Friday, October 31, 2008

More locks than miles, and a bit short of the wet stuff….

We had a quiet day at Kilby Bridge yesterday. A few jobs to do around the boat, a bit of reading, a bit of cleaning.

We pushed across the canal this morning, filled with water, and emptied the loo and rubbish before setting of at 09:45.

Watering at Kilby Bridge.
The locks come rapidly – the first after 20 minutes is the delightfully named Bumblebee Lock.

Bumblebee Lock
Most lock name's origins are obvious; local farms, villages, and landscape features are common. But every so often you come across one that defies explanation. Did one of the navvies get stung?

We made good time, even though all the locks were against us.

Turnover and Bottom Half Mile Locks
Lock Keepers house at Newton Top Lock near Newton Harcourt.

We had a spot of bother at Pywells Lock though. The pound above was low, the water draining through leaks in the top and bottom gates. BW are aware of the problem, there are signs asking that boaters ensure both sets of gates are closed when leaving the lock. The lack of traffic on this stretch (we’ve seen no moving boats for 2 days!) means that water hasn’t been moved down the locks, allowing the pound to drain off.

We ran aground just after clearing the lock, and I had to fetch 3 lockfulls of water down from the next pound up to get us afloat.

Going nowhere at Pywells Lock
Then, of course, the next pound up was a bit low, but just 1 extra chamber of water kept us off the bottom.

All the to-ing and fro-ing didn’t slow us down much, though, and we were able to moor up just past Ross Bridge at around 14:30.

Meg sets up camp on the towpath.
We’ll stop here for the weekend. It’s close enough to Fleckney for the shops, far enough away not to be too bothered by fireworks. I don’t think “Trick or Treaters” will bother us either! We’ll just have to watch out for restless spirits.

It’s pretty and remote on this stretch. The only roads cross at right angles, arriving and disappearing rapidly. And they’re not busy, anyway. The only intrusion is the railway, which (inevitably) follows the line of the canal for a couple of miles.

Leicestershire Landscape
The weather has been good, sunny and bright, but with a coolish breeze. The low sun causes problems when you’re heading south on water, though. It’s difficult to see where you’re going sometimes. But I'm not complaining!

Locks 12, miles 5

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