yes you’re right, greylags. Told you my avian identification left a lot to be desired… I bet they still taste like mud though!

Hiya KevinToo. It was bloody freezing out there! Yes, the show-off did manage to avoid the bank. I was about ready to sway out the lifeboats, though!

Oh, and a quick mention to Dave and Dorothy, NB Blackbird, who we met again in Nottingham. Have a good trip.

And Alf sent an email advising of a forthcoming event on the Trent, on the back of me mentioning that some of the gen-sets for Staythorpe Power Station had been shipped by river. He quotes the C&RT website -

“Notice Details
From Date:   3rd June 2015
To Date:  6th June 2015 at 23:59 inclusive
Type:   Navigation Restriction
Reason:  3rd Party Works
Between the 3rd and 6th June, there will be large load (270t) being moved to Staythorpe Power Station (just upstream of Newark) from Hull.
Boaters are asked to proceed with care and to allow for delays during this operation.”

Thanks Alf. One to watch out for…

Locks 0, miles 5

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