Friday, 9 October 2015

Sunrise at the Mouth of the River Witham, Boston and the Witham Bank

Another trip today to photograph the River Witham for my degree work.  This time the aim was to capture images of the Witham mouth at sunrise, where it flows out into the Wash.  I arrived at the car park about 6.45 am, not realising I had left myself with a mile walk to the ACTUAL mouth.  During the walk the sky was colouring up all the time and I just managed to get to the end as it came above the horizon to provide some great photo opportunities.  The make things perfect, a fishing boat went out just at the right moment.  It was a magical place at that time in the morning; the haunting cries of curlew echoed over the Wash along with the higher constant hubub of thousands of small waders: dunlin, knot, turnstone, sanderling and redshank.  The base line for this chorus was the low barking of brent geese out on the Wash mudflats, which, at one point, took flight over to Frampton RSPB reserve.  The occasional piercing whistle of wigeon could be heard too.  It's a fascinating spot, as the Witham is contained within two discrete banks right to its mouth, whereas the Welland, coming in at an angle at the same spot is more of a deep water channel in the Wash.  I suppose its the Wash that is the real estuary, but for several rivers.  As part of my degree Body of Work I am looking at the river as a metaphor for life and here I am reminded of Tennyson's lines in his poem 'The Brook' when he says 'man may come and man may go, but I go on for ever'.  This is a timely reminder of the transience of human life and the infinite life of the river, as it flows out to sea and continues its existence as part of the water cycle.

From here I called in at the Pilgrim Fathers memorial, which marks the spot 'where they were thwarted in their first attempt to sail to find religious freedom across the seas', and then moved on to Boston to photograph the river as it flows through the town and also Boston Stump, made famous in the poem 'High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire' by Jean Ingelow who says;-

The old mayer climbed the belfry tower,
The ringers ran by two, three;

'Pull, if ye never pulled before;

Good ringers, pull your best,' quoth he

'Play uppe, play uppe, O Boston bells!

Ply all your changes, all your swells,

Play uppe "The Brides of Enderby."'

I climbed all 240 steps up The Stump, the tower of St Botolph's Church, from which there were expansive views over the river and surrounding fenland.

I completed my trip by driving along the Witham Bank to Kirkstead Bridge, stopping to photograph boyhood fishing haunts and the small, peeling, whitewashed building that housed the school my mother attended.  Before setting out for home I went to photograph another boyhood favourite, Kirkstead Abbey and its attendant church of St Leonards.  As adventurous youths we climbed the easy right hand side (in the photographs) to get to jackdaws nests.

A wonderful, nostalgic day.

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1 comment:

  1. Really excellent collection of local scenes - good work! thank you ...