Yesterday we left our quiet mooring near Sutton Bonnington, heading for the throbbing metropolis that is Loughborough.
Another fine start with wall-to-wall blue skies, which gave way to broken cloud in the afternoon.
We didn’t have the opportunity to share the first two locks today, but did pick up a partner for the last one, Loughborough Lock.
Fine cruising to Zouch (Zoch!)
Leaving Zouch Cut
The flood control weir with an automatic rotary gate is on the left, the reeds obscuring part of the road bridge mark the position of the conventional weir carrying the river around the lock.
The river and St. James Church, Normanton on Soar
The river takes a tortuous route around to the east of Loughborough, passing through Stamford on Soar and Cotes. The canal through the town starts just below Bishop Meadow Lock and runs for 4¼ miles before rejoining the river at Pillings Lock.
Bishop Meadow Lock
Moored just beyond Chain Bridge
Loughborough is handy for shopping, mooring on the wharf gives good access to the town centre, while here there’s B&Q and Aldi just across the road the other side of the trees on the right.
And it was B&Q that I wanted….
I can’t go back there now. I was looking at the timber when this old guy in an apron came up and said “Do you want decking?”
I got in first….
You must have heard that one, eh.
This morning we set off back out into the country, passing warehouses and factories built when the canal was opened in 1794.
Must be cracking views from the loft apartments.
Millers Bridge, at the edge of the town, has good moorings, although the narrow towpath can be busy with walkers and cyclists. But you wouldn’t want to be moored behind this chap when he starts up his donk….
It had eased a bit by the time we went past.
Still on the artificial cut, the brick-arched bridge is a dead giveaway.
Back on to the river above Pillings Lock
More flood control weirs on the right.
A fine wide reach leads to Barrow upon Soar and the potentially awkward Barrow Bridge.
Looking towards Barrow
I say awkward, but it’s no problem in this weather while the river is very quiet. When there’s a flow on it can be a different story…
There’s a right turn to get to this point, then just beyond the bridge a left takes you to the lock while the river, coming from ahead, tries to push you back into the bridge. A doddle today, there’s hardly any flow at all.
We had to wait below Barrow Deep Lock for a couple of day-boats out of Sileby Mill boatyard to come down, assisted by a volunteer lock-keeper.
Barrow Deep Lock
It was a works outing, Meg got a good fussing from female members of the crew.
We topped up our water tank a and emptied a loo and rubbish at Barrow Mill, then had the chance to admire the back gardens of the affluent on the edge of the village.
A lot of work in this one…
…whereas this one’s low maintenance, so long as the ride-on mower doesn’t pack up!
The impressive 1860 Bridge approaching Mountsorrel
This imposing structure has a single span of 90 feet crossing the river, and was built to carry a spur line to the granite quarry above Mountsorrel. The railway line has been replaced with a conveyor belt.
We were able to share Mountsorrel Lock with a small motor cruiser that caught us up, but then parted company at Sileby Lock as there was a boat already waiting to go up. We weren’t bothered, we were mooring just above the lock anyway.
Just the small weir for company tonight. Lovely.
Hi Maggie, sorry we missed you, didn't expect you to be aboard today else we'd have come to find you. Will see you about in the next couple of weeks, no doubt.
Locks 3,. miles 6½