Day 53 – Fosdyke Bridge to Boston – 23rd August 2014

Today was equally uneventful. We ordered the taxi to collect us from the hotel around 10.30. This was a very late start but Rachel needed to go to Boots for a heel lift as her achilles’ tendon was playing up. Unfortunately, we were led astray by some beautiful scarves in the local dept store. These were of gorgeous emerald green liIMG_7881nen nothing like the dreadful woolly snoods I wear walking to keep my ears warm! We decided that walking need no equate to dowdiness and purchased one each.

During our drive back to Fosdyke, we couldn’t decide whether our taxi driver is a fully paid up member of UKIP or not. On the one hand, we heard about how Boston has changed out of all recognition in the last 10 or 15 years (although he didn’t look much older than 30). The change being due to the locals being driven off the land by huge influxes of foreigners Latvians, Lithuanians, Bulgarians and so forth, many of whom are lodged in caravan parks and brought over by unscrupulous land owners to undercut local wages. A gentle enquiry about the minimum wage led to a suggestion that there is a huge scam in place, whereby the local landowner employs the men through contracts in their home countries and pays them there. If that is true, it is indeed a very disturbing situation. We also had some sympathy with his concerns about planning consent being given for a 1,000 unit caravan park to house the workers. It sounds like a recipe for disaster to have 1,000 young men, of whatever nationality, cooped up in a caravan park, not integrating with the local community.

On the other hand, the taxi driver was sure that there is really plenty of work for locals who bother to seek it out – there are just families just haven’t bothered for a couple of generations. We confined our responses to meaningless murmurs.

We walked away from the Ship Inn, up the western bank of the river Welland.  The path was pretty similar to yesterday’s, but the weather was a little warmer and there were quite a few butterflies in evidence, small tortoiseshells mainly, but also the odd red admiral and small blue. The path meandered on, along the top of the bank, a good mile of marsh between us and the sea. Because we have a second night in Boston, we didn’t need to carry rucksacks, so we bounced along very speedily.IMG_7896

In due course we came to the nature reserve. Birds spotted through the day include a heron, egrets, kestrels a grebe and cormorants. We also saw a very large bird of prey, but I have no idea what it was. Apparently there are marsh harriers, the odd hen harrier and sparrow hawks in the area but I would be unable to distinguish them.

We stopped to munch a light snack and enjoy the sunlight. Our healthy choices were a bag of cashew nuts, some 70% chocolate and a flapjack – all distinctly better than yesterday’s dismal sandwich.

Around 1pm a very sharp shower came up from an inky black sky. My splendid waterproof trousers ate beginning to struggle now, so I got a bit damp and really felt the rain on my back with no rucksack on. However it only lasted ten or fifteen minutes.

We could see the Boston Stump all day – properly named the tower of St Botolph’s church. It is an enormous structure the widest and the tallest parish church in England, begun in 1309. (The largest overall in floor area, is apparently St MaryIMG_7915’s Hull.) More information can be found here.  John Taverner, the Tudor organist and composer was organist in the first quarter of the 16th century.  This impressive church was built on the proceeds of the wool trade, Boston being one of the Staple Towns in the mediaeval period.

The path turned up the river into Boston. It is not an especially attractive river, run down industrial buildings and a horrible stench of dead things. We were surprised at how high all of the pylons are. At least twice the height of normal pylons, but I have no idea why.IMG_7906

We walked into the town centre around 3.45, having walked a light eleven miles. Boston has some lovely eighteenth century buildings and is a bustling place.  It has quite a radical history. It was the birth place of John Foxe, the Elizabethan author of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. With either a very overdeveloped sense of irony (or none at all), just below the blue plaque on the pub commemorating his birth place was a rather explicit advertisement for pole dancing. IMG_7924Poor fellow must be spinning in his grave.  Boston was also the jumping off point for many of the Pilgrims who left for the IMG_7914Netherlands and then joined the Mayflower,  before it departed for Plymouth. In the churchyard are commemorative stones for a second wave of Pilgrims and their leader the Rev John Cotton, who took his congregation to the New World in 1633 and contributed to the founding of Boston, Massachuessets.  Later in the 17th century Boston was strong for Parliament.

Rachel’s achilles heel is still bothering her, so we made an emergency trip for comfy shoes for tomorrow.

We are now waiting for dinner in the White Hart hotel. I am writing and Rachel is reading about the Bastard of Arran, having finished with the Wolf of Baddenoch – I must say, Scottish history is very lurid!


Day 52 – Sutton Bridge to Fosdyke Bridge 22nd August 2014

Today was a very easy, pleasant day. Following my bovine escapade last time, I drafted in Rachel for protection, but there was no real need. We met a few “coos” as she calls them in her lovely Scots accent, but they were supine in the sun.IMG_7873

We took a bus from King’s Lynn to Sutton Bridge, where I finished, bad temperedly, back in July. The sun was shining but there was also plenty of cloud cover.IMG_7856

After stopping to talk to a beautiful smokey grey cat, we walked back to the Nene and followed the road running to the east of the water. Eventually, the road became a track, and the track, a path. This is the Nene Valley Way. Towards the end of the Nene channel were a delightful pair of lighthouses. The one on the farther bank had clearly been done up into a very pleasing residence, and we both had a pang of house envy.IMG_7862 But on the whole, I wouldn’t really want to be on such flat terrain. As we turned west along the Wash, we could see, far out to our right the line of the sea, but, to be honest, the marsh is so wide here; it is hard to believe I am actually on a coast walk.IMG_7868

The harvest is now mostly in – we saw a few combines diligently moving up and down the fields, but mainly the view inland was of cut corn fields or hay meadows with bales stacked high. The corn was interspersed with the odd field of potatoes or beans, and there was one big expanse where ploughing for, I suppose, winter wheat was beginning.

We saw few people all day – occasional dog walkers, one with a very nice retired greyhound that we were tempted to take with us. About half way round we came to an army shooting range. There were minatory signs around stressing the illegality of tampering with the unexplored bombs that apparently littered the area, I am convinced it is just cordoned off while the army searches for King John’s Crown Jewels, of which I have still seen no sign.IMG_7869

The sky, wide and open with 180degree views changed colour constantly with white clouds turning almost black and an interesting pink light over the Wash.

After some 15 miles we could see a tall tower in the distance. I decided it must be the Boston Stump, of which I have heard so much, and so it later proved.

Another 2.5 miles, took us to Fosdyke Birdge, a small settlement on the Welland Cchannel with a few boats moored, and, more importantly, an excellent pub! (See review.)

We took a taxi for the 8 miles into Boston and have booked him to fetch us in the morning to go back to Fosdyke. It seems there are no buses along the A47 going into Boston, the nearest being some 3 miles up the main road, which is a-thunder with lorries.

Boston looks nice, the Stump is indeed imposing. We may have a bit of time inthe morning to have a closer look, as tomorrow is an easy day. Hopefully, tonight will be more peaceful than last night – around midnight our peace was rudely broken by a young woman screaming and screaming at her boyfriend to f**** off and let her have five minutes by herself. She yelled and yelled as he tried to placate her. In the end, earplugs had to be employed!