We departed Kilby Bridge around 7.30am on Wednesday for the trip through Leicester. Our companions from Tuesday, Roger & Linda on nb Cheviot, had passed us a good half hour earlier, but as we rounded the corner for the first lock of the day, there they were finishing off breakfast, so we were happy to be paired up again.
A couple of the pounds were about eighteen inches down on water so as the girls set the locks, we hung around in the middle rather than risk getting stuck. The 'team' got into a good rhythm and were helped by quite a few boats travelling the other way. In fact, of the occasions we have travelled through Leicester, this was by far the busiest.
We were soon into Leicester, passing the football stadium and onto the straight mile. The water was quite free of litter, in part no doubt due to the presence of this litter picking crew. It was also good to see the moorings at Castle Gardens full although I would have had a different view had we wanted to stop!
|nb Cheviot following us along the Straight Mile|
Roger picked up a prop foul as we exited Abbey Lock. The water here was black and absolutely stank, so we pulled into the side and I went to give him a hand and offered him the use of some long sleeved gloves I use for such occasions, for which he was most grateful.
|National Space Centre|
Obstruction cleared and on we went, passing the National Space Centre below Belgrave Lock, and then on through Birstall and Thurmaston locks where we saw this well known 'bloggers boat' moored up at MGM. There looked like a good dollop of pigeon sh@t on the roof boys - James will not be impressed.
We all stopped for well earned refreshments at the Hope & Anchor, which turned into an evening meal...well you know how it goes once you're settled in !!
We arranged to muster at 9am on Thursday, as Roger & Linda asked if we minded them travelling with us. We were happy to oblige and, as agreed, we were off on the dot of nine. It was a lovely day for cruising (if not a little too hot - we're never happy us Brits).
Sileby Mill always looks attractive, and today was no exception.
I had to remember I'd retired as we arrived at Mountsorrel Lock and a young chap was sat in the beer garden of The Waterside Pub, quite blatantly smoking a good brand of wacky backy. He then went inside to start work. Just hope he's not the cook.
This was an unusual sight as we approached Barrow on Soar, with a farrier fitting out a horse with a new set of shoes in the field. We moored up abreast at Barrow Services and the ladies went off shopping whilst we filled with water etc, before meeting them down at Barrow Deep Lock which was manned by three volunteers.
We couldn't pass The Albion in Loughborough without calling in for a pint. Maybe not the most appealing from the outside, but the landlord certainly knows how to keep a good pint in this traditional boating establishment, and a warm welcome is guaranteed.
Fully refreshed, we made the short trip on to Zouch Cut for the night, passing the delightful church and properties along the way in Normanton on Soar.
Today has been the homeward stretch for us and we're now moored above Weston Lock on the T&M. We have travelled once again with Roger & Linda. It was billed as the hottest day of the year, but it was very much a misty and cool start. We were soon down at Kegworth Deep Lock where you can clearly see the remains of the old lock alongside.
As we descended Ratcliffe Lock, we came across the hire fleet from Avante Leisure (formerly Shakespeare Line) who were based at Mercia Marina. They have gone into receivership I understand. Eighteen boats in total means many disappointed people who now appear to be without a holiday, plus they are involved in other forms of holiday too.
Onto the wide River Trent and then Sawley Locks, which were manned by lock keepers and we were three to a lock as we were joined by a boat emerging from The Erewash Canal. We shared the next couple of locks with them too which made light work.
|Clock Warehouse Shardlow|
|Shardlow Lock - all very cosy|
So our mini adventure to The Thames is almost over, which is sad. We will be going into our new 'home' at Mercia Marina tomorrow (weather permitting) but when we look back, it's hard to believe that it is just under six weeks since we set off from Cropredy. It seems so much longer, which indicates how we have escaped the usual hustle and bustle of life, and I can confirm this retirement lark is pretty good. Sadly for Louise, she gets back on the hamster wheel of life on Monday, but hopefully not for too much longer. What this trip has certainly done is to re-emphasize how much we love the waterways and all that they have to offer.