Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Relaxed Rivers and Care Free Canals

The River Soar can be very temperamental at times but it was behaving itself very well during our few days on its waters. There are some beautiful stretches to enjoy.
We reached Loughborough on Sunday and took the opportunity to visit the lovely Carillon Tower in the park. It was built to commemorate those lost from the town during the First World War.
Leaving Loughborough we had the unusual experience of sharing a couple of locks with two cruisers.
Entering Zouch (we’re reliably informed by one its residents that it’s pronounced “Zoch”), the river was full of pleasure craft enjoying the sunshine. Some of the older riverside dwellings are very quaint.
We moored for Sunday night just before Kegworth Deep Lock and took advantage of the gloriously hot afternoon sunshine and the idyllic surroundings.
On the opposite bank we spotted a heron very much at home and pretending to be a sheep!
Monday morning saw us tackle Kegworth Deep Lock, just around the corner from our mooring – it holds an awful lot of water!
The last few miles of the Soar are dominated by Ratcliff Power Station but it wasn’t long before we left its massive structure behind us and were onto the River Trent.
After the short stretch of the Trent we were soon on the Trent and Mersey Canal and passing under its first bridge.
Having shared every single lock with a different boat we arrived at our planned mooring at Ragley Boat Stop. It’s a great mooring, with shore power if needed, and it presented the perfect opportunity for James to “touch up the gunwales”!
Tuesday was horrendously windy and, after 4 hours, we arrived at another favourite mooring – The Bridge Inn at Branston. High winds are not the boaters best friend but we couldn’t really complain, at least it didn’t rain!
That evening we met up with friends Louise and John from nb “Ploddin' Along”. After a pre dinner drink on board “Chance” it was a few yards to The Bridge Inn where we had a great couple of hours of good food and very good conversation. It was then back to “Chance” for coffee before John and Louise headed off back home. Thanks guys for a great evening of fun!
Today was a better day weather wise but the stretch of canal from Branston sits side by side with very noisy A38 but we shouldn’t complain, at least it didn’t rain!  James loves pitting his wits against this bridge – it can’t be more than 6” wider than the boat! (holding a camera at the same time and not touching the sides – well that’s just showing off!)
A lovely old wooden crane / hoist braced against the shed at Wychnor Lock adds authenticity to the journey AND it marks the beginning of the end of all the blessed traffic noise!
We arrived in the very pretty village of Alrewas at 11 o’ clock in the morning and decided that was enough. Some of the lovely buildings are of a great age (and leaning!)
Mooring in Alrewas is always a pleasure and getting there early meant that we could take a walk up to the National Memorial Arboretum.  On our return blog readers Terry and Pam on nb “Rooster’s Rest” introduced themselves and James enjoyed a good old chin-wag with them – it was nice to meet up with you T & P. Also a pleasure to get a quick hello with “Inca” and “Tilly May” earlier this week.
The Memorial Arboretum is a very thought provoking place and there are many new memorials that have been added since our last visit:
Naval Services memorial
RNLI Memorial
The two marvellous bronze groups in the main memorial.

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