Saturday, 23 June 2012

Marks out of 10?

We’re back at Torksey and the plan is to go from here further downstream on the tidal Trent and turn off at West Stockwith lock onto the Chesterfield canal.  Turning off the river sounds positively scary!  The advice is to do a 180 degree turn before reaching the lock, drift backwards with the ebbing tide until level with the lock and then put on full power and turn into the lock!  There is mention of keeping one’s fingers crossed that paintwork, crockery and image all stay in tact! 

So, The Fossdyke and Witham, having now ‘done it’, – what do we think?

last 007 (600x800)

+ Most of all we have enjoyed the cruise from Lincoln to Boston. I make no secret of the fact that I like being on rivers (I’m not the one who has to cope with currents and weirs etc!!) and, at least whilst we have been on The Witham, it has seemed to be something of a comfortable mid-way point between a canal and a river.  The water has been deep and clean (it’s been a real treat not to be scraping the bottom all the time!) and the supply of visitor pontoon moorings fantastic.  The mooring in the picture is at Fiskerton Fen Nature Reserve where you can sit drinking a cup of coffee and watch barn owls and sedge warblers all at the same time!

Surely all rivers should have safe pontoon moorings like these!  Why The Witham has been singled out for pampering boaters in this way I don’t know.  Why not for example,  The Thames?  The Nene?  The Soar?  The Seven?

+ There are some lovely little villages accessible from the waterway and both Lincoln and Boston are good places to explore.

It’s definitely not a busy waterway – not at this time of the year anyway!  If you are really brave like some other narrow boaters we encountered it is possible to organise to go across The Wash.

- There’s no denying it - it is predominantly straight and that can be a bit boring and the banks are high preventing you to see anything much of the surrounding countryside.

- Services are few and far between.  Mind you, if you travel at a sensible pace and don’t dawdle like us it’s probably very manageable.

- It is a bit of a mission to get to it.  You have to be prepared to go on The Trent and from Cromwell Lock to Torksey it’s tidal and I found it to be rather tedious.  A cruiser owner we were talking to said that he’s working towards covering the distance in an hour but that definitely involves breaking the speed limit and is no way possible for a narrow boat!!

In an article I saved from a magazine in 2009, it says:- 

“If you love remoteness, big skies and room to breathe then head for the Lincolnshire waterways.  You won’t be disappointed.”

We did and we’re not.  8/10


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