I was born in Syston and spent most of my teenage years in Thurmaston, so this stretch of the navigation is very familiar, initially from the cockpit of a canoe.
This morning was murky and misty as predicted, Meg and I had a walk up to the village for some supplies and had an encounter with horses. They were no trouble, obviously quite used to sharing their paddock with dog-walkers. It was on the way back thought we might have a spot of bother. Meg doesn’t do large four-legged animals, equine, bovine or even ovine. So when this guy was reluctant to move from his chin-scratching post I thought she might panic.
But with a bit of shoving and pushing I managed to get the gate open, Meg standing alongside completely unflustered.
Through the gate, time for a sniff.
We were ready to move off at around half-ten, but a short shower delayed departure till about 11:15. No rush, two locks and four miles to get to Thurmaston.
The worked out gravel pits at Cossington Meadows are now a wetland nature reserve.
Lots of backwaters to explore by canoe around here, Jill and Sue
Narrow wiggly bits lead to wide open reaches
Cossington Lock, half an hour away, was our first for today. If it wasn’t for the traffic noise from the A6 almost alongside it’d be a lovely place to moor.
Turning into Cossington Lock cut. Straight on under the bridge leads around to Cossington Mill
Two boats were just leaving the lock as we arrived so we timed that well.
Not before time, the balance beams on the lower gates have recently been replaced. They were certainly past their sell-by date!
Taken last summer…..
Just above the lock there’s a fork, the navigation taking the left hand branch. The right branch has a short stretch of moorings before becoming un-navigable.
We actually follow the River Wreake for a mile, although it’s still known as the Soar Navigation. The Soar is the water coming in from the right-hand branch, after it meanders around Wanlip.
The navigable bit of the River Wreake
This is like what we’d be able to enjoy if MOWS has it’s way….
Junction Lock lifts the navigation another six feet or so, then there’s a straight section to Turnwater Meadow, where the Melton Mowbray Navigation heads off towards the town, with a branch to Oakham. Or at least it did, but it was abandoned in 1877.
The new bridge across Wreake Junction.
This was built to accommodate the new cycleway from Syston to Cossington. The old one was lower, flatter and had steps at either end, therefore unsuitable for wheeled traffic. This one is now high enough for boats, for when (if) the navigation is ultimately restored. Every cloud, eh.
There’s a boom across the entrance for now, to discourage those with an adventurous spirit…
From here the channel is wholly artificial, passing extensive worked-out gravel pits, those to the west now forming part of Watermead Country Park.
Definitely a canal….
The long straight ends just before Thurmaston, at Johnson’s (we used to call it Jonno’s) Bridge, where the river is rejoined.
Off goes the Soar, under the towpath bridge to Cossington
I’ve launched many a canoe at Thurmaston Scout HQ… and capsized plenty, too!
Ah, Doug and James must be around here somewhere…
…yes, there’s Chance in the tunnel!
We moored directly opposite MGM, below the lock.
Moored in Thurmaston
Doug and James are joining us this evening for a fish and chip supper. Looking forward to that.
Locks 2, miles 4.