Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Boston - again

We've been monitoring the nautical weather forecasting websites since we got here last week and they have all been showing today as the perfect conditions to cross the Wash. Unfortunately the pilot has other commitments so we are still sat here twiddling our thumbs. The forecast is almost as good for tomorrow so keep your fingers crossed...............


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Boston

We're still here in Boston, waiting for the wind to change direction in the Wash.


This is the lock we'll be going through if/when we get the go-ahead. As the lock is only 41ft long we need to pass through when the tidal and non-tidal sections of the river Witham are level so the lock gates at both ends can be opened to let us through.



The channel passes right beside St Botolph's church which is the largest parish church in England and is known locally as The Stump.


At low tide the channel is very narrow, shallow and twisty


This is how it should look when we finally go


In the meantime there's not a great deal to do here in Boston. We've seen the church



We've been told that the viewing platform has superb views out to the Wash but as my back's still bad we didn't bother.



We also walked to see the beautifully restored Maud Foster Windmill which is on the other side of town, beside one of the Witham Navigable Drains.



The rest of our time has been spent sitting in the glorious sunshine and seal spotting.  This is one of the local tame seals. We've been told that there are two but have only ever seen one. It's very friendly and likes to splash the children when they paddle or swim in the river. It then gets out of the water and basks in the sun


It's now Sunday and there's no chance of us making the crossing today. We had heavy rain last night and it's quite windy again this morning. Time is running out as we only had a 7 day window to make the crossing with favourable tides. At this rate I can see us heading back the way we came, but better to be safe than sorry.


Friday, 25 July 2014

The Boston Tea Party

The 3 mobile internet signal is a bit erratic around here. There was absolutely no connection last night but it seems reasonable this morning. Maybe someone was downloading films in the marina and using up all the bandwidth?

On Wednesday we tried to do a detour up Kyme Eau but couldn't get through the flood gates due to the thickness of the blanket weed. It must have been a good 4 inches thick as the swans were walking on it as if it were a carpet.



It's not just floating weed either, it has long tight filaments that go down to the river bed. Big clumps of the underwater stuff look like green candy floss.


This guy is certainly being kept busy


We found good moorings again for Wednesday night, on a floating pontoon at Langrick Bridge. We hadn't been there long when the last two boats who are coming with us across The Wash arrived and went to moor in Boston Marina which was only a couple of miles further on.


Just across the road from our mooring is this American Diner, the "Witham and Blues". It used to be owned by BW during it's phase of buying and running canal-side pubs with one of the large brewery chains (I forget which one). They spent thousands doing it up but when that part of the business went tits-up BW sold this pub off very cheaply and the new owners have done an amazing job converting it into a very successful theme pub/restaurant. We had a very pleasant night out with Bob and Nicola, our travelling companions on n.b.Vagabond, and had one of the best meals out ever. The steaks were superb and my Hickory Meatloaf topped with BBQ sauce and fried onions was to die for.






This was our first sighting of the Boston Stump, the 272ft spire of the parish church.


Shortly afterwards we got our first sighting of the local tame seal, unfortunately I didn't manage to get a photo but he's well known around here and often comes right up to the boats in the marina.


This is the sea lock at low tide



and this is the way we'll be going out to the Wash, when the tide is level with the river Witham so they can open both top and bottom gates to let us through. Unfortunately we won't now be going until at least Sunday as the wind is in the wrong direction but watch this space, as soon as the conditions are right we'll be off.............


And now for the Boston Tea Party. As all 8 boats were now together we convened on the pontoon at 4pm for afternoon tea. I made some suitably decorated cupcakes (4 c's as it's the Cotswold Canal Cruising Club) and some of the other ladies provided sandwiches and cream cakes and copious pots of tea.




We're now about to go walkabout in Boston before it gets too hot. The weather is amazingly hot and sunny but I think I'd rather like it to be a bit cloudier when we do the crossing otherwise we'll fry due to lack of shade.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

On to Dogdyke

We only had one lock today and as CRT were working on the lock landing the guys helped by doing most of the work for us.

The River Witham continues to be straight and weedy with not a lot to see


although the now disused Bardney sugar-beet works does rather dominate the skyline for a while


If you'd like to see what's inside the factory I found an interesting website which you can visit it HERE

There aren't any "wild moorings" on this stretch of the river, but there are plenty of rising pontoons


like this one at Dunston Fen


and the one we stopped for lunch at



While were having lunch this old plane flew over, I'm sure one of you will be able to identify it for me.


We've finally moored for the night at the Packet Inn at Dogdyke. Unfortunately the pub is closed on Tuesdays, but it's given Roger a good chance to carry out all his engine checks ready for our Wash crossing later this week. He particularly wanted to drain some diesel from the bottom of the tank to make sure we didn't have any sludge or diesel bug which may have gotten churned up and caused engine problems if the crossing was at all choppy. Happily all was crystal clear.


The mooring is very close to the end of the runway at Conningsby Airfield and there have been lots of planes flying very close over head. They sometimes come in singularly or sometimes in pairs, and the noise is deafening, but that's a small price to pay for such interesting entertainment. The jets are Typhoons & Tornados but they also fly propeller planes like the Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster & Dakota. The propeller plane we saw earlier had obviously come form here.





Monday, 21 July 2014

Lincoln

Last night we were moored at Saxilby and met two of the other boats who will be coming across The Wash with us.

From left to right : Roger, our current travelling companions Bob & Nicola on n.b. Vagabond, Lesley & Peter on n.b Aquarigo 2 and Bruce & Margaret on n.b. Lucky B


Today we carried on and moored for a couple of hours in Lincoln. Bob and Nicola went walkabout and Roger and I went for lunch in the Brayford Barge. We had Moules Frites which were lovely although as I'm not drinking at the moment they weren't quite the same minus our usual glass of Muscadet.


After lunch we had a quick visit to the local NHS walk-in centre so I could pick up some more strong pain killers. I really have to say that the NHS have come up trumps yet again. Being CCer's it's not that easy getting medical treatment but by telling them we are on holiday has made it a lot easier and everyone has been really helpful and sympathetic.

By 2 o'clock we were back on our way passing through the city


and The Glory Hole which is a very low bridge underneath a beautiful half timbered building



It must be large enough to take wide beam boats and high enough for yoghurt pots but it didn't seem it.


Bob & Nicola followed us through



It's such a lovely city we'll have to come back again for a longer visit soon, we didn't even manage a trip to the cathedral which towers above the city.



If the tidal Trent was the first scary bit of our B.S.A. then this must surely have been the second.


We've not encountered a guillotine lock before but it's fully mechanised so easy to use.


Instead of a pair of gates being pushed open, the top gate is hoisted out of the way so you can drive the boat in. It's advisable to wait for a couple of minutes for the water to drain off before passing underneath the gate as I found out to my cost when I got showered with cold canal water. I'll know better next time.


The guillotine gate is then lowered behind you and the rest of the lock is manually operated as normal.


This is the weir and sluice gates beside the lock


Once out of the lock we started on the River Witham which is mostly straight with high flood banks and could be considered as boring by some.


The blanket weed that's starting to cover the river is very popular with the wildfowl and if you slow down and wear Polarised sunglasses you can see thousands of fish. We also saw several pairs of Cormorants fishing and hawks hunting above the fields.


In the middle of nowhere is this large sculpture


We're now moored on the new 24hr visitor mooring pontoon at Fiskerton Fen. It isn't marked in our copy of Nickolson's guide so we were pleasantly surprised when we came upon it and also when there was only one other boat there which meant that for the first time for a few days we didn't have to breast up against Vagabond.


It's just about dusk now and it looks like we're in for another spectacular sunset. As we were all sat outside chatting for a long while before dinner I think it might be the perfect time for a stroll round the Fen with Chico before bed. See you tomorrow............