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The Tuesday Night Club on Tour


Tour 2004


19 - Boston to Tongue End and back to Surfleet-Seas-End. Tidal River Witham, Tidal Welland Outfall and River Glen.

Monday 7th June 2004

The relief locky arrived at 24:00. It was not Sue, but the locky from Torksey, that was surprised to have locked NB Earnest through only a matter of hours ago! Being a still moonlit night and knowing the Witham / Welland Outfall we decided to go for most of the journey straight off and spend the remainder of the night (or should that be morning???!!!) on the EA Stone Jetty / Stone barge at the end of the Training Wall protected section of the Welland Outfall. 
To enable us to have enough time to punch the last of the fierce (like 4MPH) ebb coming up the Welland Outfall, it was full tilt down on the ebb to Tabs Head, on the Witham Outfall. After a near miss on the mud banks after Boston Docks turning circle, we lost the glare of Boston, and settled down to around 7.5MPH, with the moon clearly showing the outfall mud banks also helped by the sparse red and green marker lights, all with varying flashing codes to tell you exactly where you are. 
At the confluence of the tidal Witham and Welland - Tabs Head, the Tabs Head, Welland, Dolly Peg and Witham markers soon appeared ahead, more like a Xmas tree! It was a very sharp, getting on for full power 270 degree turn at Tabs Head (01:35), then we settled down to nearly full power (2400 RPM), which gave us around 3MPH against the strong ebb. 
With the many flashing port and starboard markers on top of the now visible stone training walls we soon settled down to a bit of easy navigation. As the lights of Fossdyke appeared the twin red marker of the EA Stone Quay were spotted. NO STONE BARGE!!! after loosing the ebb with a bit of gentle power we came along side at 03:00. Neil climbed up the now 25ft barnacle encrusted ladder and after a lot of phaffing about, moored up Earnest with enough rope to allow for another 2ft drop. 4ftish of flattish bottom was under us at that moment...........and then to bed. 
Take off time was to be around 08:00 on the last of the flood, but Neil got up at 06:30 to find the rope trick worked, the taught lines had brought Earnest in against the sheet piles and Earnest had just bottomed on the flat, muddy bottom. Come 06:45 the flood started and we occasionally adjusted the ropes until we finally had come up some 12ft. 
At 08:20 we shoved off. Even on tickover we were doing 7MPH and the "Port" of Fossdyke and the lowish bridge appeared..........other than Fossdyke was no longer, like on our last visit a port!!! a line of shinny new floating pontoons was now Fossdyke Marina!!! After we were through the bridge with plenty of headroom, we slacked off speed, not wanting to arrive at the Glen inlet of Surfleet-Seas-End too early as it does dry out and is a sharpish turn in against the flood. 
Arrival was at 09:15 and we crept right up to the last pole drying mooring by the sluice. The first rising tide level had just been made with Surfleet Sluice (a guillotine, 20ft under the bridge hole inlet, the a set of pointy outer flood gates) as we arrived. We now had to wait for the 11:00 falling tide level. 
We eventually entered the Glen at 11:35, the tide was late ebbing probably due to High pressure. When the outer pointy doors started moving, Richard Creasy the Surfleet Sluice Keeper winched them open, he had already raised the electric guillotine. We then sailed trough the small bridge hole tunnel, between the two sets of gates and onto the River Glen. We had got the last two possible workings of the sluice on this going off Springs part of the tide cycle. There needs to be 3M tide at Surfleet-Seas-End to guarantee a level, the EA only like boats to use the sluice on a falling tide, so no salt gets in the river, it is also safer, because the outer pointy flood doors cannot try to slam shut against an incoming / exiting boat. 
So off we went, only really having the rest of the day to explore the River Glen. Through Surfleet the weed was not a problem, but as we approached the strung out hamlet of Pinchbeck the weed, especially the blanket variety became more of a problem. After Pinchbeck there is no more real habitation. Next came a section where the flood banks were far apart and the river allowed to flow into the water meadows. 
For some strange reason the level seemed up, stinging nettles growing under water, this bode well for at least getting to The 60ft winding point we had spotted on a previous explo day out was by the pumping station at Tongue End, which straddles the now disconnected, but once navigable Bourne Eau, this goes up to the town of the same name. 
The weed was more of the floating variety through this section and Earnest with its slipper stern had easier progress. At the end of the wide section was Guthram Gowt, where the Cathedrals Link with the Black Sluice / South Forty Foot Drain will be. Beyond here the river gets much narrower with more flow and the weed problem disappeared. 
Now it was easy progress up to Tongue End (14:30), but as the going was good Ed egged us on, hoping to get to a possible winding point, by a drain inlet just below Kate's Bridge and the small hamlet of Baston. Just before the final bend there appeared terminal, long spiky rush growth across the river and the flow increased. It was still fairly deep, but then there was a wallop as we passed OVER a sunken rock stone weir. After battling on in this much shallower section we gave up and started the long reverse back (15:20) 
It was out of gear through the rushes and over the weir, Neil managed to "steer" the rudder and skeg through the stones, but there was still a wallop on the bottom plate. After this a controlled descent followed, with Ed and Martin trailing the barge poles from the bow. We actually managed a wind just upstream of the bridge at Tongue End and passed Bourne Eau at 16:30. 
After battling the weed we got back to the "Riverside Mermaid" pub / restaurant at Pinchbeck and moored up on their garden wall (18:50). Unfortunately nobody checked the food situation at the pub BEFORE we all got showered / changed. They would not do food outside and all the tables inside were booked, the Crown pub just across the road was also not doing food. So off we went back downstream at 19:50. 
The "other" Ship Inn at Surfleet was not doing food on Monday / Tuesday, so we carried on straight back to Surfleet-Seas-End sluice "moorings" (NO MOORING and surrounded with the usual excessive EA fencing) and raced of to the newly re-built "The Ship Inn" pub / restaurant (01775 723792), arriving at 08:30. After the excellent meal and pint of Adnams Neil left early and crashed out, the others were a while longer as John Chapman's local boating mate Richard Fairman arrived.

Looking up the Welland Outfall from the EA Stone Quay.

How we found Earnest in the morning at low water. EA Stone Quay, River Welland Outfall.

Looking downstream from the EA Stone Quay, River Welland Outfall.

A hare seen in the early morning at the EA Stone Quay, Tidal Welland Outfall.

Come a few hours of flood we set of upstream from the EA Stone Quay. Tidal River Welland Outfall.

Approaching the Port of Fossdyke. Tidal River Welland Outfall.

The Port of Fossdyke is now a marina! Tidal River Welland Outfall.

Looking back at Fossdyke Bridge. Tidal River Welland Outfall.

The abandoned mooring dolphins above Fossdyke. Tidal River Welland Outfall.

Entering the tidal inlet below Surfleet Sluice, entrance to the River Glen. These characteristic drying out post berths are characteristic of this little inlet. 

Richard Creasy the Surfleet Sluice Keeper winches back the pointy flood gates at the entrance to the River Glen. Surfleet Sluice. Surfleet-Seas-End.

Finally we enter the River Glen through Surfleet Sluice. Surfleet-Seas-End.

River Glen. Looking back at Surfleet Sluice. Surfleet-Seas-End.

Surfleet-Seas-End. River Glen.

Looking back at the Sluice. Surfleet-Seas-End. River Glen.

The furthest of the two narrowboats is NB Daisy, piloted across the Wash by John Chapman a few years back. The other narrowboat on the River Glen is a new addition. Surfleet-Seas-End. River Glen.

The entrance to Pinchbeck Marsh Drain looks welcoming............but is a shade to low for narrowboats. Surfleet-Seas-End. River Glen.

Surfleet-Seas-End. River Glen.

Surfleet-Seas-End. River Glen.

The A16 By-pass Bridge. Surfleet-Seas-End. River Glen.

Looking back at the A16 By-pass Bridge. Pub with landing to the left. Surfleet-Seas-End. River Glen.

Surfleet. Shop / general store to the right. River Glen.

Surfleet. River Glen.

Surfleet. River Glen.

Surfleet Bridge, the lowest on the river. River Glen.

The moorings for "The Riverside Mermaid Inn" at Surfleet. River Glen.

Leaving Surfleet. River Glen.

Approaching Pinchbeck. River Glen.

Pinchbeck. River Glen.

Pinchbeck. River Glen.

Railway Bridge in Pinchbeck. River Glen.

Pinchbeck. River Glen.

Pinchbeck. River Glen.

Pinchbeck. River Glen.

Pinchbeck. River Glen.

Pinchbeck West. River Glen.

Pinchbeck West. River Glen.

Pinchbeck West. River Glen.

The wide section above Pinchbeck. River Glen.

looking back at our channel through the blanket weed. River Glen.

Guthram Gowt. The Cathedrals Link connection with the South Forty Foot Drain will be made here. River Glen.

River Glen.

Remains of railway bridge. River Glen.

Approaching Tongue End. River Glen

Tongue End. The navigable connection with Bourne Eau used to go off here. River Glen.

The sluice exit from Bourne Eau. It is possible to wind a 70ft narrowboat here. River Glen.

Tongue End, the River Glen above Bourne Eau sluice. River Glen.

The River Glen above Tongue End. River Glen.

As far as we got up the River Glen. The hamlet of Baston and Kate's Bridge is just around the corner. River Glen.

The stone weir we went over! River Glen.

We managed to wind above Tongue End. River Glen.

Coming back through Pinchbeck. Note the 100ft long strands of blanket weed! River Glen.

Coming back through Pinchbeck. River Glen.

Coming back through Pinchbeck. River Glen.

Arrival back at Surfleet Sluice. River Glen.

The Tour Continues...

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