Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Farewell Lincoln

Monday dawned dull and cold. Is this really the end of May?? With last minute things completed in Lincoln we dismantled our connection to shore power and followed Nb. What a Lark, the Wally's, off across the Brayford Pool towards the far corner and the start of the R. Witham Navigation.

 Brayford Pool

 We have a green light to indicate that the river levels are fine, rather than it is clear to proceed through the narrows; as it happened the plastic boat coming the other way had a quick panic when confronted by two steel ditch crawlers coming towards him.

Wal makes the turn to go through the Glory Hole ahead of us
 The Glory Hole is created by a bridge that carries the old Roman Ermine Way, now the High Street, with its shops on top across the R. Witham. 

 The Glory Hole from the other side

 The river now passes between shops, offices,  inns and plazas until it reaches Stamp End Lock

 Lisa has prepared the lock for Wal while we hold off.  Concerns about the length of the cill in this lock and the safety of getting a 70' boat through without mishap meant that we were not sharing  the lock. 

 David positions Wal at the diagonal and keeps well forward of the elongated cill.  As it happened there was plenty of depth of water so we could have shared without incident - only when the river levels are low might it cause an issue.

 With Wal away I turned the lock again and Yarwood came in

 Seen en route, eat your heart out Milton Keynes, the R. Witham has a steel cow!
We reached the extensive pontoon visitor moorings above the next lock at Bardney and moored up rather than drop down.

 Walking back to the boat with the dogs..plenty of mooring and shore power should you want it.

NB. Clarence arrived early evening and breasted up to Yarwood

The evening scene...not three bad

Sunday, 24 May 2015

The jewel that is Lincoln!

I knew that Lincoln would be a big hit with my fellow boaters because I have been here a number of times having lived in Lincolnshire in a past life and if you are even a little interested in history this is a City that is packed with it!   If you haven't been to Lincoln because it is off the tourist routes you have missed a real jewel so get yourself here and enjoy.
Five of our eight crew members set off yesterday morning to walk UP the hill to the Tourist Information Office and book ourselves on a City walk. Waiting to cross the road as we left Brayford Pool, the former inland harbour at the base of the City hill we heard the distinct rumble of Harley Davidson motor cycles.  The International Harley Convention was in town and really boosting the tourist takings!

 Happy Harley owners

 Our first point of interest as we will be going through here tomorrow, was the Glory Hole which is our route east out of Lincoln, off the Fossdyke and on to the R. Witham.

 Wending through narrow alleys and steep steps we emerge on the High Street, the former Roman Ermine Way.

 The view along the R. Witham from the High Street

 One of the medieval city gates
Turning left we start to head up the hill towards the Cathedral Quarter and the original Roman and Medievil origins of the City of Lincoln.

 Steep Hill, and well named

 A former medieval bank, The Jews House and Jews Court.  Money lending was the forte of the Jews as Christianity forbad usury in much the same way the Islam does now.  Jews were a welcome addition to commerce and Kings when they needed money and a useful scapegoat when they didn't. Now a restaurant and the place that David, Lisa and I had a splendid lunch.

 Yet another former Jewish establishment.  Its robust construction of thick stone walls where the contempory in mid eleventh century would have been largely oak framed and wattle and daub infill indicates the likely use it was put to, i.e. a bank.
Arriving at the tourist Office we met Vic our guide and it was just us five!  Our extremely well informed and fascinating guide spent two and a half hours introducing us to Roman and medieval Lincoln and it was worth every minute.

 The west facade of the Cathedral.
I knew that the interior of the early churches were highly decorated with wall paintings but what I didn't realise until our guide explained was the exteriors were also highly decorated as well with white stone and rich red and blue and green paints and were a thing to behold. all this decoration was lost at the time of the Puritan Commonwealth, Oliver Cromwell and his cohorts deeming the idols and decoration ungodly and therefore condemned.

 The house occupied by Lady Katherine Swynford of Kettlethorpe Manor, widow of Sir Hugh Swynford, mistress of John of Gaunt and latterly his wife and Duchess.  The house is in Catheral Close and her mortal remains are entombed beneath the High Altar in the Catheral.

 Part of the Roman City wall
After our walking tour Joe and Geoff returned to our respective boats for lunch while Lisa, David and I lunched in town. Post lunch Geoff rejoined us for a tour of the Norman Castle.

Bank Holiday weekend and there was a joust going on as well as demonstrations of medieval crafts.

From atop the castle walls I am looking down on the Georgian fa├žade of the Victorian prison

 Within the precincts of the Castle is the County Court House and the former Victorian gaol. Lincoln Castle remained an administrative centre of Lincoln and although they don't imprison and execute in the grounds any longer justice is still administered here.

One of the two mottes/mounds in Lincoln Castle. This is the Observers tower and the other is the Lucy tower which is now a ruin and a place of burial for those executed at Lincoln Castle.  Public hangings were carried out on the top of Cobb tower where upwards of fifteen thousand spectators would gather to watch some poor sod spend half and hour dangling on a rope in their death throes,  this was in the days before 'the drop' that despatched you quickly by breaking your neck.

View of the west front of the Cathedral and the medieval street pattern laid out below us.
We went off to see the original copy of the Magna Carta in its secure and darkened vault before a refreshing ice cream and the tramp back down Steep Hill to Brayford Pool and our boats. Lovely day, lovely City!

Leaving Saxiby for our stay in Lincoln

After 72 hours at Saxilby it was time to leave and join the rest of the Washers in Lincoln.  I walked the dogs and then took a final wander around the village before Joe and I moved Yarwood across to the water point to fill our tank.  There was going to be water in Lincoln but the boaters wisdom is never to 'pass water',  so generally we don't, you never know the next tap may be out of order.

This dutch barge was just moving off the water as we snuck up behind him.
What a Lark waiting for us to vacate the water point.

We were stopping off at Burton Waters Marina for fuel and as we approached the marina the entrance was made clear to us by a GRP shooting out under our bow. Ah there it is thought Joe as he slammed Yarwood into reverse...or something like that perhaps..  The first plastic was soon followed by his plastic mate who again gave no warning hoot as he pulled out but Joe was ready and although I could see 'ramming speed' flash across  his expression we made the turn in without destroying either boat.

Helpful staff as we fill the generator tank.  75p per litre self declaration.

This looks a very nice marina complex with housing all around and attractively set out moorings,

Sadly the fuel pontoon is designed for higher sided plastic cruisers so Yarwood's newly painted bow flare/side paid the price

We had just finished fuelling when What a Lark arrived to do the same.

On the way out Joe demonstrated the use of the horn to warn other boaters

Turned towards Lincoln we pass the Pyewipe Inn (Pyewipe = Peewit, Lapwing) and the Dutch barge again that had preceeded Wal along the cut.
Foss Dyke into Lincoln

On the approach to Lincoln there are extensive residential moorings  and a real variety of craft both in style and condition.

Rafted up together, Yarwood and WaL almost under the flyover on the Brayford Trust visitor moorings.
We were met by Geoff as we approached and he assisted us to get moored up before WaL arrived and rafted up with us.  Clarence is just behind and Seyella a little further back.  Our £10 a night charge for mooring includes hook-up (shore power) so as I type the washing machine is working through its fourth wash load and I an eying up the dogs beds for a little freshen next.

Day Trip to...the past

One stop north on the rail line from Saxilby is Gainsborough, a town on the R. Trent and once, as with many others, an important inland port.  Now the river traffic has ceased and the wharves gone but on the edge of town is one of the best preserved medieval manor houses in the UK. On Thursday David of Nb.What a Lark went off to London to see the cricket at Lords and Lisa and I jumped on the train to Gainsborough.  We walked up through the town from the rail station and located Old Gainsborough Hall.   The great manor house was built in 1460 or thereabouts and replaced a smaller house just to the north at Ingeby.  Sir Thomas Bough (pronounced bruff) had the place built and the Brough family managed to hold on to it until 1596 when it was sold to a non-conformist London merchant by the name of Hickman. 

The brick wing in the foreground was family accommodation together with the great hall that links the wing to the rear.  The 'wing' at the rear primarily comprises servants quarters, kitchen, pantry's and the like.

The magnificent great hall

Ceiling detail of the great hall

Lisa in the Buttery...not where butter is produced but rather where the butts of beer and ale and wine are kept for serving in the great hall, having been brought up from the cellars and where the butt...ler  has them under lock and key

An enormous medieval kitchen

Bread ovens
Back in the Great Hall after our tour of this fascinating building and there was a class of little people from a school near Boston dressed in historic custom playing lord of the manor and having a grand old time.  Richard III and Henry VIII who had visited this Hall in its heyday might have recognised some of the antics that these children were enacting...

Across the road from the Old Gainsborough Hall is the church of All Saints.  The former medieval church had fallen into disrepair so was rebuilt in 1748 keeping the medieval tower but adding a classical revivalist nave.

Medievil tower

Classical interior with stunning pastel coloured plasterwork
Box pews
With our visit to the Old Hall done we wandered back through the rather sorry and tired town, had lunch at 'Spoons and walked back along the river walk spotting a large length of narrowboat friendly pontoon mooring. Note to self: that this might be useful for a future foray along the Trent!
Gainsborough moorings