Monday, May 09, 2011

The Navigable Drains

I had a lovely time this weekend with Allan and Debbie on ‘Keeping Up’ and Smudge, Purple Fairy and Beth on ‘Fairies wear Boots’. We set off down the Witham and at Anton's Gout locked down onto the navigable drains.  The Navigable Drains have attracted my attention for some time, so it was wonderful to be able to join in a cruise for the weekend. There is a map here and info about the fun and games the Tuesday Night Club had here can be found here

I was told that the River Witham is long and straight but I witnessed a couple of corners. I rather liked it. Smudge knew how far we were down it because of the mile posts – this says something about the variability of the scenery!

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This boat was a sorry sight with a sorry tale. It used to help out at Dunkirk. No-one knows who owns it now:

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The first day we turned right after Anton’s Gowt and headed along Firth Bank Drain before turning left and heading up to New Bolingbroke Drain. We reversed down here which was a jolly good thing as it got very shallow and there was quite a bit of weed about. DSC09273

There was enough room for us to moor side by sideDSC09283

after wobbling over the gang plank we headed over to the village for a lovely evening and meal in the pub. It was well worth the walk, but in that company any walk is worth it!  We left just as the band were starting to really warm up and who were actually really rather good.

In the morning we set off to see this:DSC09287

Followed by quite a bit of this:

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So Alan and I bowhauled Keeping Up until the water got deeper with the assistance of Debbie keeping us off the sides.

The drains are varied and quite interesting really, especially as the mind has freedom to wander. DSC09306 Some of the bridges were pretty low and cars stopped to see the boats going under.DSC09304

Keeping up had about 2 inches more clearance than the Fairies so I looked back with interest each time it was a tight squeeze to see how they were getting on.

The water levels were too high to get through this:

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There wasn’t nearly as much weed as I had expected, but there were patches we drifted through:

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The lads in the car on the bridge were busy telling us there was a low bridge which was actually a tube:DSC09350

which seemed to get lower as we got closer:

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but there was actually quite a lot of room in the end – for us…

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I was pleased to see the Fairies made it through too

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after winding we came back:

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I was amazed we fitted through the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it the second:

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A swan swam in front of us for a while and as we got closer it would run ahead, fly up and land ahead for whereupon the cycle started again.

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There was great relief all round when we went under this pipe bridge – it was MEANT to be the lowest of all and there was a strong possibility one or both of the boats wouldn’t have got through. The relief in Smudge’s voice when I radioed back to say it had heaps of clearance was very apparent!DSC09448

We locked back up to the Witham and headed home:

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I had a fantastic weekend, the water was wonderful, the drains fascinating and the company perfect! Thank you everyone!

2 Comments:

Blogger Captain Ahab said...

Great post Bones. Lived in Boston and we took WB there 3 years ago. Too wet and water levels too unpredictable for us to venture into the drains. All the more reason to go back one day.

9:05 PM  
Blogger WeepingCross said...

That looks almost too exciting!

8:53 PM  

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