Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gently going with the flow.

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 LockSAM_2458 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.

Thurmaston IslandSAM_2459 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 ParkSAM_2463 Syston Cut
A boat entrance, now closed off.SAM_2462 Gravel Pits
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 AnchorSAM_2465 Hope and Anchor
Wreake Junction is where the Melton Mowbray Navigation, also known as the Wreake Navigation, headed off to the east.

Wreake Junction.SAM_2467 Wraeke Junction
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.

Towpath workSAM_2468 New Towpath
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 LockSAM_2469 Junction Lock Weir

As I said, we rejoin the Soar below Cossington Lock…

The Soar comes in….SAM_2471 Soar Junction at Cossington

….and goes out again under the bridge and over the weir alongside Cossington LockSAM_2472 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…SAM_2473 Cossington Lock
It’s a pleasant run from Cossington to Sileby, we cruised at just above tick-over going gently downstream.

Heading towards SilebySAM_2478 More Soar

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 LockSAM_2484

Locks 3, miles 4


nb Chance said...

Thanks for the mention Geoff! Seems very quiet on the Soar? Doug and James

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi Both
You're welcome. Yes, it is very quiet here. We filled up at Sileby Mill this morning and she's never known it so quiet. After 2 poor summers they've decided to sell the hire boats; bookings are very light. Not good...
They're keeping on the day boats, though.
Cheers, Geoff