Sunday, May 31, 2015

Postponed crossing but are we downhearted? No!

It was pretty inevitable really. Our latest consultation with Daryl the Pilot concluded that the weather is just too unpredictable and windy to head across the Wash tomorrow as intended. We're looking at maybe Thursday or Friday now, with a high pressure area heading in there'll be more settled weather with lighter winds and warmer temperatures.

So we stayed put at Kirkstead Bridge yesterday, joined by a couple a cruisers who tied onto the end of the pontoon in a heavy shower.

Guests for lunch yesterday...

Our convoy left this morning, a little piecemeal as we all had different destinations.

Leaving Kirkstead Bridge

The dykes draining the flat fenland to make it suitable for agriculture feed into the river, with flood gates to prevent backfilling when the river is up.

From Kirkstead Bridge the river seems to follow a more natural course, a bit windy but still heading purposefully south. 

There is a bit of excitement as the two bridges at Tattershall are negotiated...  

Good moorings here, too.

All the river moorings we've come across so far are on floating pontoons. 

The junction with Kyme Eau, or the Sleaford Navigation, is a popular mooring spot.

The navigation, the name suggests, ran all the way to Sleaford. Mostly based on the River Slea, it opened in 1794 and ran for 12 ½ miles through 7 locks. Officially abandoned in 1878 it was blocked completely by the construction of sluice gates in the 1940s, but recent restoration work has seen the first 4 miles, to South Kyme, once again made navigable. The aim of the Sleaford Navigation Trust is to re-open the whole length. 
Just the other side of South Kyme it crosses the Carr Dyke, an 85 mile long wide ditch heading south east towards Peterborough. Believed to be Roman in origin, it's purpose is unclear, though some sections were probably used for carriage of goods, others for drainage. It 's here also that the river changes it's name from the Slea to Kyme Eau for the rest of it's course down to the Witham.

Below Chapel Hill and the junction the river has been considerably modified once more, straight and wide.

Time to set the autopilot and get a book out... 

Joe and Lesley on Yarwood following.

They pulled over at Langrick Bridge, while we pushed on to Anton's Gowt.

The local sailing club had taken over the visitor mooring pontoon for the afternoon for a mini-regatta, so we pulled onto the landing for the lock. It's from here that the Witham Navigable Drains can be accessed. We pulled well back on the landing which gave a good 40 feet for boats in front of us, but a local boater said that the lock landing is often used for general mooring without any complaint. So we stayed here overnight. 

Anton's Gowt Lock

A Gowt is the outfall of a drainage channel, and Anton was Sir Anthony Thomas, a local landowner who financed a major drainage scheme here in the 1630s. Hence "Anton's Gowt". So it's not a medical condition after all... 

We were meeting Mag's son George and his partner Margaret here yesterday. They were coming by motorhome and had booked a pitch on the site behind the Malcolm Arms. One of the bunks was covered with stuff for us, a solar panel, aluminium rails and stainless screws to mount it, Mags new wheelchair for longer excursions, a new MPPT solar charge controller, 12v laptop charger, the list goes on. As well as the normal mail. Glad they came. They should have had a passenger, too. A good friend was coming with them to join us on the crossing but with the postponement he's not going to be able to. We're all disappointed.

The Malcolm Arms.

Fallow deer in an enclosure, spotted while out with Meg this morning. 

There doesn't seem to any activity at the sailing club this morning, so we'll move the 50 yards to the VM and stay the rest of the day. I think we're going to the pub for Sunday lunch...

Hi Carol, we saw them, they were one of the cruisers that pulled on to the end of the pontoon at Kirkstead Bridge. Naughty-Cal.

Locks 0, miles 13 ½


Carol said...

Glad to hear that Margaret is able now to go out on a few excursions I’m sure she’ll enjoy them, Give her a big hug from us. Still missing you both, xx

Naughty-Cal said...

Hope you all have a safe and enjoyable crossing of the Wash if not a little later than expected.

Was good to meet you all even if it was a bit of a brief encounter!

Steve and Angela said...

Cancelled the crossing just because there is a yellow warning for winds, possibly gusting 60-70. I thought you were made of sterner stuff than that !!!
Have a safe one