Monday 17 May 2010

Leicester Ring - Post No 1

Friday 14th May 2010 - Great Haywood to Colwich
A busy journey down to the boat (what with the schools being back), having left home circa 3.00pm we arrived at Great Haywood around 6.00pm.
Waster no time loading up (as we had readied the boat the fortnight earlier) and we were out of the marina by 6.45pm and locked through Great Haywood and passed the moorings along the 'Shugborough straight' to moor at Colwich where we were more sure of a satellite TV signal. Although we had been cruising at 4mph for an hour my mind was still running at 100mph after a very busy week. It will take a little longer to get into the narrowboat mood.

Saturday 15th May 2010 - Colwich to Alrewas
A reasonably early start with bacon sandwiches on route. The smell of bacon wafting out of the rooftop Houdini hatch an a still morning with the blended smell of the log burning stove is priceless. Walkers crisps are clearly missing a trick if they don't bring out a grilled bacon and log burning stove flavour this year!
Stopped just above Woodend Lock to watch the Grand Prix qualifying before heading on through Fradley.
'Frantic' Fradley Junction lived up to it's name; it seemed to take an age to negotiate all the locks and the junction - all the time being watched by hundreds of gongoozlers!
Travelled down to Alrewas and moored 50 yards from the place we had moored two years previously (to the day). We discovered the fantastic character of this beautiful little village on our first trip down from Sheffield when the boat was brand new. If only I could afford to live here.
After dinner we had a gimble around the village to burn off some calories. We discovered an indian restaurant called Jaipur (the same name as an Indian restaurant we enjoy visiting near Easingwold when we are back home). Although we didn't try it it did look more 'E.coli' than 'Egon Ronay'.

Sunday 16th May 2010 - Alrewas to Swarkstone
Slipped our mooring just after 8.00am. Stopping for lunch at Stretton (between bridge 28 & 29) to watch the Monacco Grand Prix. Mark Webber (Red Bull) won. Another good result for the Milton Keynes team. Jenson Buttons chances were thwarted by his own 'pit lane buffoons' who left a bung in his side pud that overheated his engine on the way to the grid. (I think the bung was a fibreglass stopper not a rolled up wad of tenners - although we didn't get to see it on the telly!).
During the race the excitement in the boat peaked when a can of diet coke exploded in the fridge. This was partly a result of me turning the fridge up to full power last night (for no good reason) and partly due to the fact Elaine had packed the fridge solid with everything M&S had to offer in the chilled isle! This forced the drinks to be pushed onto the back wall of the fridge freezing them on contact. Anyway I am sure Elaine would agree - it took some cleaning up!

A Quiet Mooring Outside Swarkstone

The 18th Century Swarkstone Bridge

After a fantastic fillet steak on the boat we walked into Swarkstone and viewed the 18th Century five arch stone bridge and the elevated causeway that carries traffic over the Trent flood plain, before returning via Swarkstone Lock.

Monday 17th May 2010 - Swarkstone to Zouch
Travelled down through Swarkstone Lock alone but soon paired up with 'narrowboat Waimaru' who travelled with us down onto the Trent and up the River Soar before we both moored next to the lower flood lock pound at Kegworth for lunch. The journey, paired up with the crew of nb.Waimaru was very rewarding and we very much enjoyed the company of the other boat.
After a walk into Kegworth to visit the local co-operative store we pushed on the Zouch leaving them to relax in the sun.

Lunchtime mooring at Kegworth

The weather today has been fantastic. A typical Monday; you might say; but today we have been off work to enjoy it.
Mooring for the evening, just as it begins to spit-on with rain, opposite the Rose & Crown rounds off a great day.

Friday 14 May 2010

An April Weekend

Apologies to followers - it has been a while since I updated.
This is an update I drafted at the time but failed to publish earlier.

Friday 9th April 2010

Arrived reasonably early evening after a good run down the motorway from the North East and skirting around Derby with minimum delay. What a difference - travelling during the school holidays.

Wasted no time at the Marina topping up the water tank and pulling out of the marina with adequate time to cruise up to Tixall Wide and moor just beyond the Broad Water before dark. The nights are getting lighter again! Hip-hip-hurray!

Moorer just west of the wide water at Tixall

Saturday 10th April 2010

After an early start we fired up the engine to here that the domestic battery alternator belt to be squealing on the pulley. Very annoying. I guessed as it hadn't been called up to do any work for some time (this was the first time the belt was under load since before the winter break) it was groaning a bit. Although the noise could only be detected at tick-over it soon subsided.
Cruised up through Tixall Lock and Deptmore Lock to wind and moor outside the Moat House at Acton Trussell. After a walk around the village to admire the area we returned to the boat to firstly update our Nicholson Guide with the fact there is no longer a village store, and then set off back down the canal to moor opposite Stafford Boat Club Marina for the evening.
Elaine & I walked up into Wildwood to explore the local supermarket and drinking establishment - both worth the walk if not a little too far.

Sunday 11th April 2010

During breakfast the boat club provided plenty of entertainment with boats being winched back into the water and boats being pulled back up the slope of their dry dock. Obviously a great community as all hands were on the winders!

On the return back to the Marina, in the vicinity of the aqueduct, we spotted a buzzard that was soaring high on the thermals - an amazing bird that we had seen the day before but we were unable to identify it.

After a brief exchange of greetings with Ned from Cabincare, we arrived back at the Marina in time for lunch.