Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cycling from Hull to Cambridge over Two Days via Sustrans 1 - Day 1 Lincoln to Boston part 1

What follows is a bit of a picture-fest - the last third of the journey from Hull to Boston was delightful - this was Sustrans at its best. Once again most of an old railway line had been put to good use as a linear wildlife, cycling and walking path providing a safe route from Lincoln to Boston along the old Water Railway, more information is also available from Sustrans. As a result I have took loads of pictures on the way - some of which appear in this Post and in part 2 of this post. I put in so many pictures that my Blog editor - Zoundry had problems displaying them.

It was quite easy finding the route out of Lincoln using my SatNav and I soon found myself on the route - an old railway line. The surface was covered in tarmac - but was not too pleasant to cycle along at least at first. I don't suppose they want to encourage cyclists to go too fast and there is certainly a lot to see along the path.


Along the route there were loads of Information Boards giving snippets of local history and I must have stopped at every one of them. I took photographs of all of them so I could read them at my leisure - at one point I wondered if I would ever get to Boston there were so many things to look at along the path.

As is often the way rivers provided the first communication routes, with railways following on at a later date. Trains cannot easily climb steep hills and so river valleys provide ideal paths. I assumed, without checking that there was around 30miles / 48Km to go on the journey, as the sign says, before the railway was built in 1848 you could either go by horse and cart or take a Steam Packet boat to Boston. Apparently it took around 6 hours each way and free entertainment on board was offered it was so competitive. Sounds a bit like flying to New York now - it takes around 6 hours and they have in-flight entertainment.


The advantage of the railway was that it was much quicker the journey one way was just 1 hour and 20 minute and cheaper and more comfortable to boot. Not many people say that about the railways nowadays. Inevitably the existence of the railway line caused a slow decline in the traffic along the river, although good were still carried into the 1950s.


This photograph shows how the line split at this point - probably for sidings.


The bike now standing at the Bardney Station will leave after some jelly babies have been consumed.


The weather was pretty reasonable although a little overcast there were quite a few towns and villages just up past the river's floodplain.


This is a picture of Lincoln Cathedral looking back along the river.


Nowadays the river is once again being used for tourist traffic.


There were quite a few bits of art along the way - I am not sure what this is supposed to represent.


As I approached this "sculpture" I assumed that they were joined it wasn't until I took the photograph did I realise that they were separate stalks.


The Fishtail milestone raises its ugly, well Fishtail, once again,


There were some beautiful views out to the Lincolnshire countryside.


Another of the trail sculptures.


Bardney lock - even when the train was running depending upon which side of the river you lived on it was necessary to get a ferry boat as there were not that many bridges in those days.


A typical railway bridge of its day, although I presume that this was a single line rail it was common for there to be two railway tracks in stations to allow trains to pass and as this bridge was near to the station it had to accommodate two tracks.


The river provided an important source of food for the locals


Sheep grazing in the field mind you sheep normally prefer shorter grass to nibble on.


At one point the cycle route detoured from the railway line at Bardney - there appeared to be a Sugar Beet factory in the way. Here there were two options a wet and a dry weather route. For once the wet weather route was a bit shorter than the alternate route. A small deer dashed past me as I cycled along this track.


It soon returned to the course of the original railway line - but was presumably "shared" with local farmers and not surfaced.


Mind you that was not for long it then turned back into a smoother surface than at the start. Is that a pig in the distance?


A curly haired pig immortalised in wood! (There were two of them really).


This was Southrey Station that was. The platforms still in evidence.


I like the fact that they have left in some of the old Station signs.


One advantage offered by this route is that it was level - mind you so was the surrounding countryside - despite being at the end of a 100 mile / 160Km journey the route made it easy.


Although as it was so flat you could not actually see that far ahead as the hedges tended to obscure the view.


An interesting sculpture and apt choice of words - I did and I did.


A signal box just peeping out up ahead at Stixwould


The Signal box looks as if it has been turned into a bedroom with lovely open views across the countryside. The actual village is about a mile and a half away as was often the case with country railway lines.


A more organic piece of art,


Oops - better watch out for these sheep crossing the path.


Unfortunately the cycle route left the old railway line at the village of Kirkstead, Here is what was the Station/Station Master House.


he route then followed on some boring roads - not busy and easy cycling but without the charm of the Water Rail Way. It went from pleasant to tedious. I did stop to admire this radio controlled helicopter.


Part 2 will follow ...

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