Saturday, April 24, 2004

Walk 101 -- Moulton Marsh to Boston

Ages: Colin was 61 years and 352 days. Rosemary was 59 years and 129 days.
Weather: Hot and sunny – like Summer!
Location: Moulton Marsh to Boston.
Distance: 12 miles.
Total distance: 783 miles.
Terrain: Grassy river banks ’twixt marsh and fields – we never saw the sea!
Tide: Out.
Rivers to cross: No.36, the Welland at Fosdyke Bridge.
Ferries: None.
Piers: None.
Kissing gates: None.
Pubs: ‘The Ship’ at Fosdyke Bridge where we drank Bateman’s XB and a shandy.
‘English Heritage’ properties: None.
Ferris wheels: None.
Diversions: None.
How we got there and back: We were camping at Lutton, near Long Sutton. We drove – with bikes on the back of the car – from Lutton to Fosdyke Bridge. Then we followed lanes to the southern outskirts of Boston, doing our cycle route backwards so that it would be easier to remember. We were delighted to find that the exact route I had worked out from the map when at home was signposted all the way as ‘Cycle Route 1’. We parked at the back of an industrial estate near the river – there was absolutely no one about since it was Saturday. We cycled to Fosdyke Bridge, and agreed that this was the most pleasant part of the day – along little twisty lanes through tiny hamlets, completely flat and signposted all the way. After the bridge we decided to go on the river bank because it was a bridleway. It was a bit bumpy – especially the mole heaps! We chained our bikes to a fence in the Nature Reserve, and walked out to the sea wall.
At the end, we left the river bank and walked a mere fifty yards to our car. After drinking our tea, we drove back to Moulton Marsh to collect our bikes. Then we drove almost all the way back to Sutton Bridge to visit a ‘real ale’ pub which was in the Guide.
The next day, we packed up camp and returned home.

We started today’s trek by walking round ‘The Horseshoe’ nature reserve. Nothing of note to see in it, but we emerged on to the river bank which was covered in cowslips—it was really beautiful. We found a spot in the shade – for it suddenly seemed to be Summer – and had our lunch. A little further on we came upon a magnificent flowering bush — Spring has really sprung at last!
We walked along the river bank – dead straight – until we got to the pub at the bridge. When we came out of there, Colin started marching back the same side of the river – he had forgotten we hadn’t crossed the bridge! (‘Senior moment’ there.) Fosdyke Bridge was nothing to write home about, so we didn’t even bother to photograph it. We continued in a North-Easterly direction on the left river bank back to ‘The Wash’. Again, we never saw the sea all day. Marshes to the right of us, fenland ‘factory’ farming to the left of us. One word sums up today’s Walk—BORING!
Mind you, we did see quite a lot of wildlife along the way—lots of hares, a heron or two, Colin saw a short-eared owl, we saw peewits, pink-footed geese, shelducks, oystercatchers, mallards, tufted ducks, skylarks, swallows (is it really Summer, then?), partridges, a small tortoiseshell, small whites, peacock butterflies and a brimstone. We can’t complain, really. There were lots of people about, mostly walking their dogs, because it was Saturday. But it was just extended river bank until we met the next river—the Haven which leads into Boston. We crossed the Greenwich Meridian three times which left us in the Eastern Hemisphere once more, but we didn’t really notice it. Unlike yesterday, there were no ‘shortcuts’ across the inlets so we had to walk the full course as per the map.
We came to a T-junction where we met ‘The Haven’ and turned left towards Boston. We could have turned right, but that was a dead-end and we didn’t choose to walk it on the grounds that it would be just as boring as everything we had walked so far. (Additional rule no.2) We soon came across a field of shire horses with their foals. That was the best thing that had happened to us all day. They were gorgeous! Shire horses are often called ‘gentle giants’, and these didn’t seem to be at all aggressive even though we had to walk right through their fields. The foals were exceptionally lovely!
Ever since we had crossed Fosdyke Bridge, we had been on the ‘Macmillan Way’ – one of the myriad of waymarked footpaths which criss-cross our country in this day and age. Well, we passed a sewage works, a dump, a landfill site and an industrial estate—you smell it, they’d got it! Who was this Macmillan fellow, anyway? I declared that if anyone named such a Walk after me when I’m gone, I would regard it as an insult! (I later found out that the ‘Macmillan Way’ crosses the country from Dorset to Lincolnshire in memory of the Macmillan of cancer-care fame. I still maintain they could have found a pleasanter entry to Boston.) We crossed the Greenwich Meridian for the fifth time in two days, leaving us in the Western Hemisphere to enter Boston.
Over a stile, and at last the air was cleaner—no necessity to wrinkle the nose anymore. We passed several factories, and soon came upon the one where we had parked our car earlier.

That ended Walk no.101, we shall pick up Walk no.102 next time by the industrial estate south of Boston. After drinking our tea, we drove back to Moulton Marsh to collect our bikes. Then we drove almost all the way back to Sutton Bridge to visit a ‘real ale’ pub which was in the Guide, before returning to our campsite at Lutton.
The next day, we packed up camp and returned home.

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