Wednesday, October 3, 2012

locked to death

It’s October - how did that happen??   Dark at 7 pm and fire lit every night.   Will have to be finding out full length trousers, boots and thermals next thing.

At last, 6 days late due to the Trent being in flood, the fuel boat Callisco got through and we filled up at Loughborough.    92 pence a litre base price but that’s heaps better than the nearest “permanent” fuel station at Pillings Lock which was £1.09 pence a litre.   So, full diesel tank and 10 full bags of coal, we are ready to move.    Dai reversed out from our week long mooring (we were on 14 days mooring though) back through Bridge 40 to the services in Loughborough Basin so also full of water with 3 empty loo cassettes and no rubbish - all ready for the journey through Leicester!!

Must just tell you though that we really enjoyed our stay in Loughborough - good shopping and the biggest outdoor market I have seen in ages on Thursday and Saturday; good pubs and a grand mooring spot.

Went out for a really nice meal with our friends Paul and Cait last Friday evening as they were cruising the other way on a 2-week holiday.   Went to the Swan in the Rushes pub which sold loads of different real ales, cider and perry.   Then, “naturally” finished off the evening with wine for Cait and I, and half a bottle of malt whiskey for the boys!!

Left Loughborough Tuesday morning and moored just through Birstall Lock.   Good fish ‘n’ chips for dinner and early to bed (we had done 11 miles and 8 locks after a weeks rest!).    Especially early to bed as we’d arranged to start moving at 7 am this morning to travel through Leicester with Mark off the fuel boat as (a) better in numbers going through “bandit country” and (b) wide locks.     So, as I write this, we are moored up after doing 12 miles and 15 locks (and I was exhausted after Tuesday’s jaunt!) and all I want to do is have a 5 minute nap ….. But I’m not going to succumb as I’ll probably be zzzzz-ing till morning!!     

All the boatie wisdom is to get through Leicester in one go.    There are supposedly “safe” moorings at Abbey Park which are on non-towpath side, fenced in and locked by a BW key.    But, to be honest, there is room for about 3 or 4 boats on a pontoon and it looks pretty grotty.    Such a shame as it would have been nice to leisurely look around Leicester City centre for a few days.      But, after seeing my first ever rat seen since we lived on the canal, scurrying about at the second lock going through the city, I was kind of put off.    We didn’t encounter any scrouts or drunks though.

There is a tremendous weir at Freeman’s lock (right by Leicester City Football Stadium) and Mark told us that it was only last winter that they put the floating orange thingies across and, as you’ll see from photo below, they certainly do not extend the whole way across.    But at least the river wasn’t in flood today so we were in no danger.

After Kings Lock, you are then on canal with no more river parts to negotiate.   It’s quite challenging at times from the beginning of the River Soar at Trent Lock to know when you’re on river and when you’re on canal but we definitely on canal now with no more river stretches  - the Grand Union in fact.

Going to have a couple of days “rest” now before we move on and, in any case, believe it or not, there’s just been a downpour as Dai was filling the coal shuttle and log basket “there’s lumps in this rain” he was shouting.    So it can rain, hail or snow now for me!!

Since last blog we have done … 23 miles and 23 locks  
Total since Setting Off ….. 1990 miles and  1619 locks  

"I'll just top up my tan while me mum .....
..... lugs open that pesky lock gate."
Space Centre in Leicester seen from canal
There was more water coming over these lock gates in Leicester
than was emptying out at the other end!
Dai had to go and free up the bywash

the weir just by Freeman's lock in Leicester
same weir but you can now see start of barrier

and here is the barrier - don't fancy doing this bit when river in flood!
someone else catching the late summer sunshine!!
(2nd rat of the day!)


  1. They only put those barriers up at Freemans wier as they removed all the shopping trolleys which normally do such a good job

  2. ha ha ---- think you're right !!