Saturday, 14 July 2012

Down to Boston

One thing this wet, miserable summer has been sadly lacking is sunsets. Well, the sun has "set", obviously, but it's usually been behind a bank of thick cloud!  So, I make no apology for posting this picture of the view from Kirkstead Bridge on Thursday night.
Sunset at Kirkstead Bridge

Mark was leaving the boat on Saturday and the easiest place to get away from was undoubtedly Boston, so we made this the target for Friday night - an easy run of  fifteen miles and no locks. We'd be covering this stretch faster than I originally intended but I didn't mind. Saturday is market day in Boston and market towns are always at their best when the market is actually on; there will be plenty of time for exploration on the way back.
This stretch of the Witham is more interesting than some. The river follows a more natural course, with twists and turns to break the monotony. First landmark is Tattershall Bridge. Actually there are two bridges here. The old one (pictured) and a modern bridge alongside that now carries the fast traffic on the A153.

The old bridge at Tattershall

The RAF were out and about practising low-level flying around Dogdyke but they fly too fast for photos! At Chapel Hill we passed the entrance to Kyme Eau, an old navigation that originally linked Sleaford to the Witham, part of which is now restored and navigable again and which I might have a look at on the way back.
It has to be said that the next five miles to Langrick Bridge are rather tedious, being dead straight and with high banks that prevent any wider views. At least going downstream they pass quickly and we were soon at Anton's Gowt, where we stopped for lunch and to have a look at the lock that leads into the Witham Navigable Drains - a network of waterways linking into the Witham that does exactly what it says on the tin.
Anton's Gowt Lock

I had thought that I might take time out to explore some of this network but based on what I could see at Anton's Gowt I must admit I'm rather struggling to drum up enthusiasm for it now. 
A "navigable drain" 
The old railway line that runs along the north bank of the Witham is now a cycleway. In fact it's part of Sustrans route 1 - the Hull to Harwich route, that also forms part of the "North Sea Cycleway" linking (by ferry) with coastal routes in the Netherlands and Denmark to form a circular path. Mark and I only sampled it as far as Boston, to check out the mooring situation there and when we were satisfied we knew where we were going we came back and took Starcross down to Boston, by which time "summer" was over and it was raining again.

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