Sunday, 21 May 2017


Today's Navigation - River Witham

It was a beautiful morning, just as had been forecast. It was also quite clear and even our compact camera managed to take a good view of the cathedral some miles away now.

One of the reasons for mooring here at Washingborough was to be able to go to the church service in the village at 11.00. As  a result we had a lazy first part of the day until 10:16 when we walked up Ferry Lane to the village. Alongside we spotted two of the less common chestnuts with pink flowers.

Outside the church is an unusual memorial to a local soldier who died in Afghanistan some 8 years ago.

Outside the church there were some strange characters in the wall! We were greeted by the churchwarden as we wandered around the paths in the churchyard - he also let us know that the Bishop of Grimsby was visiting today to make an unannounced pastoral visit. Most of the 30 or so in the congregations seemed not to have been expecting him today.

Inside there was an exhibition of stained glass sculptures called Glassumimass. In the middle of one hung four translucent uncoloured shapes - initially they looked random shapes until you catch them at just the right angle when in each of them a face can be made out.

The church is also known for its set of Zeppelin windows, high above the nave. They commemorate an occasion when a bomb was dropped on the village, probably when the pilot had lost his way! Afterwards the Rector of the time decided to arrange for these windows to be installed - alas it seem that he was not hot on detail has he got most of the airship numbers wrong!

The service was a straightforward communion at which the bishop preached and presided. Afterwards, most of the congregation did not seem to be keen to talk with him and so we did - as we did not stay for coffee - had quite a chat with him - we found a number of things and people in common.

Back at the boat we changed and had lunch before setting off. Although there was a bit of cloud about, it was a very warm afternoon, which lasted well into early evening.

The river is straight, with just a few gentle bends and high banks. According to Nicholsons, some of the villages which are now about a quarter of a mile away from the river, used to flood regularly before the flood banks were created.

This is very much an arable farming area so it was unusual to see a herd of cattle watering by the river.

We also spotted a heron amongst the reeds.

There one or two sculptures along the Water Rail Way - we almost missed the Cows as they are rather overgrown at the moment , but here is the Corn Sculpture. It was interesting to note that the former railway track is far ore used by walkers and cyclists than boats on the river!

The main interruption to smooth progress today was Bardney Lock. Above, we paused for a Full Service before dropping down to the lower level. A couple of young chaps out baby walking helped close the bottom gates - helpful as it is quite a drop down ladders at the lower lock landing.

There used to be a swing bridge across the centre of the lock but it is currently being dismantled by CaRT.

Almost the only large buildings alongside the river are the parts of the former Bardney Sugar Beet processing factory. That production ceased in 2001 but recently Silver \spoon have enhanced their sugar works and there are also plans for a large bakery to be built here. In the 1930's the buildings were very different (see modelled on the poplar style of mills in many industrial cities and towns.

We were pleased to discover that there is now a Visitor Mooring pontoon at Southrey, on the village side, as well as one outside the pub (currently again closed) opposite. When we arrived, both were completely empty but one boat did join us later.

This gave us an unexpected chance to take a closer look at the former station (whose name board has ling been a propulsion landmark from the water) According to an information panel, it only took about three hours by train from here to Kings Cross when the track was still in existence.

On one of the former platforms is this unusual sculpture created by a Lincoln Hospital rehabilitation group.

An unusual small church is just up the road in the village. Christine explored and discovered that there are 96 houses and 108 residents. Even so, it is said that there is a real community spirit with lots of activities taking place on a daily basis.

8.8 Miles - 1 Lock

1 comment:

  1. Our friends got married in that church last July. It was a fantastic day. We all arrived by boats and had the wedding reception in the pub by the river.