Starcross had been left in Lincoln while I'd been home for a few days. I wasn't entirely happy with where I'd left her, but there wasn't a lot of choice in Lincoln and the mooring rings set into the wall between the inner ring road bridge and Stamp End Lock was the best I could find. I'm sure there must be a reason why space for visitors cannot be found in the vast expanse of Brayford Pool, but I'm damned if I know what it is.
I'd planned a route from Lancaster on the rural line that traverses the Yorkshire Dales to Leeds via Skipton combined with a cheap advance ticket thence to Lincoln via Doncaster. The plan fell apart at the first hurdle with a signal failure at Carnforth stopping all south and eastbound trains for most of the morning. When a London train eventually arrived passengers for "all southbound destinations" were advised to board it. London trains are busy at the best of times and with all the extra passengers now desperate to get away from Lancaster I was lucky to get a standing space.
At Preston I thought I was lucky to find that the 11.11 to Manchester was still there despite it being 11.13. Rushing over to platform two I soon discovered why: it had no driver! Eventually we got away (although again there were no seats) and had a reasonable run down to Manchester but we arrived just one minute too late to make the last connection to Leeds that would get me there for my booked train. At this point I decided a change of plan was in order so diverted to Sheffield on an East Midlands train, which was fine and even had seats available except that on a hot day the air conditioning had predictably failed. Equally predictably, Northern Rail's offering for the hour-and-a-half long run to Lincoln was a "Pacer" - a most uncomfortable type of train developed in the 1980s as a cheap and nasty stopgap until the lines they ran on could be closed down but which thirty years later have no replacements in sight.
At least my fears for Starcross' safety were unfounded and as usual when I leave her somewhere and find her safe and well on my return I wondered what all the fuss was about. I'd arranged to meet Bernard in Saxilby in the morning for our trip back up the Trent so after a quick visit to the sanny station I was soon heading back up the Fossdyke and claiming the last space at the Saxilby visitor moorings, slotting in between a widebeam and a small cruiser in a space no more than three inches longer than Starcross herself - a manoeuvre executed perfectly, despite there being an audience!