After a heavy day yesterday we had a later start today. I made a couple of trips into the village, the Post Office, key cutters for a new name tag for Meg, the garden centre, butchers and Co-op. So it was close on midday by the time we set off.
Our first lock today was at Thurmaston, 15 minutes away. We met a boat just leaving, so it only required a drop of water to replace what had leaked out of the bottom gates before we could drop down.
Leaving Thurmaston Lock
There are moorings above the top lock landing, and room for a couple of boats just to the right off the picture. Not in wet weather though, the bridge is across the weir stream and boats here would be full in the flow.
Doug and James’ NB Chance was built here at MGM on Thurmaston Island.
The river disappears on a long loop under Johnson’s Weir Bridge, and the navigation heads on a fairly straight course to Wreake Junction.
The cut past the worked out gravel pits, now part of Watermead Country Park
A boat entrance, now closed off.
The gravel used to be moved by boat, I remember them still being used when was a Scout in Thurmaston. We used to do a lot of canoeing on this stretch…
Later on haulage moved to trucks and a bridge had to be built across the canal.
Unusually empty moorings outside The Hope and Anchor
Wreake Junction is where the Melton Mowbray Navigation, also known as the Wreake Navigation, headed off to the east.
The river-based navigation ran from here to Melton Mowbray, 15 miles away. It opened in 1795, a year after the Leicester Canal. It’s main cargo was coal, and shortly after was extended a further 15 miles to Oakham when the Oakham Canal was completed.
In the mid-19thC railway competition forced the Oakham Canal to close, in fact part of the Syston to Peterborough Railway was built on the line of the canal. The Melton Mowbray Navigation struggled on until August 1877, when they applied for an Act of Abandonment.
There’s an active restoration society, who believe that re-opening the navigation is a viable proposition.
From here until Cossington Lock the Leicester Canal actually follows the course of the River Wreake, to it’s confluence with the Soar.
Junction Lock is not far above the junction, and there’s towpath improvements going on.
In fact there’s not much wrong with the existing path; it’s grassy with a packed earth worn strip, much like most towpaths. The improvements are to extend the cycleway which runs from Leicester.
Large Weir at Junction Lock
As I said, we rejoin the Soar below Cossington Lock…
The Soar comes in….
….and goes out again under the bridge and over the weir alongside Cossington Lock
One of the balance beams on a bottom gate is getting lighter every time we pass this way!
A bit of wet rot…
It’s a pleasant run from Cossington to Sileby, we cruised at just above tick-over going gently downstream.
Heading towards Sileby
We arrived at Sileby Lock and moored just above the upper landing. It’s been a dry day, a bit cooler than yesterday. But tonight we’ve had a heavy, thundery shower, just as my parents showed up for a visit. It’s cleared now and we’ve had a fine sunset.
Sunset over Sileby Lock
Locks 3, miles 4