Thursday, 13 April 2017


Today's Canals - Grand Union Leicester Branch and River Soar

Today was genberally grey but almost completely dry - rain did threaten but that was all. We saw very little blue sky at all today.

First thing, Mike and Andrew walked a short distance to a large Tesco supermarket and stocked up our larders. At the self checkout, Mike spotted that the hake fillets - which we chose because they were on special offer at £2 each, had been priced at £2.50, the non-offer price. Back at the fish counter the label was quickly changed and the man behind the counter had not spotted the difference. However, back at the checkout we now had to find an assistant to remove the wrong item from the list - he was most confused, made worse when we asked him to process our newspaper token!

Through the boat window we watched as a CaRT work boat made its way down stream - although two swans thought that this was time for their breakfast, no chance. We would have reason to see this boat again later on.

As we were having coffee, Christine was sorting out a a text to Phil about when he could arrange the snagging items. Andrew spotted that her phone (Mike's cast-off!) is quite small and suggested that she look at a Vodafone special which he had adopted for a long distance walking event system last weekend. At £65, sim-free, is seemed a great option. So, he and Christine set off into the large shopping centre to find the nearest Vodafone shop. They returned later, successfully having made the purchase and persuaded the staff shop to transfer all her data as well! On the way they discovered the reason for the large police presence that Mike noticed last night - the Queen was at the cathedral for the Maundy Service - and also there was a large bike race as well.

Eventually we set off - the first part of the journey was through the northern part of the city, not the best scenery although most of the former industrial factories have long disappeared and now new developments are taking their place. As a result, the canal towpath was again in a better state than we recalled from previous visits.

At the first lock, Leicester North, Andrew was concerned that we might be breaking the speed limit as we slowly moved into the lock! Christine remembered this as one of the least attractive and felt that the graffiti actually improves it.

After Belgrave Lock we emerged into countryside - the next section at Birstall runs through a country park created from former gravel pits.

The Sea Cadets are adding a roof to their slipway!

At Birstall we could see the work being done by the two CaRT boats which we saw first thing. They were collecting some large stop planks which had been delivered to the bank beside the lock and then would be taking them to one of the locks the other side of Leicester. In the end they did not delay us very much and we, together with another boat that had been waiting a little longer, could squeeze past. We shared locks with this boat down to Mountsorrel where they stopped for the night.

Below Junction Lock there was a field of cows with huge horns!

Mountsorel Staithe is a small housing development of individual houses and private moorings!

We stopped at Barrow to use the full range of services before dropping down the Deep Lock.

We continued - always a pleasant cruise down the River Soar - and eventually, after leaving the river to join the Loughborough Navigation at Pillings Lock, found a mooring immediately before the edge of Loughborough.

16.1 miles - 10 locks

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