Friday, August 07, 2009

Floating Carpentry on the way to Sawley.

Sorry I’ve not posted for a few days, my laptop has been buried and I’ve been busy sorting out the mess left by the leaking water pump.

First off, apologies to Wil, Ginny and Gunner the dog for mis-spelling their boat’s name. It should, of course, have been WILVIR.

We made our goodbyes at Millers Bridge on a damp, drizzly Tuesday morning. We only had a short way to go to Loughborough Wharf, so it wasn’t too bad. A quick stop just before the junction to visit B&Q, then we turned left for a change at the T junction, down to the wharf. The moorings here have been open about 12 months, and are quite pleasant, though restricted to about half a dozen boats.

Loughborough Wharf, overlooked by student accomodation.

This is the terminus of the Loughborough Navigation, built in 1778 and the first section of what was to become the Leicester Section to be constructed. The Leicester Canal itself, from Loughborough to Leicester, was completed in 1794. A branch of The Grand Junction Canal was built heading north from Norton Junction to Leicester, up Watford and down Foxton, effectively forming a link from London to the Trent.

Kay came and collected us, and we spent a very enjoyable afternoon and evening (and had a great curry courtesy of Paul) with the family. We took advantage of her offer to chauffeur us, so went shopping as well!
It was gone 9 by the time we got back to the boat, so the original idea of moving out of the town for the night went out of the window.
Surprisingly, it was reasonably quiet overnight, considering the wharf is smack in the middle of the town. Although that may not be the case during the university semesters….

Even though there are “facilities” at Bishop’s Meadow, just a mile away, BW have installed an amenity block at the wharf. You just have to be a little athletic to get your loo cassette up the ladder.

Wednesday morning was a bit grim as well, rain overnight persisted well into the morning. But it had cleared up a bit by the time we’d got to Zouch, where we pulled over for the night.

Action against Floating Pennywort
River levels OK at Bishop’s Meadow.

Picturesque Normanton Upon Soar Church.
Thursday morning saw us heading off downriver towards the Trent in beautiful, warm sunshine.

Zouch Lock and gongoozlers.
It was here, almost to the day 2 years ago, that I dropped my phone in the lock. No, I didn’t find it again!

The Soar is very pretty along this stretch, woods on the left bank and cattle grazing on the watermeadows on the right.

A fine looking river
A pity you can’t do anything about the electricity pylons…

Oh yes you can….The delights of Photoshop...

There were a few boats about, mainly going upstream which made it easier for us; we had every lock in our favour, which makes a change.

Near Devil’s Elbow.

Redhill Marina is gearing up for the IWA National on August Bank Holiday Weekend. It’ll certainly be busy, weather permitting.

Knocking up floating pontoons for visiting boats.

Through the open flood lock and down to the Trent junction.

Out onto the Trent
From going downstream we’re now pushing against the current, and the speed over the ground is noticeably reduced. Wind the old girl up to 1200 revs, and we’re up to speed again.

Approaching Sawley railway bridge and locks.
The left hand (south) lock was empty, with gates standing open. I couldn’t resist the temptation so snuck in and closed them behind us. No lockie on duty, so it was self operation on the control consol, but we were out and moored up opposite the marina shortly afterwards.

Sent Carol a text to tell her we’d arrived, and she came over from Shardlow to see us. Sealey and Meg renewed their acquaintance, Sealey wanting to play ball but Meg hiding them all in her bed then lying on them. She doesn’t bother another dog coming on board, getting fussed and even eating her biscuits. But go near her toys….
Sonja came straight from work, so we had a makeshift tea together before they went off home.
She did a parachute jump for charity last weekend and showed her bruises. I’d heard she was doing this and assumed it would be a tandem jump or on a static line. Oh no. A self release from 15,000 feet. Wow. 6,000 feet of free fall before pulling the handle and crossing your fingers. You’ve got to admire her for that.

Carol’s working over at the marina, preparing Canaltime boats for hirers, so she came across for lunch today, then we were ready to set off, back down to the junction and on to the Soar again. Plan was to get to Devil’s Elbow and stay there for the weekend.

We turned around and headed back to the lock, only to be told that The Soar was in flood and hence closed to boats. The Trent was OK, but that’s the wrong direction. Oh well, it had rained pretty well non-stop all afternoon and night.

So we turned around again and moored a bit nearer the lock this time, on the 48 hour moorings. It’s got busy this afternoon, no spaces left now. I’ll have a chat with the lockie in the morning. With no more rain forecast, the river should be going back down again. But for now we’re stuck at Sawley. Not the first time, and I doubt it’ll be the last….

I’ve got a lot of the woodwork put back together again at the front of the boat, but now need somewhere quiet, and with a bit of room, to get out the circular saw to make the panels I need to replace. Can’t really do it here, the path is much to busy with walkers and cyclists. And Mags won't let me do it inside...

Locks since Monday - 6
Miles - 11½

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