Sunday, 29 May 2016

A ‘Soar’ Journey.


On our second, and last, evening at Crick we had another riotous time with Sian, (Doug and Ali larking about!), Del and Mark.


As we left on Thursday morning we breasted against Del and Al’s immaculate “Derwent6” while Del did a quick check on “Chance’s” various alternator outputs. Glad to say all’s well.


Just outside Crick we passed some impressive ‘boat art’.


After covering some 18 lockless miles in 6 hours we arrived at the top of Foxton lock flight. The flight takes the canal down 75 feet in two sets of five staircases and, pausing in the top lock, the views on a clear day are wonderful.


From the steerer’s viewpoint passing from one lock chamber to another feels as if the boat is going to fall off the edge!


Every so often there’s a little “something” that catches the eye – in this case a date brick in the wall of the lock, which gently reminds us of the remarkable length of time the canal network has been around and ……….


……… how well the equipment and machinery were built and have lasted for so long. (This is not at Foxton by the way!)


Nearly at the bottom – and just 40 minutes after starting.


Exiting from the Saddington tunnel at this time of year the hedgerows are beautiful with Hawthorn bloom. When the flowers have gone it’ll turn into a disgrace as it’s so overgrown that it’s only just possible at one point to get the boat through without shrubbery touching the sides – c’mon C&RT!


A quintessentially English landscape around Newton Harcourt.


Arrival on Thursday afternoon at Kilby Bridge. A favourite stop for us and ………


……. a meal at the The Navigation was an absolute must.


Next morning it was a 6 o’ clock start and Doug had some vital assistance at Kilby Lock!


It was to be total of 17 locks during the day and King’s Lock, with it’s café, heralds the outskirts of Leicester.


At Freeman’s Meadow lock we got a good view of Leicester City FC stadium and the centre of recent football history. It’s also the start of the ‘mile strait’ through the city with some intriguing and pleasant bridges over the river:-






Approaching Frog Island the professional graffiti used to brighten up some of the walls is spectacular!   


And, as we begin to leave the city behind, there are still some remnants of Leicester’s past industry.


Just north of the city we arrive for an overnight stop at “Chances’s” spiritual home - MGM Boats. We always have a warm welcome from Mark, Martin and Rachael - and James got straight down to helping black one of the boats on the slipway!


At midday on Saturday we took our leave, with thanks to MGM for their hospitality, and continued our journey down the River Soar. Not a common sight, but there are two red Horse Chestnut trees on the riverbank just outside Thurmaston. A grand display.


The river flow was well down but, at Sileby Mill, it was still enough for the weir to produce a bit of foam.


Superbly serene, with sunshine and birdsong to accompany us, the river is a real joy to journey along.


A field full of shire horses – not something you’d necessarily see on a road trip.


At Barrow-upon-Soar the little summer houses and river side sheds at the bottom of the very long gardens were being used by the owners on this wonderful sunny Bank Holiday Saturday – all giving us a wave as we passed.


Further along the houses get a bit bigger and the gardens more manicured.


They still like their summerhouses and riverside patios ……


……. and some try to outdo the neighbours!

After Barrow Deep and Pillings locks we settled to moor short of bridge 32 with just the trains on the other side of the hedge for company – and a dozen boats with their owners, like us, enjoying the good Bank Holiday weather.

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