Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Leicester Ring - Post No 2

Tuesday 18th May 2010 - Zouch to Blue Bank Lock.
Woke up to fantastic weather.

Our mooring at Zouch

After an early breakfast we pushed on up the Soar passing Normanton-on-Soar where we were able to admire the amazing houses with gardens that slopped down to the river. The houses were substituted with elaborate timber chalets as we ran out of the village centre; each chalet built on stilts to save it from flooding!
At Loughbrough, contrary to reports we had read, we were quite surprised by the pleasant 'canal scene' and I was even very tempted to make the short journey in reverse down the arm. Although now regretting not completing this part of the navigation, I guess I have probably avoided a trip down the weed-hatch as well!
Passing Leicester City Football Club

Continued up through Leicester and as the Castle Moorings were full (the only safe refuge in the city); and by choosing to avoid the local Leicester 'chavs'; we travelled further than we had initially intended. However as the weather was great it was a very enjoyable cruise.
We finally moored beyond the city limits with another narrowboat 'Theseus' below Blue Bank Lock.
The only downer on the day was finally standing in what a local dog owner had allowed his dog to leave by the canal and then walking it all over the rear deck and gunwales.

Wednesday 19th May 2010 - Blue Bank Lock to Wistow

A lazy start working up through the locks alone to moor for lunch opposite the British Waterways maintenance yard at Kilby Bridge. We couldn't help noticing that the BW workboat "Little John" was displaying an out of date license. (Expiring 19 days earlier!) Was very tempted to make a 'patrol notice' and stick it on the rear hatch!
Pushed on after lunch through many more locks; all with gates that refused to close when you wanted them to close. Stopping at 6.00pm for the evening near the medieval village of Wistow.

Thursday 20th May 2010 - Wistow to Market Harbrough

After breakfast we walked across the canal and visited Wistow Garden Centre and Model Village. A visit well worth the walk. (Yes - even I can walk that far!). Setting away about 10.30am we soon paired up with narrowboat 'Theseus' to travel up the next few locks (they must have passed the boat while we were visiting Wistow).
Next; Saddington Tunnel (880 yards long) proved to be an experience; although the tunnel had the usual number of dribbles of water to keep you on your toes in the dark; it was the bats that provided the bulk of the entertainment. They could be clearly seen as they flew around in the beam of the tunnel lamp at the front of the boat and it was quite unnerving to think they were also flying around our heads at the back of the boat; thankfully undetectable in the darkness at this end of the operation!
The canal today was again very quiet passing only one boat all day. It makes you feel your waterways license is quite cheap when you don't seem to be sharing the system with anyone!
Travelled past the bottom of Foxton Locks. Though there were no boats waiting to climb the flight, we opted to travel down the Market Harbrough Arm for the evening as planned.
The basin at the end of the Arm is pretty much like the town; very quaint and classy with evidence of affluence all around.
Bought a pair of go-cart tyres (fenders) from the crew of narrowboat 'Tranquility' who were moored behind us on the Arm.

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