Wednesday 13th May 2015 Black Bart has only just begun cruising today, and we are leaving the Fossdyke Navigation, via ‘Brayford Pools’, cruising along the (narrow for now) Witham Navigation, passing through ye olde ‘Glory Hole’ (bridge c.1160) (houses on bridge c.1540) travelling through lower Lincoln, making for the upper Guillotine gate of Stamp End lock, as the beautifully dominant Cathedral keeps its gaze over us.
Helpful CRT peoples assist with lock operation. Bart descends (with cill marker uncomfortable close, but water depth is sufficient to prevent an ‘incident’)
The navigation widens to become a wonderful companion to all (not that there were many) boaters, particularly with warm sunny conditions.
Three swans didn’t like being chased by Bart, so made their ‘graceful’ departure, and not for the first time.
Interesting sites enroute today, and troublesome top gates at Bardney lock after pulling over for a refill of the fresh wet stuff as we is nearly empty and could start to become smelly if unable to wash. Bardney lock was a tad naughty with upper gates refusing to close completely, so very ‘leaky’ when trying to empty lock.
After a couple of lock refill and upper gate re-close attempts we gave up, accepting the extra flow of water behind Bart. Less than a mile and Bardney Village floating visitor moorings provide Bart & crew with a pleasant stop-off. Great personal play area for Roxy to chase her ball and play with her favourite ‘stick’. Very enjoyable cruise today, on a calm, wide river.
Thursday 14th May
One of those occasional ‘rest’ days.
Walked to the lovely village of Bardney.
Bought tasty foodies from pie shop. Looking forward to those.
Friday 15th May We is off again, continuing South East, cruising to Kirkstead bridge nr. Woodhall Spa to meet Mum & Dad who have driven ‘up’ from deepest darkest Kent to spend the weekend with us on Black Bart. Had a drink in the railway hotel/pub, then Bart is making good progress along the mighty fine, wide Witham Navigation in gorgeous weather.
It is great to see old station buildings from the (unfortunately) ‘dismantled railway’ have been saved and are now wonderful homes. Thomas & friends choo-chooed their way with passengers along the banks of the River Witham between Lincoln & Boston. Now no more !!
On arrival in Boston, we wind Bart round, short of the tidal Grand Sluice lock and moor ‘on’ one of the short finger pontoons. Black Bart is sticking out quite a bit, but at least we is ‘ere. Then the Fabulous Steak pie (Bardney), mash, vegs and gravy. Lovely dinner !!! Carrot cake & ice cream. Lovely pud !!!
Saturday 16th May Chilling in windy Boston today. Off to investigate the city. The Grand Sluice lock keeps the tidal Witham at bay. Quite amazing, with the tide out. The change in water level is significant. ‘Boston Stump’ is the prominent feature of the Boston skyline. This being the grand tower of the magnificent St. Botolph’s Church.
‘Light lunch’ at the White Swan Hotel. Very Tasty. Thanks Mum&Dad. Back to Bart. ‘Helped’ NB ‘Ziggy’ as she came into moor. Walked Roxy along tow path for ball & (her personal favourite) plastic ‘stick’ chasing. She keeps after that ‘stick’, even when she’s k-nackered and panting like mad. Back to Bart, Chat to lovely couple on NB ‘Ziggy’ (who tracked Bart when we cruised the tidal Trent from Cromwell lock over a week ago). Bart & Ziggy keep leap-frogging each other. Now they are happily moored next door to each other. This evening we’re off to Witham Tavern for din-dins. Yum-Yum. Top marks. Short walk from Boston visitor moorings. Highly recommended. Very tasty. Thanks Mum & Dad. Again !!
Sunday 17th May Boston gradually dissappears in our ‘rear view mirrors’, as we start to re-trace our ‘steps’ back towards Lincoln, and beyond….
We are not venturing out onto the ‘Wash’. You need a pilot if you choose to.
Bart is chugging off, in the opposite direction. Cloudy & Windy today as we cruise back to Kirkstead Bridge. Not much boating ‘traffic’ today.
Bart finally manages to escape those heavy clouds as we near our mooring location.
Mr Sun is out. Windy outside, but lovely and warm inside Black Bart.
Roxy enjoys sharing her sofa, occasionally.
Monday 18th May Very wet since the early hours. Still raining as we leave for lunch at the Railway Hotel, Kirkstead. OH !! NO !! it’s closed. Doesn’t open till later. Hop in the car and ready ourselves for the long journey to Woodhall Spa…… Are we nearly there yet ?? Feels like we have been travelling for ages….. Finally, we arrive ! finding the dog friendly ‘Mall’ pub/restaurant. Tasty grub is had by all. Thanks Mum & Dad for a Lovely weekend enjoying some time on Black Bart with us. The lovely sun has been creaping out from behind those clouds, so after we wave Mum&Dad goodbye we start the very long walk home to Bart.
The Wonderful Memorials to 617 Squadron rightly demand our attention before we leave Lovely Woodhall Spa.
Tuesday 19th May Shall we stay or Shall we go. We thinks – Will stay here for anudder day as there be heavy showers and gusty winds in them Lincolnshire hills.
Wednesday 20th May We’re on our way. Heavy grey clouds, still windy. Feels quite chilly at the helm. Not as warm as expected. Bart cruises at good speed for the first seven miles or so. As we negotiate the ‘shicane’ stepping across, under the railway bridge on the final approach to Bardney lock we moor to refill water tank. Water points are few and far between on the rivers we have been cruising since Kings lock south of Leicester, so you be foolish if you miss a water point. Large floating grass islands have delayed two plastic pigs trying to ascend the lock, which was full of the not so little green things. Very difficult removing them. Unfortunately for them, we arrived just too late to help much. We followed their eventual ascent, only cruising one more mile to moor at the beautiful location that is Fiskerton Fen. Just to make it even better the clouds have broken up and we is bathed in sunlight.
Thursday 21st May Enjoying this lovely setting today. Warm with sun repeatedly peaking out from behind those lovely white clouds.
Roxy wins the ‘touch your nose with your own tongue’ competition so receives first prize !!! Yeh !!
Friday 22nd May Warm but cloudy, cruising to a little place we know. Lincoln. People who have not yet visited this Wonderful place need to right that wrong. In fact, we must add, all boating peoples should cruise the Fossdyke and Witham Navigations. Well worth the time taken to travel here to these particular waterways.
Half an hour after we set off this morning, We have a BIG Scare !!! Our little ‘girl’ Roxy ends up in the river, off at the stern. Don’t think she’s swam before. After going under a couple of times she proves she can swim. Thank Goodness. We slow Bart down. Not a quick process. Reverse a little and then shut old Lister down completely. Don’t want any risk of any propeller movement as she swims back towards the stern. Roxy looks at and then turns towards the river bank but we encourage her to continue back toward us/Bart where she is finally hoiked out the river. All three of us are VERY Relieved !!! Roxy dislikes water, except that wot sits in her water bowl. She is very soggy, cold and shivering, but at least she is safely on board. Swiped off the stern, unknowingly by skip’s big feet. Standing right behind me, paws on the edge of the apron. Surprised she’s not been in before now. Swam approx. Two Bart lengths. What a Gorgeous girl our Roxy is.
In answer to the bridge’s questions – “We have been cruising the Wonderful Witham Navigation” & “We are now going to cruise our way back along the Fantastic Fossdyke Navigation, to re-negotiate the Tiring Tidal Trent”. Fun ! Fun !! FUN !!!
Black Bart has cruised the return waterway journey from Lincoln to Boston, travelling through two (Yes. 2) locks (twice. We Know, it makes you dizzy) & covering 31 miles (each way) of the Beautiful Wide Witham Navigation.