Monday, August 24, 2009

Northward Bound

After a week of over-indulgence, broken up by odd days where I’ve had a hard run to try to keep my training in some sort of order, we’re now on our way to Sheffield.
It’s been an enjoyable interlude, invites out to lunch and dinner, cruises with guests, too much wine and too much food. But it's been great to see everyone again.

We were joined by Sue and Trev, the New Zealand connection, but had to revert to Plan B as we were short of cruising time on Wednesday. So instead of downstream we headed back to Syston, mooring near Junction Lock. Thursday we ran up to Birstall, and had lunch in the White Horse near the lock, joined by Kay and Paul and my Goddaughter Samantha (Sam) and boyfriend Nick.

Kay and Paul left us to head home, but Sam and Nick stayed on for the cruise back to Sileby.

People on the roof, looking like a hire boat on the way back.
Friday was a recovery day, then Saturday we were collected for a family lunch at the Packe Arms at Hoton, and very good it was too. Kay and Paul played host in the afternoon, the fine weather allowing us to sit outside and watch the dogs enjoying themselves.

The gang
The fish pond may take a little time to recover…..
Luke and Jake on the trampoline
Dad and Ann cutting the Anniversary Cake…… 39 years.

So yesterday we pointed the bow northwards and set off from Sileby, with 2 weeks to get to Sheffield. We didn’t have a particularly good start; 2 day boats from Sileby Mill were coming up the lock under instruction, and took a little time.

Milling about at Sileby Lock
One of them was heading back down to Loughborough so we joined them through the lock to Mountsorrel. Another small delay here while a female birthday party on a day boat from Barrow came up the lock, but the entertainment was worth it.

Happy Birthday!
We go parted from out erstwhile travelling companions when we pulled over at the water point at Barrow, then made our way down to the lock. A boat was on the way up when we arrived, and we were hustled in quickly as soon as they had cleared. Dropping down we realised why. There was a queue of 5 narrowboats and 2 widebeams waiting to go up!

Busy at Barrow
The river has been getting busier as the IWA National Rally on the Bank Holiday Weekend approaches.

Ex-working boats Nuneaton and Brighton.
Nuneaton is a Large Northwich, built at Yarwoods in 1936, and Brighton, the butty, is a Harland and Wolffe Large Woolwich from 1935.
They are owned and operated by The Narrow Boat Trust.

We pushed on, through Loughborough, and moored on Zouch Cut above the lock. I just had time to watch the last 40 minutes of the European Grand Prix at Valencia, then settled down to watch the last day’s events from the World Athletics Championships in Berlin. It looks like we’ve some good up and coming talent for the Olympics. Then, to cap it all, we’ve regained the Ashes! I’m not a cricket fan, but it’s refreshing to be able to beat the Australians again.

Today we had rain forecast in the afternoon, so made an early start so we could travel in the dry.

The spraying of the Pennywort seems to be having and effect. The dense mats are turning yellow and breaking up.

Dying Pennywort
I hope they’ve done their homework and it’s not affecting anything else.

Kegworth Flood Lock, open as expected after the spell of dry weather.
And BW doing a bit of housekeeping near Ratcliffe Lock
At Ratcliffe Lock the edges of the tented village for the Rally come into view.
There are a lot of new moorings been constructed between the lock and Redhill Marina, and some of the existing ones appear to have been vacated for the duration.

Where have all the boats gone?
Ah, there they are!
Approaching the marina, early arrivals are already breasting up 2 or 3 deep on the floating pontoons….
And the exhibitors area is well established.

I hope it stays fair, there’s an awful lot of work gone into making this event a success, but it’s still dependent on the weather.

Through Redhill Flood Lock
Leaving Redhill the junction at Trent Lock is reached, where we turned right and moored on Cranfleet Cut.

That’ll be us, then.
We just got tied up as the first drops of rain began to fall, then the wind got up and started blowing white horses past the windows. I didn’t envy the boaters still going past, hardy souls!

Since last post, locks 18, miles 16½.

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