Thursday, 19 May 2011

The 'Boston Stump'

‘Futurest’ and I arrived in Boston early yesterday afternoon and are tied up quietly to a floating pontoon that is the British Waterways’ Visitor moorings.
We are right at the edge of the town. Ahead of us is the tall tower of St Botolph’s Parish Church known affectionately as the ‘Boston Stump’, which was visible for miles along the straight course of the river as we approached yesterday, while behind us is the lush green, flat and fertile wilderness of the Fenlands.
Along the right hand side of the river opposite to where we are moored is a mature tree lined road with Victorian built detached houses, indicating the heritage of an old prosperous town, while the river itself, though there is no longer any sign of commercial vessels on it that helped produce this affluence, is filled now with large white leisure cruisers and the odd narrowboat such as ourselves indicating to some degree that the town is still flourishing.

The Moorings at Boston with the ‘Stump’ in the Background

The River Witham at low tide below the ‘Grand Sluice’ Lock

On the passage yesterday from Chapel Hill to Boston the most memorable part is that it was composed of three long lock-less stretches of wide river as straight as they could possibly be with the end of the longest, of about five miles, all but disappearing over the horizon. Perspective certainly made the end of the reach too small to see with the naked eye. It was a different boating experience entirely to that which I am used to on my own small and meandering South Oxford Canal.
But it was quiet and peaceful and apart from the wildlife we never saw another soul to disturb our reveries. The Sun was shining mostly in a fluffy white and blue sky while the cold north westerly breeze that we have been experiencing for days now, decided to veer into the infinitely warmer south western sector.
Life all around seemed pretty good!

Evening twilight on the Witham from Boston

I have just been reminded this morning that I possess a first class guide of this area. My good friend Robin, who now lives in Queensland Australia, has just emailed me. Robin and I go back a long way but this morning he has been telling me of his boyhood days living in this area of Lincolnshire. He and I were in the Merchant Navy together and the last time we met was fifty one years ago on a ship called the ‘Gladstone Star’. We sailed together then and the voyage was quite memorable. In about a month’s time Robin and his wife Jan are coming to the UK for a holiday so I hope we shall be able to meet up sometime/somewhere before they have to return to Oz.
It will be delightful to see you again Robin!


Naughty-Cal said...

Glad to see that they have finally gotten rid of the rickety old fixed finger pontoons down there and put some proper moorings in. We have had some nasty incidents with the old moorings and projecting bolts and other assorted iron mongery.

Our paths may well cross next week if you are still around. We are heading out from Burton Waters on Friday evening and need to make it to Boston by midday on Saturday to meet our tide to Wells.

We will keep an eye out for you but will most probably be too rushed to stop and say hello.

Old Salt said...

We are bound to meet. I'm leaving Boston on Friday morning bound for Lincoln. Even at the speed I shall be rushing at, I don't think I shall be past Burton Waters by the time you leave.. HA HA!
All the best

eric.leech1 said...

I lived in Boston for 11 years before moving South 4 years ago. It is actually a lovely market town with a typical town square where they hold two markets every week (Wednesday & Saturday). It is one place we would re-visit if and when we ever get the opportunity to become Fulltime Liveaboards.

Naughty-Cal said...

Old salt.

Its next week we leave. Same for you?