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The Tuesday Night Club on Tour
Fenland Tour Summer 2001
5 - Southrey to Dogdyke - River Witham, including Catchwater Drain, Timberland Delph and Kyme Eau.
Monday 2nd July 2001
We left Durston Fen Visitor moorings at 08.05, it was already swelteringly hot. John Chapman was in the lead. Metheringham Delph has been bricked up and now just sports a pumping station and two bloody great pipes as outlets, so no cigar there.
First delph / drain that takes JC’s fancy is a plug pointy door jobby, with just enough headroom - Catchwater Drain / Reeds Beck (08.35). This is an unmarked drain on the north bank about a mile and a half from Southrey. This was surprisingly weed free and fairly deep. Frogmoore winded in the junction with Reeds Beck , but Earnest ground on for a few more hundred yards - after all this is what it is all about! Earnest winded OK, at Reeds Beck and we exit at 09.15.
Next Delph to south is Timberland and this looks weed free, we entered the pointy door flood gates at 09.50. Fairly deep and we both make good progress. This was also around 60 ft at the end. When the end was in sight we spotted a two tone grey trad nb, it looked permanently moored, no one was on it. Neil spotted an obviously pre used winding point just in front of this nb. Neil and Earnest passed Frogmoore here and with a lot of dredging using forward and reverse and a fair bit of tree pruning , we actually reach the “Y” junction at the end that is the remains of Car Dyke, the Roman Canal. This was at 10.50.
Frogmoore attempted to emulate Earnest, but soon gave up! After we both winded we set off at increasing speed at 11.15. This was really a lovely spot and with a bit of prop dredging you could get into the bank, like the nb moored here. There were no problems exiting and we hit the River Witham again at 12.00.
Neil decided to give Billinghay Skirth a miss and carry on to his beloved Kyme Eau, with his fingers crossed! Billinghay Skirth looked very weedy and we gave this a go the next day. We arrived at the Kyme Eau entrance at 13.15 and motored up to the flood gate. It looked good beyond, fairly weed free. Frogmoore lead the way. Arrived at Bottom Lock (13.50) and the weirs looked down!!! We have to dredge a channel into lock cut, then sail into the chamber through the one open gate. The lock is full length, with pointy doors at bottom and manual guillotine (locked up with BW padlock) Pete Sykes did the 600 turns and we left the guillotine locked up, for our return.
There was a Sargasso Sea of weed beyond the lock / weir, but it looked fairly free beyond. There was still a fair flow on the river, exiting though one of the three weirs, just cracked open. This was indeed as advised by Nick Billingham the local EA Flood Control Engineer. Frogmoore still in the lead. Peter Brown jumped ship to help the now solo JC.
No trouble through South Kyme, except the flow is fairly fast. Winter floods seemed to have scoured the bottom and kept weed at bay. There was also a lot of evidence of EA surface weed removal, as a lot was dumped on the side. At the end of the South Kyme section there was a magnificent Willow tree, problem is it was COMPLETELY over the navigation. We followed JC's way through with out sustaining damage. No pruning was possible as the lady householder owner of said tree was having a conversation with us. Pete Sykes parted the branches. One comment was that she had never seen such a big boat up here - Neil then gets worried that Beatty sized nb's are the largest that could now wind in front of Cobblers Lock - that is indeed if we ever got there!
After the village a few low bridges were passed, with sharp corners immediately afterwards. Next comes a straight wider section. This was the section we had real trouble with in Beatty in 1997. But no problems this time, the level was still up due to river actually having some flow. Cobblers Lock chamber eventually comes into view. Frogmoore II sails up past the flowing inlet to the north and promptly became stationary in the sticky silty “end”. Neil decided to stick Earnest's STERN into this creek, which was to be our winding point as in 1997. Earnest makes such a splendid job of navigating / clearing this creek that we actually manage a wind, the “wrong” way round.
Neil then decided that as we can actually get back pointing the right way, that Cobbler's Lock chamber will be our next destination! After much forward / reverse of full power, we reverse back passed the southern lock by-weir channel, then spotted a submerged large tree branch. It was difficult to cut a channel round this, but we manage it. Finally at 17.00 we were half in the chamber (after water cleared we could see that the rest is filled with bricks) Mucho digital images / video was taken by Neil and Pete Sykes. Finally at 17.10 and after a de-weed we started off back at rather faster speed!
At 19.50 we exited the Kyme Eau and headed west back to Dogdyke. Neil had to stop for another de-weed and JC overtook us at great gusto. Rather high speed Witham nb racing then ensued - Neil got on the pontoon at Dogdyke first, plenty of room for John! After a shower all round and a bit of Frogmoore maintenance we departed for the “Packet Inn”, directly opposite the BW mooring pontoon. Meal plus beer OK. We retire fairly late to boat and straight to bed.
Leaving Southrey / Durston Fen. River Witham.
NB Frogmoore takes a look at the now blocked up Metheringham Delph. River Witham.
NB Frogmoore enters Catchwater Drain / Reeds Beck. River Witham.
Earnest enters Catchwater Drain / Reeds Beck. River Witham.
Looking back at Catchwater Drain / Reeds Beck entrance. River Witham. (Image Pete Sykes)
Earnests limit of navigation up Catchwater Drain. We have already winded in junction with Reeds Beck and reversed back to this point. River Witham.
Entrance to blocked up Black Horse Drain. River Witham.
Kirkstead Bridge. River Witham.
Leaving Kirkstead Bridge. River Witham.
NB Frogmoore turns to enter Timberland Delph. River Witham.
Earnest enters Timberland Delph. River Witham.
The narrowboat moored at the end of Timberland Delph.
Earnest has to get to the end of Timberland Delph.
Earnest in Car Dyke - looking north, at the end of Timberland Delph.
Earnest in Car Dyke, at the end of Timberland Delph. Pete Sykes on the bow.
Looking south down Car Dyke, which joins the end of Timberland Delph. (Image Pete Sykes)
NB Frogmoore fails to get as far as Earnest! (Image Pete Sykes)
Leaving Timberland Delph.
River Witham - A rare sight - another boat!
Drain opposite White Cottage (O^S 188595 Sheet 122) - pointy gates a bit low for a narrowboat! River Witham.
Tattershall Bridge. Entrance to Billinghay Skirth to right. River Witham.
Entrance to Billinghay Skirth to right. River Witham.
Tattershall Bridge. River Witham.
Old Tattershall Bridge and Visitor Mooring pontoon. River Witham.
Entrance to Dogdyke. Hornblowers restaurant / pub, then Packet Inn. River Witham.
Looking back at Packet Inn and Dogdyke Visitor Mooring pontoon. River Witham.
Entering Kyme Eau at Chapel Hill.
Looking back at The Kyme Eau flood doors.
Dismantled bridge at Bridge Farm. Kyme Eau.
Bottom Lock. Kyme Eau.
Bottom Lock. Kyme Eau.
Leaving Bottom Lock. Kyme Eau.
Terry Booth Farm. Kyme Eau.
Bottom Bridge has had a recent new deck. South Kyme. Kyme Eau.
South Kyme. Kyme Eau.
South Kyme, looking back at Bottom Bridge. Kyme Eau.
Rebuilt bridge in South Kyme. Kyme Eau.
The rather overgrown willow in South Kyme. Kyme Eau.
The first footbridge after South Kyme is in here somewhere! Kyme Eau.
Second footbridge after South Kyme, by the priory. Kyme Eau.
looking back at the second footbridge after South Kyme, by the priory. Kyme Eau.
Bailey Bridge after South Kyme. Kyme Eau.
Looking back at South Kyme and remains of priory. Kyme Eau.
Ferry Bridge at Halfpenny Hatch. Kyme Eau.
Pumping station just before Cobblers Lock. Kyme Eau.
NB Frogmoore winding in second stream entrance. Kyme Eau / Sleaford Navigation.
Earnest in Cobblers Lock chamber. Kyme Eau / Sleaford Navigation.
Earnest in Cobblers Lock chamber. Kyme Eau / Sleaford Navigation. (Image Pete Sykes)
Looking back from Cobblers Lock chamber - notice that there is a lock waiting stage! Kyme Eau / Sleaford Navigation.
Ready for the return - looking back at Cobblers Lock. Kyme Eau / Sleaford Navigation.
The stinky sea of weed above Bottom Lock. Kyme Eau.
Bottom Lock Weir. Kyme Eau.
Exiting the Kyme Eau flood doors.
The Packet Inn, Dogdyke. We are in the conservatory. River Witham.
The Packet Inn, Dogdyke. River Witham.
The Tour continues
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