Monday, 27 April 2015

April 26/27 2015
After seeing the family, Sunday began with church, ringing the bells before the service - I am deputy Tower Captain, having learned ringing when a churchwarden, as we decided to sort out the bells and bell frame for the millennium, which seems a long time go, now ....
Lunch over, Liana and I drove to the boat at Kirkstead Bridge, spending a cool but sunny afternoon taking our time down the Witham to Dog Dyke, where the River Bain meets the Witham. We passed the old blocked  entrance to the Horncastle canal, marked by an indentation in the bank and a gate on the top (see picture below). The first, longer mooring belongs to the Packet pub, which was friendly and served very good Theakston's Mild, which sent me to sleep once we reached the boat! It is a short walk to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight base, and to Tattershall village. We were lucky enough to see the Lancaster flying next day, as we motored to Chapel Hill and up Kyme Eau. As a Lincolnshire Yellowbelly, the sound of those Merlin engines is part of my heritage, and their sound is unforgettable, once heard. Guess who forgot his telephoto lens ...
The water was crystal clear, so we saw lots of Perch, some nine inches long, and three Pike, which barely moved as we slipped by, trying to avoid dragging up silt to cloud the water.
Taylor's Lock, the bottom lock of the lower Slea Navigation / Kyme Eau, is unusual in that it has unusual paddle gear on the bottom gates, a guillotine top gate worked by a disc type wheel with a high velocity ratio ( old school physics teacher talking here!) so it is easy to turn but you have to turn it a lot! the other side of a small islet is a sluice type weir. Our sixty foot boat turned easily above it, as could a full length boat, I am sure. There is a white paint mark on the side to indicate the air draught of the lowest bridge further up. I reckon we would have to dismantle our cratch to make it, so it must be under six feet with the water low after little rain.

You need a CRT key and a certain amount of effort to operate the top gate......

 Liana tells me it was algae floating above the lock.
Back to Chapel Hill, we decided to return to Kirkstead Bridge after lunch at the excellent Tattershall Bridge pontoon moorings, which are now 48 hours, we noticed.

Last 3 images: Tattershall Bridge, Horncastle Canal junction, Liana enjoying the sun!
On leaving Lincoln through Stamp End Lock, with its guillotine top gate, we were very lucky with the weather - cool, breezy but sunny and beautiful. Like many rivers, we just wish that we could see more over the banks ...
Moorings here are mainly 72 hours or 48 hours. Washingborough village and the more isolated Fiskerton Fen mooring (nature reserve) pontoons are excellent. We left the boat for a few days on the Bardney Lock moorings, which have all services including electricity, if you have a card from Torksey, Lincoln or Boston, as the good folk in the boat next door told us. You can reach the moorings via a decent 1 mile long farm road 300 metres west of Bardney Bridge. You may have to park the car 200m short of the lock, due to a barrier. A CRT key is needed for both facilities and to get to the secure moorings.
On our return with our good friend Angela Palmer, we had an idyllic day down to Kirkstead Bridge, just outside Woodhall Spa. On the way, we levered open the flood gates to Timberland Delph, as John Lower's and Christine Richardson's Richlow guide had said it was navigable and a sixty foot boat could turn at the end with difficulty ..... they were exactly right! The delph was sixty feet wide-ish most of the way - it felt like the Bridgwater Canal, and was very straight across the fen. We had to stop within yards of the Roman Carr Dyke at the end, due to tree growth and the bottom getting near the top!

Liana and I cycled back for the car while Angela had a walk into the town. Read about Woodhall - lots of interesting history and things to see. The two large floating pontoons here are next to the Water Railway long distance asphalt cycle path, which follows the river all the way to here and beyond from Lincoln, on the old railway trackbed.

 Again, we left Annie to spend a day with our family in Lincoln, which is very handy. We have not often been within half an hour of home, using the car!

Foss Dyke moorings

Torksey 72 hour moorings were fine, 400 metres from the lock on the right. However, we carried on through Saxilby. The first image is looking back at the good Saxilby moorings with water. We overnighted on the visitors moorings on the right, just before the Brayford at Lincoln. These were modern, close to the city centre, with services but not electricity. Friday night next to student residences was a little noisy, however .... lots of shrieking! Short boats could pay for marina moorings on the Brayford itself. We could have carried on through the Glory Hole  (High Street mediaeval bridge) and moored on the left near the floating cafĂ©, if pushed.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

April 2015 Travelling down the Trent from Newark to Torksey Lock

After many years of borrowing boats, then sharing narrowboat Osprey with some wonderful people, my wife and I, Liana and John Fox, decided to spend our children's inheritance (with their blessing!) on our own narrowboat, Annie. I am retired, while Liana works part time as a teacher, soon to retire, herself.

Annie is a ten years old narrowboat built by Phill and Sue Abbot of Wharf House Narrowboats of Braunston. She is well equipped inside, light and airy inside, with a powerful engine to cope with the river travel we so enjoy. After travelling over much of the canal system over the years, we are returning to our home county of Lincolnshire to enjoy our local waterways, before continuing down the Trent to our new home moorings on the Chesterfield Canal.

After reading the Richlow guides, Narrowboat on the Trent and the Boating Association navigation notes for the non-tidal and tidal Trent, we felt well prepared. On our way down from Nottingham, we took advice from all the very helpful CRT lock keepers. We sorted out times to leave Cromwell Lock with the ebb tide a few days in advance with them, so all went well on a beautiful day. After 3/4 hours, including a pause for coffee, we locked up onto the Foss Dyke. The last picture shows the scene at Torksey.