The one drawback with mooring at Bardney is the complete loss of signal for the phone and internet connection. Consequently the following though written on Tuesday, I’ve only managed to transmit today on arrival at Lincoln. I hope you don’t get too muddled whilst trying to sort out the chronology of it all!
Tuesday 24th May
Boston to Bardney
We finally left the quiet and pleasant Boston moorings yesterday morning. The Sun was shining beautifully in an almost cloudless sky as we got underway and there was just the very softest of breezes blowing from the west in little flurries.
However this idyllic situation was not to last, for within the hour the sky had covered over with large cotton wool cumulus cloud, misleadingly white on the top but looking black beneath and the wind increased rapidly from the west to gale force. Relatively speaking ‘Futurest’, with her small draft, no keel and high windage was at its mercy and for most of yesterday we were heading at about forty five degrees towards the west bank of the river in order to compensate and maintain our course down the centre.
One had to concentrate at the helm all the time though, as one could never rely on the fickle breeze remaining constant. At one minute the gale would be screaming across the river at force 8 but within seconds it would drop to nothing meaning that the course was then over-compensated by forty five degrees. So if one’s attentiveness had wavered at that particular moment one could rapidly find oneself within seconds crashing heavily into the west bank as a result.
I had to keep alert until we reached Tattershall Bridge moorings, where at about two o’clock, I was happy to call it a day.
Though there is nothing here except a modern steel and concrete road bridge that replaces its more beautiful arched red brick predecessor, which still stands nearby but is no longer used, it was very quiet, except for the whistling of the wind around the ship, the groan of the floating pontoon as it worked against its pylons and the creak of the mooring lines as they strained to hold ‘Futurest’ snugly alongside.
Inevitably the stormy shower came in the end and for ten minutes we were bombarded with the sound of heavy rain battering the steel roof and sides of the ship. However the noise of the downpour on the vinyl cratch cover I found quite soothing as well as thrilling, especially when no rain got inside at all.
Afterwards the sky cleared of all cloud and the wind died to nothing, presenting to us a very beautiful evening. Such a contrast to the day.
By the moorings there are one or two houses and a pub that was open but not very busy. I couldn’t see anybody inside at all but the doors were open and the lights were on. There was a shop that sells fishing tackle only, an old red post box of G VI R vintage and a sign outside another house saying ‘Fresh Eggs for sale’. I bought a dozen of these this morning before I left and plan to try a couple of them tonight.
The Calm after the Storm at Tattershall Bridge
Tattershall Bridges to Bardney
This morning having bought my eggs, which look beautiful, we were underway at ten and the weather followed a similar pattern to yesterday; there were few clouds and no wind as we left the moorings, but within the hour it was blowing a gale. However the going wasn’t quite so bad since the changed direction of the river meant that today we were heading more directly into the wind. We made good progress and arrived here at the Bardney Pontoons at two o’clock. Since that time, the wind has died completely once more and the Sun shines contentedly from a white, blue and shades of pink mottled sky. A few minute ago I took some photos of the sunset.
The elegant Dog Rose
Two nice surprises today! One was the sighting of an Arctic Tern. They are not usually found inland but we are not that far from the North Sea here so he wasn’t so out of place. With his black capped head I thought at first he was a Little Gull, which I’ve seen plenty of on this river. Their size and markings are similar but in this case there was no mistaking the long tail streamers of the Arctic Tern as he soared with little apparent effort in the wind. It was a wonderful display!
The second surprise was the sighting of a single Whooper Swan on the bank. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera ready since he looked just like a Mute Swan as we approached; about the same size and with the familiar long slim neck. It wasn’t till we were abeam of him that I noticed his bill was very different to that of his cousin. There was no indentation at the top where there is usually a black bulge on the Mute Swan; the predominantly yellow bill presented a straight profile from the top of his pure white head to the end of his bill, which was tipped with a contrasting black. It could have been a Bewick Swan which has a similar bill in shape and colour, but this I am told is a much smaller bird with a shorter neck. However by the time I had my camera ready for shooting he was way astern of us and with his back to us looked just like a Mute Swan again.
This is a problem with the ordinary digital camera; it is never ready for use whenever one needs it. If one leaves it on, after a while it switches itself off to conserve battery power and in one’s haste to take the next picture this isn’t noticed. But even if it is still on when it is picked up, it takes so long, after the trigger has been pushed, to get focussed and set up that nearly always the photographic opportunity has been lost forever. Nonetheless they are good! The benefit is that so many pictures can be taken that by the law of averages, one or perhaps even two, might turn out to be real gems.
Sunset at Bardney Moorings