Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A load of Bullocks……

No, I’m not being rude, that’s just what Meg and I encountered on the towpath this morning!

Rump steak on the hoof…..
Z..SAM_0001 Bullocks on Towpath

I thought they’d escaped from their field through a gate at the end of this narrow bit of towpath, but when I got them that far…..

Cattle jam!
Z..SAM_0003 Bullocks on Towpath

The gate was still tightly closed, so it’s not from here that they’d made their bid for freedom. They were getting a bit twitchy by this point, and we had a fraught moment when one of slipped into the cut, spooking the rest. The bathing bovine made it to the bank in the field where they came from, but the others had had enough, pushing past me and heading back towards the lock. I got out of the way, no way was I arguing with these guys!
Near the lock they turned off the towpath onto a path to Cossington that’s being relayed, then through the hedge into a field of turnips.

Stampede over…. home on the range.
Z..SAM_0004 Now in field

The farmer had arrived by this point, and, with a couple of helpers, started herding them back to their appropriate quarters.  I’d sent Meg back to the boat, a command she obeyed with alacrity. She doesn’t do cows!
It turns out that a couple of waterways guys had arrived to have a look at a bit of slumped towpath, and had left a gate open. On leaving they closed and locked it behind them, stranding the bovines on the wrong side. Talking about turnips…..

Here’s the bit of towpath they were looking at.
Z..SAM_0005 Towpath damage near Junction Lock

It’s a good job the animals hadn’t come this way, they’d all have been in the cut!
This length of towpath, from Hill’s Bridge to Junction Lock, is being “upgraded” to a cycle route. Instead of a grassy track it’s going to be tarmac. It was such a pleasant mooring spot, too.
In this article there’s mention of replacing Wreake End Footbridge. I wonder if they’ll make it high enough for navigation, in case there’s a chance of re-opening the Melton Mowbray Navigation?

Wreake End Footbridge, at the moment too low for boats.
Z..SAM_0008 Wreake End Footbridge

It’s here that the navigation makes a 90° turn to the right, now heading south to Thurmaston in an artificial channel. After all the excitement of the round-up the rest of the day was a bit of an anti-climax.
It’s just a bit less than an hour to Thurmaston Lock, where you have to dodge the fishermen on the lock approaches. From above the lock the navigation is back in the river, following a meandering course to Birstall.

Thurmaston Lock, with the “Island” to the right and the river heading off over a weir to the left.SAM_0013 Thurmaston Lock

Meandering towards Birstall
Z..SAM_0015 River to Birstall

The moorings are quiet here, only two other boats tied up when we arrived and no-one else on the move. Apart from the itinerant beggars, of course. As soon as we were secure we were mobbed by ducks, swans and gulls with their beaks open.

Feeding time…
It’s been bright but cooler today, quite a brisk breeze blowing. We turned around, killed a bit of time and then I took Meg up to the doggy doctor for her annual boosters and check-up. She got a clean bill of health and my debit card got a frisking, so we celebrated by having fish and chips from Birstall Fisheries across the road. Good, too.

Finally, proof that boating is good for you....from the Liverpool Echo....

Locks 1, miles 2¾

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