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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Return to the Water Rail Way

The path runs alongside the River Witham for most of it's length between Lincoln and Boston, a distance of about 33 miles.
It seems further than that.
The Water Rail Way forms a section of NCN Route 1, and was four years under construction between 2004 and 2008. During that period, we were privileged to go along to several of the opening ceremonies and rode various lengths of the route as they became available.
It is an attractive route with no hills, and  the road sections having very little traffic. You are seldom far from the waters of the River Witham and the path has a wonderful collection of outdoor artwork on it's verges. Generally the surfaces are good with tarmac for much of the way. There is a rather claggy stretch across fields near Bardney, but this is described as the "Summer Route" and there is an alternative on-road and signed route described as the "Winter Route".
Having cycled various bits of the path, I had an urge to ride the whole route one day, and an opportunity presented itself last week, so off I went to Woodhall Spa which is conveniently midway between the magnificent edifices of Lincoln Cathedral and Boston Stump, having an excellent camp site, together with other basic requirements such as shops, and even has a cinema, which for some reason unknown to me, is spelled in the old fashioned way "kinema". (The spell-checker didn't like that!)
Thursday morning dawned cloudy but dry, so it was off to Lincoln along the path, passing several places which I recognised from previous occasions, though strangely quiet compared to the high excitement of the opening ceremonies.
It was interesting to see the artwork, some of which I had seen before and some of which was new to me. In particular I like the cattle and the sheep, both constructed by welding bits of scrap metal to the shape of these animals.
This must be the ultimate in re-cycling and although one day they will disintegrate into little piles of ferrous oxide, that will be many years hence.
These sculptures are virtually vandal proof, that is, unless the wholesale price of scrap metal goes through the roof.
Imagine taking one of these to your local scrap metal dealer. "Where did you get this then?"
"I found it on the cycle path."

Arriving eventually in the shadow of Lincoln Cathedral, I found the cafe recommended by the camp site warden and tucked into a fine roast beef lunch for £4.95, before making my way back to Woodhall Spa, too tired even to visit the kinema (whoops - spelling!).
Friday turned out to be an even better day, with wall-to-wall sunshine ideal for my ride to Boston.
This part of the Water Rail Way includes quite a stretch of road, in typical Lincolnshire fashion dead straight, reaching to the horizon and beyond, but in the distance the silhouette of Boston Stump standing proudly above the surounding fenland.
Some excitement en route however, since the route lies beneath the flight path of RAF Conningsby, where Typhoon aircraft are based. So an enjoyable half hour watching them coming in to land.
The local inhabitants, even the ducks, are so used to them that they don't even look up as the planes swoop across the flat landscape, with landing gear down and engines screaming, above their heads. Only visitors like me (known as grockels locally) have time to stand and stare.

So, in conclusion, I have to add the Water Rail Way to my increasingly long list of "Favourite Rides".
Highly recommended as a two-day leisurely paced ride as  I did, or perhaps in one day by train from Derby to Boston, and cycle the WRW to catch a return train home from Lincoln.

Further notes
The cafe in Lincoln is "Jenny's" in Saltergate. That is close by the Guildhall.
The Typhoons fly only on weekdays. Unless WW3 is declared over a weekend.
The Battle of Britain Flight Exhibition (at RAF Conningsby) is not open at weekends.
Good cafe in Boston is the Church Cafe, which is (would you believe) near to Boston Stump.
And, if you have time, you can climb to the top of Boston Stump (272ft) from where you can see the coast of Norfolk and Lincoln Cathedral.
For comparison Derby Cathedral stands 212ft high and Salisbury Cathedral a magnificent 404ft.


Trexrider said...

For edification of Rangers, Kinematics has nothing to with Photography and everything to do with Cycling (or should that be Kycling).

Definition - Kinematics (from Greek κινεῖν, kinein, to move) is the branch of classical mechanics that describes the motion of bodies (objects) and systems (groups of objects) without consideration of the forces that cause the motion.

I guess it is the bike without the rider – as so often happens :-))

Les Sims said...

Fancy that!